Spanish voiced obstruents are traditionally described as having a stop allophone [b, d, g] and a lenited allophone [β, ð, ɣ]. Despite this binary classification, acoustic data has shown that this variation is continuous or gradient depending on the preceding linguistic context. The goal of this paper is to investigate how the following linguistic context affects the degree of Spanish voiced obstruent lenition. Specifically, this paper reports an acoustic investigation of Spanish voiced obstruent lenition in onset cluster contexts. Nine native Spanish speakers were recorded reading Spanish-like nonce words that included a singleton voiced obstruent or an onset cluster consisting of a voiced obstruent plus [ɾ] or [l]. The relative intensity and the duration of these segments were measured and compared with linear mixed-effects regressions. In line with past work, the results show that the voiced obstruents are the most lenited in intervocalic contexts. However, Spanish voiced obstruents are significantly less lenited when followed by [ɾ] in a complex onset; when followed by [l] in a complex onset, the degree of lenition is much more variable. These results provide further support for the gradient lenition of Spanish voiced obstruents, rather than a dichotomous distribution of stops versus lenited variants.
Since many linguistic structures are variable (i. e. conveyed by multiple forms), building a second-language grammar critically involves developing sociolinguistic competence (Canale and Swain. 1980. Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics 1(1). 1–47), including knowledge of contexts in which to use one form over another (Bayley and Langman. 2004. Variation in the group and the individual: Evidence from second language acquisition. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 42(4). 303–318). Consequently, researchers interested in such competence have increasingly analyzed the study-abroad context to gauge learners’ ability to approximate local norms following a stay abroad, due to the quality and quantity of input to which learners may gain access (Lafford. 2006. The effects of study abroad vs. classroom contexts on Spanish SLA: Old assumptions, new insights and future research directions. In Carol Klee & Timothy Face (eds.), Selected proceedings of the 7th conference on the acquisition of Spanish and Portuguese as first and second languages, 1–25. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project). Nevertheless, the present study is the first to examine native or learner variation between imperative (e. g. ven ‘come’) and optative Spanish commands (e. g. que vengas ‘come’). We first performed a corpus analysis to determine the linguistic factors to manipulate in a contextualized task, which elicited commands from learners before and after four weeks abroad in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. Their overall rates of selection and predictive factors were compared to local native speakers (NSs) and a control group of at-home learners.
Results revealed that the abroad learners more closely approached NS rates of selection following the stay abroad. Nonetheless, for both learner groups conditioning by independent variables only partially approximated the NS system, which was more complex than previously suggested.
Spanish locative adverbs may be followed by either a prepositional phrase (PP) (e.g. cerca de mí ‘close to/(of) me’) or, nonstandardly, a tonic possessive (TP) (e.g. cerca mío ‘lit. close mine’). Some also take feminine forms (e.g. cerca mía, detrás mía). Using R, I analyze 16,809 tweets representing 14 locatives from Buenos Aires, Madrid, and Mexico City and demonstrate that, although dialects and individual locatives vary widely in their rates of TP use, the person, number, and animacy of the possessor significantly predict PP/TP selection across varieties. Also, feminine possessives are used almost exclusively in Spain, and the seemingly feminine morphology of locatives ending in –a (e.g. encima) and subsequent extension to other locatives via analogy is the most plausible explanation for their use. Further evidence of analogy is TP use in non-locative contexts (e.g. Arg. pensás mío ‘you think of me,’ Sp. enamorado tuyo/a ‘in love with you’). These findings illuminate the interactions between avoidance of ambiguity, form-based analogy, and speakers’ conceptualization of possession. My findings regarding animacy, which find parallels in research on English dative and genitive constructions, highlight the utility of both cross-linguistic and cross-constructional comparisons in analyzing morphosyntactic variation.
This paper examines the intonation of broad focus declaratives in the Afro-Peruvian Spanish spoken in Chincha, based on two elicitation tasks. The objectives were to investigate the intonation of Afro-Peruvian Spanish broad focus declaratives, as compared to non-Afro-Peruvian Spanish, and to compare the findings across genders and age groups.
The data came from a Story Builder Action Cards task and a Frog Story task. The participants were thirteen Afro-Peruvians (seven female; 21–54 years), who were divided in two age groups. For comparison, data were collected from three speakers who did not identify as Afro-Peruvian. The data were analyzed in Praat, following Spanish ToBI. Specifically, pitch accents in prenuclear and nuclear positions, and intermediate and final boundary tones were analyzed.
