This study explores regional variation in the perception of sociophonetic variants of Spanish syllable-final /s/ (e.g., loste [los.te] vs. [loh.te]), a highly studied phenomenon in Hispanic sociolinguistic research in its production but little understood in terms of speech perception and processing. Moreover, the study considers how listener social factors (sex) and linguistic experiences (dialect contact) may play a role in the categorization of sociophonetic variants. An Identification Task was administered to two dialect groups of South American Spanish that differ in their production of /s/ (/s/-conserving Bogota, Colombia, and /s/-weakening La Rioja, Argentina) in order to explore regional variation in patterns of categorization of variants of syllable-final /s/. Findings indicate significant differences in categorization of aspirated-/s/ according to dialect group (region) and linguistic experience (dialect contact). Listener sex played a role in categorization of the sociophonetic variant for the /s/-weakening group only. Findings from the research highlight the value of speech perception experimentation in sociolinguistic research (e.g., Drager 2010, Thomas 2002), revealing variable patterns in language use that would be otherwise unseen if limited solely to analyses of speech production.
Selected Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Ana M. Carvalho and Sara Beaudrie
Table of contents