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Linguistic and Social Variables Influencing the Accent on the Discourse Marker y among Puerto Rican Bilinguals in Hampton Roads, Virginia
Yayoi T. Aird
120-130 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Spanish y is widely believed to have no accent except in the case of phrase initial interrogatives. The present study explored how the accent on the discourse marker (DM) y is influenced by linguistic and social variables. Informants included 48 Puerto Rican bilinguals living in Hampton Roads, VA., from 2002 to 2004. Nearly 12,500 tokens were examined. The present study found that accented y was not limited to phrase initial interrogatives (Navarro Tomás, 1985; Real Academia Española, 1983). Accented y was frequently lengthened and was strongly associated with a pause before y. When the subject difference between Segment 1 before y and Segment 2 after y was greater, accented y was more likely to be employed. Female speakers used more accented y than male speakers. Younger informants used accented y more frequently than older informants. Increased years of residence in the U.S. contributed to a decreased frequency of accented y.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Maurice Westmoreland and Juan Antonio Thomas
Table of contents
Printed edition: $190.00