The role of fast speech in sound change

AbstractRecent research has seen a surge in interest in the role of the individual in sound change processes. Do fast speakers have a unique role in sound change processes? Fast speech leads to greater rates of lenition (reduction) processes. But should it mean that fast talkers would be more likely to lenite even when speaking slowly? In two corpus studies we show that even when fast talkers speak more slowly they are (a) more likely to omit segments and (b) more likely to perform variable reduction of consonants. This draws attention to habitual speech rate as a likely cause in the actuation of lenition processes.

Return to previous page