¿Que comiste [x]amón? A Closer Look at the Neutralization of /h/ and Posterior /r/ in Puerto Rican Spanish
Gibran Delgado-Díaz and Iraida Galarza
70-82 (complete paper
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This investigation examined the perception of the Puerto Rican posterior /r/ since previous investigations have stated that it can be neutralized with /h/ (Dillard, 1962; Lipski, 1994). This is due to the fact that both phonemes share similar allophones; /r/ can be produced as [r], [x], [xɾ], [xr], [hɾ], [hr], or [h] (Dillard, 1962, Gralm, 2009; Navarro-Tomás, 1948), while /h/ can be produced as [h], [ɦ], or [x] (Hualde, 2005; Willis et al. this volume). Therefore, the main goal of this investigation is to study how Puerto Ricans and non-Puerto Rican Spanish native speakers perceive the posterior /r/. The participants were 10 Puerto Rican (5 females and 5 males) and seven non-Puerto Rican Spanish native speakers from Mexico, Spain, and Bolivia. The participants completed a lexical identification task with pictures. The results indicate that non-Puerto Rican Spanish speakers perceive both /h/ and posterior /r/ stimuli categorically as an allophone of /h/. On the other hand, Puerto Ricans were more accurate perceiving the posterior /r/ as an allophone of /r/ in intervocalic position. However, they performed at chance level in absolute initial position. We argue that this is due to the voicing patterns of /h/ and posterior /r/ in Puerto Rican Spanish: /h/ is produced voiced in intervocalic position while the posterior /r/ is produced voiceless in initial and intervocalic position. These results suggest that in Puerto Rican Spanish these two sounds are not completely neutralized. In addition, the difference between Puerto Ricans and non-Puerto Rican listeners provide further evidence that listeners are more accurate perceiving their own variants in contrast to variants that are not part of their dialect.
Selected Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Romance Phonology
edited by Erik W. Willis, Pedro Martín Butragueño, and Esther Herrera Zendejas
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