Linguistics ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 6-13-2019


The phonetic implementation of domain-initial boundaries has gained considerable attention in the literature. However, most studies of the phenomenon have investigated small samples of articulatory data in which target syllables were lexically prominent and/or phrasally accented, introducing important potential confounds. This dissertation tackles these issues by examining how domain-initial effects operate on the acoustic properties of fully unstressed word-initial CV syllables in phrasally unaccented words. Similar materials were designed for a reading task in which 14 speakers of English, Spanish and Portuguese, languages that differ in how lexical prominence affects segmental makeup, took part. Results from the acoustic analyses show that domain-initial effects extend further than previously suggested, and that these interact with lexical stress in language-specific ways. These findings highlight how the marking of domain-initial boundaries relates to both the prominence and grouping functions of prosody, and suggest a linguistic, rather than purely biomechanical, motivation for domain-initial effects.




prosody, phonetics, domain-initial effects, English, Spanish, Portuguese

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Linguistics

First Committee Member (Chair)

Caroline L. Smith

Second Committee Member

Joan Bybee

Third Committee Member

Chris Koops

Fourth Committee Member

Taehong Cho