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Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics

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Phonetic accommodation in a situation of Spanish dialect contact: Coda /s/ and /r̄/ in Chicago

Erin O’Rourke / Kim Potowski
  • Corresponding author
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60607, United States of America
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Published Online: 2016-09-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/shll-2016-0015


Work on Spanish in the U.S. has increasingly examined the results of dialect contact. This paper analyzes realizations of syllable-final /s/ and word and syllable-initial /r̄/ in naturalistic interviews among 88 individuals in Chicago belonging to three generations of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans and two generations of “MexiRicans.” It explores: (1) whether realizations change depending on the dialect of the interviewer – that is, whether accommodation is taking place; (2) if there is change across generations; (3) in the case of MexiRicans, whether individuals’ realizations align with the mother’s ethnolinguistic group. Results show that Mexicans’ phonological behavior did not vary for /s/ or /r̄/ according to interlocutor, while Puerto Ricans used velarized /r̄/ more frequently with other Puerto Ricans at a rate approaching significance. Significant differences were also found between generations in several cases but not for mother’s ethnolinguistic group; the interaction of generation and interlocutor showed significance in some cases. We also observed a correspondence between the use of a weakened /s/ and velarized /r̄/, although there was considerable variation among individual speakers.

Keywords: dialect contact; Mexican Spanish in the U.S.; Puerto Rican Spanish in the U.S.


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-09-13

Published in Print: 2016-09-01

Citation Information: Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, Volume 9, Issue 2, Pages 355–399, ISSN (Online) 2199-3386, ISSN (Print) 1939-0238, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/shll-2016-0015.

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