Previous research on the phonetics and phonology of code-switching has largely focused on word internal phenomenon, such as voice onset time. However, many phonological processes occur across word boundaries, and in the case of code-switching, potentially across language boundaries. This study examines the application of phonological rules across word and language boundaries in cases of code-switching, exploiting cross-linguistic differences in voicing assimilation and spirantization processes in English and Spanish. Results from an oral production paradigm conducted with Spanish–English bilinguals showed an asymmetrical impact of code-switching: switched and non-switched tokens differed in Spanish, but not English. A similar pattern was found for bilinguals of different language dominance profiles. This asymmetry is discussed with respect to the different language-specific degrees of variability in production. Moreover, results from the current study suggest that while phonological processes may be anchored to language-specific lexical items or phonemes, the licensing environment is language non-specific.


This is the author-accepted manuscript of Olson, D. J. (2019). Phonological processes across word and language boundaries: Evidence from code-switching. Journal of Phonetics, 77, 1–16. Copyright Elsevier, the version of record is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2019.100937, and this version is made available CC-BY-NC-ND.


Code-switching; bilingualism; phonology; cross-linguistic; spirantization; assimilation; Spanish

Date of this Version


Available for download on Tuesday, June 01, 2021