The behavior of secondary consonant clusters in Swiss French child language

  • Helene N. Andreassen University of Tromsø
Keywords: phonology, acquisition, French, consonant clusters, schwa


This paper aims to determine the behavior of secondary clusters in Swiss French child language and, in doing so, provide a first step towards the identification of the order of acquisition of primary and secondary clusters. The data first of all reveal that the variant with schwa is in a global fashion preferred to the variant without schwa, and this regardless of the child’s mastery of primary clusters. The data further reveal that the occasional production of the non-preferred variant without schwa entails modifications of the secondary cluster in conformity with the child’s relative mastery of consonant sequencing. While secondary clusters pattern with primary clusters when it comes to repair strategies such as gliding and realization of an interconsonantal reduced vowel, they diverge from the latter when it comes to cluster reduction: there is a general preference for the preservation of C2, irrespective of the sonority profile of the cluster.