Spanish traditionally has been described as a syllable-timed language. Ramus, Nespor and Mehler (1999) found that the rhythm class groupings of syllable, stress and moratiming for eight languages coincided with acoustic measures for the duration of vocalic sequences (%V) and variation of consonantal sequences (ΔC). In this paper, differences in Spanish rhythm due to dialect variation and language contact are explored. To do so, read utterances as produced by three Lima native Spanish speakers, three Cuzco native Spanish speakers, and three Cuzco Quechua-Spanish bilinguals are compared according to %V and ΔC. The findings show significant differences in these measures of rhythm between Lima and Cuzco, although within Cuzco no significant differences were found according to knowledge of Quechua. However, these Peruvian Spanish varieties do not appear to group with the syllable-timed languages in Ramus et al. (1999). In both cases a higher %V and lower ΔC were found, placing Cuzco Spanish between syllable and moratimed languages and Lima Spanish closer to languages such as Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese with mora-timed features (Frota & Vigário 2001, Ramus et al. 1999). This data set provides evidence for variation in Peruvian Spanish speech rhythm as well as demonstrates the need for further research on rhythm across Spanish dialects in order to determine if Spanish, like Portuguese, exhibits mixed rhythms, or if Spanish rhythms lie along a continuum.
Selected Proceedings of the 10th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Joyce Bruhn de Garavito and Elena Valenzuela
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