Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Linguistics and Cognitive Science
Marina Perez de Mendiola
© 2018 Elisa A Taylor
The phenomenon of /s/ weakening is common among many varieties of Spanish, from Latin America to southern Spain (Lipski (2011), Samper Padilla (2011)). This project will focus specifically on coda /s/ weakening in Andalusian Spanish, the social factors that influence it, and the language ideologies surrounding the dialect. Previous research has found that social factors influencing /s/ weakening include social class, gender, and education level (Lipski (2011), Samper Padilla (2011), Holmquist (2008), Terrell (1981), Fontanella de Weinberg (1973)). Studies on /s/ weakening in Andalusian Spanish have mainly focused on the functional compensation for the loss of /s/, but little research has been found on the social factors conditioning /s/ weakening in Andalusian Spanish (Rincon-Perez (2015), Carlson (2006), Ranson (1993), and more). This study will examine how the social factors of gender and class influence the presence of /s/ weakening in participants from Granada. Traditionally in studies of /s/ weakening, the discussion of variation has been limited to the categories of retention, aspiration, or deletion. However, this approach does not fully encompass the entire possibility of variety for /s/ because not all tokens of /s/ are equal in strength. By using the acoustic measurements of center of gravity (COG) and duration as continuous variables, /s/ weakening can be analyzed more precisely and comprehensively (Erker (2010), File-Muriel & Brown (2011)). Data for this research project was gathered in person from ten university-aged Andalusian Spanish speakers (5 female, 5 male) in Granada, Spain. Participants completed a demographic survey, reading passage, and participated in a thirty-minute sociolinguistic interview which included questions about participants’ language ideologies. Data was analyzed by measuring the duration and COG of all tokens of coda /s/ in participants’ speech using a Praat script. Statistical analysis was performed in RBrul to determine the relevant social and linguistic factors influencing /s/ weakening. Results showed that there was a significant correlation between duration and social class, as well as between duration and token position in word and phrase. No significant correlation between COG and any of the social or linguistic variables was found. The language ideologies of participants were also analyzed, and the results revealed that participants were generally aware of their distinctive dialect and its negative perceptions and that the majority of participants said that they had been judged for the way that they talked. These results are mostly consistent with the previous research, but the lack of correlation between COG and any of the variables was surprising.
Taylor, Elisa, "A Sociophonetic Study of /s/ Weakening in Andalusian Spanish" (2018). Scripps Senior Theses. 1220.