This dissertation provides a description of the internal and external factors that affect the pronunciation of /s/ as interdental [Ɵ] in Salvadoran Spanish as well as its social meaning. Using a variationist and an ethnographic approach, data was collected from 32 participants in a community located in the eastern region of El Salvador. The data was collected and analyzed in order to answer the following research questions: (1) What are the internal linguistic factors that condition the pronunciation of /s/ as interdental? (2) What are the external factors, both social and stylistic, that condition the pronunciation of /s/ as interdental? (3) What social meanings, if any, do speakers associate with the interdental variant of /s/? The first and second questions were answered performing mixed effects models and pairwise comparisons. Results indicate that word/syllable position, following segment, word function and morphological status are linguistic factors that affect the pronunciation of /s/ as [Ɵ]. Specifically, there are more probabilities of observing the interdental in syllable onset position both word medially and word initially. The use of the interdental is also more common when followed by non-high vowels. The interdental rarely occurs in coda position and when it does, the following segment is typically a pause. It is also more likely to occur in content words than in function words almost exclusively with non-morphemic value. The social factors affecting the interdental are occupation and age group. Specifically, [Ɵ] is more likely to be observed in preteenagers and in adults over the age of 55 and less likely to be observed in the speech of professionals and civil servants. It was also found that the interdental is more commonly observed in casual style than in more formal styles. Overall, the interdental appears to be a stable sociolinguistic variable in this community. A qualitative analysis was performed to answer the third research question. It was determined that the interdental is perceived as a stigmatized variant, yet at the same time speakers embrace it as a marker of local identity.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.January 2017. Major: Hispanic and Luso Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics. Advisor: Carol Klee. 1 computer file (PDF); xiii, 189 pages.
Interdental /s/ in Salvadoran Spanish: Finding Linguistic Patterns and Social Meaning.
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