(thr)-Flapping in American English: Social factors and articulatory motivations
Stanley, Joseph A.
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This paper is the first dedicated study on (thr)-flapping, or the insertion of a tap in / θɹ/ clusters in American English. While [ɾ] is often described as an allophone of alveolar stops, it is not normally associated with /ɹ/ in American English speakers. Using data collected from word lists by 85 speakers in Washington and Utah, I show that (thr)-flapping is a significant minority variant, especially in Utah. I propose sociolinguistic factors that account for the difference between these two states and suggest articulatory motivations for flapping in this environment. This paper lays the groundwork for additional research on (thr)-flapping.