Going Retro: An Analysis of the Interplay between Socioeconomic Class and Age in Caracas Spanish
Manuel Díaz-Campos, Stephen Fafulas, and Michael Gradoville
65-78 (complete paper
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Socioeconomic class, whose definition in sociolinguistic studies often incorporates a range of variables such as education level, income, occupation, and residential area, amongst others, has been shown to be of profound importance in the patterning of sociolinguistic variation (Ash 2004, Labov 1972, Trudgill 1974). However, although education has often been argued to play a large role in the social stratification of sociolinguistic variables in the sociolinguistic literature, the influence of generational change in access to education has never been fully explored. The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of socioeconomic class and age in the patterning of linguistic behavior in the Spanish spoken in Caracas, Venezuela. To this end we examine syllable-final /ɾ/ deletion, intervocalic /ɾ/ deletion in para 'for', and intervocalic /d/ deletion. The findings of this investigation reveal that upper and middle class speakers are less likely to use vernacular variants of all three variables than the lower socioeconomic speakers in the speech community. This behavior of the upper and middle class in contrast with the working class in Caracas Spanish can in part be explained as a consequence of changes in access to education and occupation. Furthermore, as access to education increases in younger generations, a sharp rise in the use of the normative variants is reflected in the lowest socioeconomic class.
Selected Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Jim Michnowicz and Robin Dodsworth
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