The results showed a lack of downstepping in prenuclear and nuclear positions, early-aligned peaks in prenuclear position, a high frequency of falling tones, high and rising boundary tones, and circumflex contours. These characteristics were found in males and females, and younger and older speakers, suggesting that the characteristics of Afro-Peruvian Spanish intonation are not limited to elderly male speakers as suggested in previous research. Interestingly, circumflex contours were especially frequent in younger males, possibly as a marker of their identity.
The central topic of the paper is clitic-verb non-adjacency (interpolation) in Classical and early Modern European Portuguese (EP). Throughout that period, the negative marker não was the only expression likely to disrupt the continuity of clitic-verb sequences. The aims of the study are twofold. First, previous assumptions on the syntax of this pattern are matched against data retrieved from the texts stored in the Biblioteca Nacional Digital. The present analysis demonstrates, first, that clitic-verb adjacency and non-adjacency had divergent distributions depending on whether they occurred in obligatory proclisis contexts or in X-V-cl/X-cl-V variation ones. Whereas interpolation was the default choice in the former, clitic-verb adjacency was prevailing in the latter in the period under discussion. The second aim is to account for the overrepresentation, underpinned by corpus data, of 3rd person accusative pronouns in clauses with interpolation. In previous works, the origin of clitic-verb non-adjacency was couched either in semantic terms (the contribution of não to the meaning of the VP) or in terms of clitic movement and increasing constraints on the status of Neg (Neg and clitic are both assumed to be affixes). In the present paper, interpolation is shown to have had an interface nature, with phonological factors playing a central role. The discontinuity of clitic-Verb sequences is thought to have helped speakers to get rid of the affixal attachment of the o, a, os, as series to the preceding non-verbal sound material (nasal diphthongs in não, quem, ninguém, etc, coercing preverbal pronouns into taking a nasal onset quem no, não no, etc.). As a consequence, in present day standard EP, clitic-specific allomorphy has become earmarked for enclisis.
Spanish is described as having an /s/ regressive voicing assimilation process by which the sibilant is voiced when followed by a voiced consonant. However, experimental studies documenting the nature of the process – including variation in its realization across speech varieties – are limited. The current study presents an acoustic analysis of the phonetic nature of the process, including an analysis of the linguistic and social factors which influence voicing of the /s/. Using an identical controlled phrase elicitation task, rates and location of voicing within the /s/ segment were compared across three varieties of Spanish: Mexican Spanish (Mexico City) and two Peninsular varieties (León and Vitoria). Different voicing rates and different linguistic voicing predictors were found across dialects. The data suggest that /s/ voicing before a voiced consonant is far from a categorical process in Spanish, with variable rates of application between 43% and 63%. We propose that, based on the data, /s/ voicing in Spanish is, in fact, better understood as a progressive voicing process (i. e. continuation of voicing from the previous vowel), and that the linguistic factors that condition voicing can be explained in part through articulatory and aerodynamic mechanisms. We also discuss the phonetics and phonology of the process.
This study analyzes the instantiation of objects in Peruvian Amazonian Spanish (PAS) discourse in two communities with distinct linguistic contexts. We examine the impact of two social variables (gender and place) and nine linguistic variables (transitivity, animacy, definiteness, anaphora function, anaphora expression, cataphora function, cataphora expression, activation, topic persistence) on the speech of eight participants. Our findings indicate that null instantiation in PAS is pervasive, occurring with a range of verb lexemes. While neither gender nor place are significant predictors of null objects, various linguistic variables contribute to the instantiation of objects. The five significant variables as determined by a mixed model regression analysis include the following: animacy, definiteness, anaphora expression, cataphora expression, and activation status. Several findings are consistent with previous research (e. g. human and definite referents disfavor null objects), while other results differ (e. g. PAS propositions disfavor null objects). Activation status and anaphora expression are the most significant predictors of null objects in PAS. In particular, highly accessible referents in discourse and anaphoric null objects favored null objects in subsequent clauses. Thus, the results in the present study demonstrate the pivotal role of information structure in object instantiation, furthering the discussion on syntax-discourse interplay phenomena.