A Sociophonetic Approach to Vowel Raising: Social Networks in Rural Michoacán, Mexico
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Series/Report no.:2014 Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum. 28th
This paper presents new data that allows for a sociophonetic analysis of variable unstressed mid vowel raising in the Spanish of rural Michoacán, Mexico. This process refers to the non-standard realization of /e, o/ as [i, u], respectively, such as in come [kómi] 'he/she eats,' that can be found in this dialect, together with the more standard pronunciation of [kóme]. I present an acoustic analysis of these mid vowels to analyze the linguistic and social factors that condition variable raising in Michoacán Spanish, in order to provide the first thorough account of this vocalic process. The results presented in this paper show that this dialect has more raising of the front, mid vowel /e/ than the back, mid vowel /o/. There is also significantly more raising in the dense social network than in the open social network. My project provides the first variationist account of post-tonic unstressed mid vowel raising in rural Michoacán Spanish based on evidence from acoustic data, and it further contributes to the field of Hispanic Linguistics by focusing on an understudied variety of Spanish. I discuss how linguistic features are related to social factors and, more specifically, how phonetic realizations represent social meaning. My study of linguistic variation within this dialect of Spanish seeks to determine how variation of phonetic realizations are a way to use language to form a social identity. For this project, and in my dissertation, I aim to find the connection between sociolinguistics and phonetics by combining linguistic theory with experimental results.
Humanities: 2nd Place (The Ohio State University Edward F. Hayes Graduate Research Forum)
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