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Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics

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Perceptual salience and social categorization of contact features in Asturian Spanish

Sonia Barnes
Published Online: 2015-08-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/shll-2015-0009


This article investigates the sociolinguistic perception of contact features in Asturian Spanish, a linguistic variety spoken in Northwestern Spain and characterized by the alternation between features from Asturian and Spanish. A matched guise experiment was used to test the participants’ social categorization of the following morphophonological variants: Asturian [u] and [es] vs. Spanish [o] and [as], respectively. The manipulation of the variants had a significant effect on how listeners perceived the social attributes of the speakers. However, while both variables were used to situate speakers in an urban/rural spectrum, only (o) was associated with status. The results of this study show that individual contact variants can index social information and that not all contact features are equally salient. I propose that, in this case, social salience is determined by the cognitive salience of the variables under study and the transparency of the link between linguistic form and social information.

Keywords: Sociolinguistic perception; morphophonological variation; language contact; social status


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-08-25

Published in Print: 2015-09-01

Citation Information: Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, Volume 8, Issue 2, Pages 213–241, ISSN (Online) 2199-3386, ISSN (Print) 1939-0238, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/shll-2015-0009.

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