Case study: sound patterns in Catalan

by Megan Crowhurst

In this module, we explore a selection of sound processes found in two dialects of Catalan. We discuss nasal place assimilation, consonant cluster simplification, consonant voicing phenomena, palatalization, and vowel harmony in contemporary Central Catalan, the variety spoken by educated speakers of Catalan living in Barcelona. In some cases, we compare sound processes applying in Central Catalan with similar phenomena found in Mallorquí, a related Catalan variety spoken on the island of Mallorca. The examples we use for Central Catalan were recorded by Dr. Marta Ortega Llebaría, a member of the faculty in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Texas. Examples from the Mallorquí dialect of Catalan were recorded by Luis Chacartegui, currently a PhD student in the Department of Linguistics at UT.

The single most important resource we have consulted in regard to Catalan phonology is Bonet & Lloret's excellent account of the phonology of Central Catalan (see Sources). Many of the examples we use, as well as generalizations and rules for Central Catalan are taken directly from this source with little or no modification, other than to translate them into English. We are also grateful to Marta Ortega for her insightful comments, and to Luis Chacartegui for his contributions in regard to the phonology of Mallorquí. The secon on gemination was inspired by a term paper Chacartegui wrote for a graduate phonology class at UT. The examples we use are borrowed from his work.