Presentation Title

Vienbenidos a San Juan: on the pronunciation of Spanish phoneme /b/

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

Watkins 2240

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

Authoritative sources of contemporary Spanish do not acknowledge the voiced labiodental fricative, [v], as an allophone of Spanish phoneme /b/. Consequently, the existence of the [v] in Modern Spanish has been accounted to English language contact and bilingualism, hypercorrectness, and archaic revival. This research focuses on the pronunciation of Spanish phoneme /b/ to see if labiodentals are produced for graphemes v and b. Furthermore, this research looks to find a correlation between labiodental production and English language contact and abilities. Native Spanish speaking college students in San Juan, Puerto Rico that are bilingual in English to some degree are interviewed to perform audio-recorded speaking tasks. Results show that labiodentals are undoubtedly produced for Spanish phoneme /b/, but are done so exclusively for orthographic v. On average, grapheme v was pronounced as a labiodental 56% of the time. Grapheme b was never pronounced as a labiodental. In addition to orthography, the results speculate that labiodentals are also conditioned by speech style or formality, as labiodental frequency reduced when tasks became more informal. Variables such as cognate status, phonetic context, and English language contact and abilities did not prove to be substantial linguistic and social factors. Ultimately, the results suggest little to no correlation between labiodental production and English language contact and abilities. Instead, labiodentals in this study appear to be a case of hypercorrectness.

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Nov 12th, 2:30 PM Nov 12th, 2:45 PM

Vienbenidos a San Juan: on the pronunciation of Spanish phoneme /b/

Watkins 2240

Authoritative sources of contemporary Spanish do not acknowledge the voiced labiodental fricative, [v], as an allophone of Spanish phoneme /b/. Consequently, the existence of the [v] in Modern Spanish has been accounted to English language contact and bilingualism, hypercorrectness, and archaic revival. This research focuses on the pronunciation of Spanish phoneme /b/ to see if labiodentals are produced for graphemes v and b. Furthermore, this research looks to find a correlation between labiodental production and English language contact and abilities. Native Spanish speaking college students in San Juan, Puerto Rico that are bilingual in English to some degree are interviewed to perform audio-recorded speaking tasks. Results show that labiodentals are undoubtedly produced for Spanish phoneme /b/, but are done so exclusively for orthographic v. On average, grapheme v was pronounced as a labiodental 56% of the time. Grapheme b was never pronounced as a labiodental. In addition to orthography, the results speculate that labiodentals are also conditioned by speech style or formality, as labiodental frequency reduced when tasks became more informal. Variables such as cognate status, phonetic context, and English language contact and abilities did not prove to be substantial linguistic and social factors. Ultimately, the results suggest little to no correlation between labiodental production and English language contact and abilities. Instead, labiodentals in this study appear to be a case of hypercorrectness.