Voiceless stop lenition and reduction as linguistic and social phenomena in Concepción, Chile
Keywords:voiceless stops, Chilean Spanish, lenition, articulatory reduction, voicing, duration, sociophonetics
This study investigates voiceless stop lenition in Chilean Spanish. Recent studies (e.g. Pérez 2007, Figueroa & Evans 2014 among others) have documented high levels of lenition of /bdg/ in Chilean Spanish. As a result, the present study seeks to document the degree to which the voiceless stops /ptk/ undergo lenition in this variety of Spanish. Furthermore, the relationship between lenition and social factors (e.g., age, gender, and socioeconomic stratification) is examined. Data was taken from the sociolinguistic interviews of 32 speakers from the Province of Concepción, Chile. In all, 4,419 intervocalic tokens of /ptk/ were analyzed for lenition using three different measurement criteria: total voicing, articulatory reduction, and duration. Results confirm that, according to all three criteria, elevated levels of lenition are observed in the production of /ptk/ in Concepción. Likewise, results indicate that as a social phenomenon, voiceless stop lenition in Concepcion is primarily conditioned by age and gender.
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