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Word Classes in Studies of Phonological Variation: Conditioning Factors or Epiphenomena?
Esther L. Brown
179-186 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Through quantitative analyses of two linguistic variables in spoken and written corpora of Spanish [aspiration and deletion of word-initial /s/ in New Mexican and Chihuahua Spanish, modern standard Spanish outcome of Latin FV- words (f-/h-)], this current project highlights significant interactions of word classes and discourse contextual variables. Specifically, this work quantifies the cumulative impact of localized phonetic contexts on lexical forms and argues that the cumulative exposure to phonetic reducing/non-reducing environments in discourse contributes to the appearance of word class effects. Results indicate that while significant differences exist in variable phone realizations between grammatical classes (e.g.; nouns, verbs, adjectivals), such differences are epiphenomenal and derived through use. The Spanish data suggest representational change in the lexicon through repeated exposure of words to reducing environments and challenge proposals that word classes per se constrain variation.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 15th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Chad Howe, Sarah E. Blackwell, and Margaret Lubbers Quesada
Table of contents
Printed edition: $310.00