English coronal stop deletion, or TD-Deletion, is a variable process whereby word final /t/ and /d/ in clusters are deleted.

soft -> sof

A phonological rule for TD-Deletion could be given as:

{t,d} -> 0/ C__#

It can apply in a variety of morphological conditions.


soft -> sof

Regular Verbal Morphology:

missed -> miss

Irregular Verbal Morphology:

kept -> kep

What I'm wondering is if there is any other good examples of a process like this in other languages. Here are my criteria.

  1. The process is easily describable, phonologically.
  2. The process applies variably.
  3. The process applies in a few different morphological contexts.
  4. Ideally, the process applies to a few different morphological exponents.

It would also be nice to know if the rate of variation is affected by the morphological structure it applies in/to.

  • 1
    I don't understand under which conditions the TD-deletion is done.
    – Phira
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 21:24
  • 2
    There are 3 examples in the question:
    – JoFrhwld
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 21:30
  • 1
    It's completely variable, so sometimes it deletes and sometimes it doesn't. Some factors, including the following word, can affect the probability of deletion, but there's nothing that absolutely determines when it will happen.
    – JoFrhwld
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 21:34
  • 1
    @thei: Examples that work for me are /pæsbaɪ/ for "passed by" and /wɛsːaɪd/ for "west side".
    – tdhsmith
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 1:06
  • 1
    @AlekStorm, there is such a thing as a variable process, and TD Deletion is one of them. To say there isn't is ignoring all of the sociolinguistic literature beginning with Weinreich, Labov & Herzog 1968. Variation has been found in all levels of grammar, from phonology, morphology, and syntax (kroch, 1989).
    – JoFrhwld
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 13:17

2 Answers 2


Would Spanish /s/ deletion fit? It applies in these morphological contexts:

  • Stems ending in /s/
  • The plural ending for nouns /-s/
  • The verbal conjugations for second person singular /-Vs/ and first person plural /-Vmos/
  • To the irregular 3rd sg. present tense verb form es (from ser). It also applies to the 2nd singular and 1st plural forms of this verb eres and somos respectively. (Whether these are represented as irregular root + usual affix or just an irregular stem is probably a matter of discussion.)
  • In some dialects, the 2nd sg. preterite marker /-Vste/ has a non-standard variant /-Vstes/ (by analogy with the other tenses). Insofar as this variant is produced, /s/ deletion can apply to it. (It would be tricksy to measure this, though, as after total /s/ deletion this variant is homophonous with the standard form. But you could count lenited tokens.)

I have three possible examples that might fit your criteria, two from English and one from French:

  • word final 's[unvoiced stop]' when followed by they noun plural morpheme or the verb singular morpheme 's':

-sps, -sts, -sks -> -ss ( long 's'?)

As in 'wasps' -> 'wass' or 'basks' -> 'bass'

More careful or slower pronunciation will pronounce all three phonemes, but usual conversation uses the rule.

  • '-ty-' -> '-tʃ-' (palatal glide to palatal affricate)

As in 'Don't you ...' -> 'Dontcha ...'. This seems to have no restriction in English to particular morphology (I've heard 'Rightcheer' for 'Right here').

  • In French, it is common to drop word final syllabic liquids:

'table' -> 'tab', 'autre' -> 'aut'

I can't think of any morphological interacting instances.

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