The Emergence of Hispanic English in the Raleigh Community: A Sociophonetic Analysis

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Title: The Emergence of Hispanic English in the Raleigh Community: A Sociophonetic Analysis
Author: Carter, Phillip Martin
Advisors: Mark Darhower, Committee Member
Walt Wolfram, Committee Member
Agnes Bolonyai, Committee Member
Erik Thomas, Committee Chair
Abstract: Though the recent influx of native Spanish speakers to the Southeastern United States has caused sociolinguists to pay closer attention to Hispanic English, most studies have focused their attention on the adaptation of segmental features, leaving rigorous examinations of suprasegmental features vastly underrepresented. Although some studies have commented on prosodic differences between Spanish, English, and dialects of English influenced by Spanish, most of these have relied on impressionistically based observations and have avoided systematic, quantifiably based examinations. Nevertheless, Ramus et al. (1999) were able to show quantifiable differences between Spanish and English, firmly classifying the former as more syllable-timed and the later as more stress-timed. The development of the Pairwise Variability Index (PVI) by Low and Grabe (1995) provides a method for examining the degree of stress-timing or syllable-timing in a given linguistic variety. Fought and Fought (2003) used PVI to show that bilingual Chicanos in California were more syllable-timed than the adjacent English-speaking community, though only for the first five syllables of an utterance. This thesis study examines the Spanish and English of adolescent bilinguals in Raleigh, NC and applies the PVI method in order to a) report empirically quantifiable differences between the two systems b) determine the rhythmic nature of Hispanic English and c) explore possible influences of southern American English on the Spanish of immigrants to the Mid-Atlantic South. As expected, findings show a range of rhythmic productions that is best represented on a continuum, where Spanish is located on one endpoint, the English of native monolinguals on the other, and the English of Hispanic immigrants somewhere in between. This analysis provides further insights on the bilateral affects of Spanish-English contact situations. The nature of prosody as a substrate feature in emerging varieties of Hispanic English in the Mid-Atlantic South is also considered in this description.
Date: 2004-04-01
Degree: MA
Discipline: English

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