Erring on the side of phonology
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Strycharczuk, P. & Sebregts, K. (2014) Erring on the side of phonology, Linguistics in the Netherlands, vol. 31, no. 191, pp. 145-164,
Speakers of Standard Dutch increasingly realise coda /r/ (e.g. paar) as a bunched or retroflex approximant. This coda variant is categorically distinct from onset /r/ (e.g. reizen), which is typically pronounced as a uvular trill or fricative, or an alveolar trill or tap. In this study, we investigate whether coda and onset /r/ in Dutch behave as distinct phonological categories. We present new articulatory and acoustic data on the realisation of /r/ in sandhi contexts, including the fake geminate context (e.g. paar reizen). Ultrasound data show that the presence of an onset /r/ conditions the deletion of a bunching gesture (typical of the coda /r/ realisation) from /r#r/ sequences. Nevertheless, the presence of a coda /r/ in such sequences is still acoustically traceable. We interpret these findings as a result of shared phonological identity between onset and coda /r/, and discuss them in the context of the place of allophony within models of grammar.