Affricated dental plosives in Russian: phonological status and perceptual cues as a trigger of sound changes
Standard Modern Russian has phonological contrast between palatal- ized and velarized consonants. One of the most prominent changes attributed recently to this part of its phonetic system is the dramatic aƵrication of pala- talized dental stops which are now pronounced in most phonetic contexts as aƵricates [tsj], [dzj]. The paper proposes the hypothesis that a fast spread of palatalized dental stops’ aƵrication in Standard Modern Russian is triggered by the need to more eƵectively distinguish palatalized plosives in situations that do not provide the primary acoustic cue (formant transition of adjacent vowel) for their diƵerentiation to the listener. Palatalized dental plosives still should be treated phonologically as stops since in the context of homorganic nasal or stop they are not aƵricated (and often unreleased), while the fricative part of dental aƵricates in the same position still preserved in pronunciation of all the subjects studied.