The present paper explores the acoustic differences in the production of the Catalan mid vowels by Spanish-dominant and Catalan-dominant bilinguals to determine whether the distinction between tense and lax mid vowels is being lost in what can be interpreted as a case of convergence, or if, on the other hand, the Majorcan Catalan vocalic system is resisting simplification. The speakers' F1 and F2 formant values show that Catalan-dominant participants are producing significantly different tense and lax mid vowels, thus maintaining this Catalan-specific contrast and, contrary to initial predictions, the Spanish-dominant participants are maintaining this contrast as well. This study provides evidence that Catalan speakers in Majorca do not display the contact effects observed in Barcelona; that is, there is no evidence of Catalan speakers in Majorca merging the open mid vowels towards closed mid vowels. These results call for an examination of the interaction of language dominance with other social factors in predicting phonetic patterns.
Selected Proceedings of the 13th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Luis A. Ortiz-López
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