Yucatan Spanish is a dialect identified by several phonetic variants that distinguish it from surrounding varieties of Spanish, including the change /n/ > [m] in absolute final position, e.g., /pan/ > [pam]. This study presents partial results of a sociolinguistic study of speakers in and around the city of Merida, Yucatan, with the goal of understanding the social significance of nasal labialization for speakers of the dialect. Results demonstrate that while the 'standard' [n] is the most common final nasal, regional [m] accounts for 25% of all tokens. Multivariate statistical analysis shows that [m] is produced most frequently among women, speakers under the age of 50, and people with at least passive knowledge of the Mayan language. Age was shown to be the most important factor, and indicates that [m] is a relatively recent innovation that has risen in use over the past decades, possibly as a linguistic reaction to increased immigration from outside the Yucatan, as [m] is adopted by younger speakers and women in particular as a sign of local identity. Other factors and conclusions are discussed.
Selected Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Jonathan Holmquist, Augusto Lorenzino, and Lotfi Sayahi
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