In the late seventeenth century, the Galician language developed a unique phonological and phonetic trait known as gheada, which consists of the absence of the voiced, velar occlusive g (and its allophones) and the presence of some type of aspiration, typically a voiceless glottal or pharyngeal fricative. This investigation studies the recordings of nine female speakers of Galician from the town of Carballo, A Coruña. The women participated in three types of oral interviews in the year 2001: an oral test, a reading test, and a free speech test. Five phonological contexts are analyzed with the statistical package SPSS. In order to determine if the use of gheada is statistically significant, student t-tests are performed on each of the phonological context pairs and a percentage figure which quantifies the overall use of gheada is calculated for each speaker in each of the tests completed. In the reading tests, the mean of non-gheada use in all phonological contexts is significantly different from that of gheada use, which shows that these women do not use gheada in a reading context. In the oral test, a somewhat less formal situation than the reading, the overall use shows no preference for either articulation. In the free speech test, the mean percentage of overall gheada use in all phonological contexts was statistically different from that of non-gheada use, which proves the dominance of the trait in spontaneous speech. Spectrograms show that the most frequent articulation of the aspiration is the voiceless velar fricative [x].
Selected Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Jonathan Holmquist, Augusto Lorenzino, and Lotfi Sayahi
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