From sonority hierarchy to posterior probability as a measure of lenition. The case of Spanish stops


A deep learning Phonet model was evaluated as a method to measure lenition. Unlike quantitative acoustic methods, recurrent networks were trained to recognize the posterior probabilities of sonorant and continuant phonological features in a corpus of Argentinian Spanish. When applied to intervocalic and post-nasal voiced and voiceless stops, the approach yielded lenition patterns similar to those previously reported. Further, additional patterns also emerged. The results suggest the validity of the approach as an alternative or addition to quantitative acoustic measures of lenition.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America