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Title:Social dynamics of Catalan-Spanish contact in the evolution of Catalonian Spanish
Author(s):Davidson, Justin Spencer
Director of Research:Escobar, Anna Maria
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Escobar, Anna Maria
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hualde, José Ignacio; Fagyal, Zsuzsanna; Willis, Erik; Roy, Joseph
Department / Program:Spanish and Portuguese
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language contact
Language variation and change
lateral velarization
fricative voicing
Abstract:The research objectives of this dissertation are: (1) to empirically investigate the origin behind two (contact) features of Catalonian Spanish, [ɫ] and [z], inquiring the role of specific linguistic and social factors as relevant in the process of linguistic influence from Catalan, and (2) to empirically uncover the sociolinguistic profile of each of [ɫ] and [z] in the respective social and linguistic ecologies of the Barcelonan bilingual community. Grounded in a speaker-based theory of language change (cf. Weinreich, Labov, & Herzog 1968) and a comparative sociolinguistics study of language contact (cf. Poplack & Levey 2010), this thesis treats linguistic variation as ‘structured’ heterogeneity (cf. Labov 1982). Qualitative and quantitative measures are used to analyze the variable use of the variants within and across different groups of bilingual speakers, consequently providing insight into the spread and development of these variants within the community. Accordingly, by exploring questions related to the development of language influence in a contact situation, a detailed study of the relevant linguistic and social factors serves to explain the origin and diffusion of contact features, therein speaking to their actuation and propagation (cf. Weinreich et al. 1968). Speech data were elicited from 4 experimental studies designed following phonetics and second language research frameworks, and informed by quantitative and variationist approaches to sociolinguistics: (1) careful pronunciation word-list reading, (2) casual speech informal interview, (3) matched guise [covert attitudes], and (4) debriefing interview [overt attitudes]. Tasks were administered to a group of Barcelonan Catalan-Spanish bilinguals, stratified by age, gender, and language dominance, in addition to a group of Catalan-dominant speakers (stratified by gender and age) from surrounding smaller Catalan-prevalent villages, and lastly a control group of monolingual Spanish speakers from Madrid. Token-by-token detailed phonetic analyses of lateral velarization and intervocalic fricative voicing were performed using a combination of manual and automated methods in Praat, along a gradient, non-discrete continuum. Inferential statistics, including chi-square and mixed-effect GLM techniques were performed using R. Results from these statistical analyses provide empirical evidence that [ɫ] and [z] production in Barcelonan Spanish is directly influenced by contact with Catalan. This influence is shown to be manifested both linguistically, in the form of sensitivities to linguistic constraints from Catalan, as well as socially, in the form of more frequent usage with increased exposure to and usage of Catalan (i.e., Catalan-dominant speakers). Additionally, statistical analyses reveal differences between social values and overt awareness regarding [ɫ] and [z], in that the former variant is overtly recognized as a negative stereotype of Catalanized Spanish, particularly by Spanish-dominant bilinguals and monolinguals from Madrid. In contrast, the latter variant lacks overt negative social commentary, being instead covertly and positively associated with closeness to the Catalan speaker (i.e., solidarity) by Catalan-Spanish bilinguals. These divergent social values are argued to account for the more advanced propagation of [z] than [ɫ] amongst bilingual speakers, as characterized by the dissimilar usages of each variant beyond the speech of the most Catalan-dominant bilinguals (and in particular, youth female Spanish-dominant bilinguals). Accordingly, the findings help to emphasize social values linked to particular linguistic features as a driving force in their propagation, and accordingly, in language change. Moreover, they highlight how the path of diffusion of contact features is necessarily mediated by language dominance in the bilingual community.
Issue Date:2015-07-14
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Justin Davidson
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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