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Abstract

This paper provides a phonological explanation for an observed pattern of Definite Article Reduction (DAR) in the city of York, northeast Yorkshire, England. Following a pattern common among very high frequency function words in English, the vowel-less reduced definite article variably attaches leftward as s clitic. The cliticised definite article is subsequently affaected by the Obligatory Contour Principle (OCP). The phonetic realisations accommodated by this explanation include a non-glottalised variant that is perceptually a zero realisation. Sociolinguistic observations indicate that older speakers and more locally-oriented young, working-class men are most likely to have acquired the phonological subtleties of this pattern.