The Value of Frequency as a Linguistic Factor: The Case of Two Dialectal Regions in the Spanish Speaking World
Manuel Díaz-Campos and Carmen Ruiz-Sánchez
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The goal of this paper is to demonstrate the value of frequency as an independent variable in explaining sociophonological variation across language varieties. Specifically, the authors study Andalusian and Venezuelan Spanish with the purpose of comparing syllable-final /r/ deletion in two dialects that are historically related, but that given a great geographical distance show a certain independence in the development of such a phenomenon. The most relevant difference between these two dialects was found in the social manifestation of this phenomenon, specifically in the rate of deletion across the different age and gender groups. In both Andalusian and Caracas Spanish, syllable-final /r/ fits the pattern of physiological sound change where spreading goes from more frequent items to less frequent ones, or, in Bybee's words (2002), a phonological process that is both lexical and phonologically gradual. The sociolinguistic evidence shows that deletion of /r/ shows more vitality in Andalusian Spanish because it is more common among the youngest generation and female speakers, while the results for the Caracas corpus show that the situation may have become stabilized in Caracas Spanish because older speakers and males favored /r/ deletion.
Selected Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Maurice Westmoreland and Juan Antonio Thomas
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