Distributions of [r]-deletion and [w]-substitution in English C[r] clusters by Cantonese speakers

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3272-3273
Journal / PublicationJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2012


Literature shows that Cantonese speakers often delete [r] in C[r] clusters in English (e.g. [pɪnt] for “print”). However, based on our observation, [w] substitution of [r] is also apparent during speech. Experiment was conducted to see the distribution of deletion and substitution and investigated the effects of the place of articulation and syllable structure on the distribution of C[r] production. Ten non-English-major university students participated in the study. Stimuli were randomized and repeated 10 times in a passage, contrasting consonants between open and closed syllables (C[r]V vs. C1[r]VC1) in three vowel conditions (/i, a, u/). Two-way ANOVA was used forstatistics. Preliminary results show that overall, substitution is more dominant than deletion for the clusters, particularly with velars. Deletion, though much less than substitution, is only observed with bilabials whereas alveolar clusters are mostly pronounced correctly. Also, substitution and deletion tend to occur more in close syllables than in open syllables. Findings suggest that such distributions are based on the speakers’ articulatory strategy of gestural economy.

Research Area(s)

  • cluster, SLA, deletion, substitution, gestural economy