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Haya vs. Haiga: An Analysis of the Variation Observed in Mexican Spanish Using a Mixed Effects Model
Mary Johnson and Sonia Barnes
32-40 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The present study examines the alternation that exists between haya and haiga in the Spanish from Monterrey and Mexico City. Using data from three corpora of spoken Mexican Spanish, this study is the first to explore quantitatively the linguistic and extra-linguistic factors that govern the variation between the two forms. The results of a mixed-effects model in R using speaker as a random variable indicate that education level affects the choice between the two variants, such that less educated speakers use haiga significantly more than more educated speakers. The results also show a statistically significant interaction between type of use and education, such that haiga is used more as a presentational verb than as an auxiliary only among speakers with a low education level. The association of each variant to a different type of construction points to the differentiation of two semantic properties of haber. The difference between presentational and auxiliary haber and the productivity of this verb might explain why the variation between velar and standard forms still occurs in modern Spanish while the rest of the verbs that showed synchronic variation either completely lost one of the variants or show much lower rates of velar insertion at present.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Ana M. Carvalho and Sara Beaudrie
Table of contents
Printed edition: $220.00