Semester of Graduation

Spring 2021

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

World Languages, Literatures, & Cultures

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

This thesis shows us the phonological variation of the pronunciation of [tʃ] in the vernacular Spanish of Chihuahua, Mexico, which variably converts into a different pronunciation, the variant [ʃ], through the process of lenition. Although this phenomenon is observed in various countries such as Spain, Panama, Venezuela, and the United States, it remained understudied in the sociolinguistic field until now. Therefore, this investigation contributes reliable information of the psycholinguistic, phonological, and geo-linguistic characteristics that are pertinent to the production of the fricative [ʃ]. The investigation’s methodology employs semi-directed interviews with a socially stratified corpus of thirty-two speakers from Chihuahua, Mexico. Secondly, it analyzes 1,1710 samples using thirteen internal predictors and external predictors that condition the variable [tʃ]. The variationist programs Praat, Elan, Language Variation Suite, and Rbrul provided the quantitative data, including, the recordings supplied by the speakers. The data recollection presents a lenition rate of 67%, that respectively exceeds the previous discoveries in Chihuahua, Mexico of 32.8% y 42% (Méndez, 2017 y Amastae, 1996). Additionally, the results uncover the articulation of [tʃ] is a determining factor in the speaking community effect that occurs in the vernacular Spanish of the Chihuahuan speakers. In connection to the sex effect, the findings reflect that women and the youth exhibit a conservative sociolinguistic behavior, whereas the men prefer the informal form of speech. Overall, the linguistic factors demonstrate that lenition favors the phoneme /tʃ/ in the initial position of words and is preceded by the vowel /a/. In summary, it is suggested that the articulation of [tʃ] is a diatopical and diastratical marker that occurs in the vernacular Spanish of Chihuahuans.

Committee Chair

Orozco, Rafael

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