Home > Free Essays > Linguistics > Languages > Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish

Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish Essay (Critical Writing)

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Jan 31st, 2022

In her article “Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish /s/”, Lauren Schmidt observes the categorization of weakened variants of Spanish syllable-finals and its effects on speech perception. The main finding of the study is cross-dialectical dissimilarity of aspirated sounds within a dialectical region where the phenomenon of weakening is present. This research result suggests a conclusion that an individual’s geographic, social, and linguistic experience affects the categories of /s/ weakening. A pivotal aspect of this research study is the deep analysis of response patterns in maintaining dialect groups.

In the following paper, the given article will be summarized to provide a full account of its main highlights. Overall, in her paper “Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish /s/”, author Lauren Schmidt argues that socio-economic, gender, and geographic factors affect the /s/-weakening patterns and the level of perception between the representatives of varied dialects.

The article under consideration begins with the description of research showing socio-linguistic and territorial implications on Spanish sibilant /s/ weakling in the final position of a word. The author states that the phenomenon the study is focused on occurs only in southern Spain, Central America, the Southern Cone, and the west of Southern America1. In addition, there is a tendency to use weakened /s/ between the representatives of male gender and low to middle class. Further, the researcher shifts to the evaluation of previous studies addressing similar research problems. Then, Schmidt explains the questions that current research study is investigating and the methodology. Finally, the main findings along with their evaluation are presented.

The key idea of this study is that sibilant /s/-weakening is utilized by the Spanish speakers in the above-mentioned terrain intentionally. Particularly, by means of such speech way, they demonstrate they’re belonging to a particular linguistic region, socio-economic group, and gender category. It has been also noted that Spanish speakers who tend to maintain sibilant /s/ pronunciation, have difficulty understanding another group of Spanish speakers who weaken this sound. The difficulty that takes place is either the slowing of the process of speech comprehension or complete failure to understand an interlocutor. The result of communication depends on the listening strategies and mechanisms implemented by language users in different sociolinguistic regions.

Another main idea of the article is that the weakening of the aspirated fricative [h] to similar legitimate forms of /s/ in the addressed group of Spanish speakers is also conditioned by gender, economic, and geographic factors. The research results indicated that language users who maintain sibilant /s/ such as Colombians have comprehension problems similar to the situation with [s] weakening. In particular, they accept weakened [h] as [f] because of the similarity in the manner of articulation of these sounds. In addition, Colombian speakers tend to confuse sounds [h] and [s] when they have speech encounters with the representatives of the weakening group. The following quotation from the article offers an additional explanation to the matter,

Dialect contact through personal social contacts (friend, family, or colleague)

accounted for a significant part of the variation observed amongst the

maintaining group, with those Colombian speakers who reported one or more

personal contacts from /s/-weakening regions displaying a greater tendency to identify the [h] variant as /s/2.

To support her findings, the author provides strong arguments premised on evidence-based research and observations. The major cases used in the study are the study conducted in La Rioja, Argentina, and Bogota, Colombia. These cases indicate the differences in the two speech patterns of the given groups. The Argentinean group is characterized by the weakening of [s] and [h] sounds and their aspiration, whereas the Colombian population is peculiar for maintaining the pronunciation of the full sibilant form of those sounds. The research questions for the two cases were, 1) “How are sociophonetic variants of /s/ (sibilance, aspiration) categorized by speakers of Spanish from dialects that vary in the realization of syllable-final /s/? Are cross-dialectal differences found in the categorization of weakened-/s/?”3 and 2) “What are the effects of the listener sex and dialect contact on the categorization of the sociophonetic variants of Spanish /s/?”4

The key features of this study are the thorough approach of the author and the high degree of reliability of research findings. Apart from conducting observational studies in the two different locations inhabited by the Spanish speakers, Schmidt resorts to the use of literature reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. Moreover, the author provides sufficient phonemic and sociolinguistic data. Finally, the research results described in the article can be interpreted as highly convincing due to the abundance of linguistic evidence proving the trustworthiness of the study.

In conclusion, the article “Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish /s/” by Lauren Schmidt aims at contributing to the understanding of variable /s/-weakening in Spanish speakers from different dialectal areas. The method utilized in the study is based on an investigation of the way different Spanish speakers perceive sociolinguistic variants of /s/. The findings of the article demonstrate dependence between socio-economic, gender, and geographic factors and the weakening /s/ speech practices.

Bibliography

Schmidt, Lauren Beth. “Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish /s/.”University of Missouri (2013): 189-202.

Footnotes

  1. Lauren Beth Schmidt. “Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish /s/.”University of Missouri (2013): 190.
  2. Ibid., 190.
  3. Ibid., 192.
  4. Ibid., 192.
This critical writing on Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Critical Writing sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, January 31). Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish. https://ivypanda.com/essays/regional-variation-in-the-perception-of-sociophonetic-variants-of-spanish/

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, January 31). Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/regional-variation-in-the-perception-of-sociophonetic-variants-of-spanish/

Work Cited

"Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish." IvyPanda, 31 Jan. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/regional-variation-in-the-perception-of-sociophonetic-variants-of-spanish/.

1. IvyPanda. "Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish." January 31, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/regional-variation-in-the-perception-of-sociophonetic-variants-of-spanish/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish." January 31, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/regional-variation-in-the-perception-of-sociophonetic-variants-of-spanish/.

References

IvyPanda. 2022. "Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish." January 31, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/regional-variation-in-the-perception-of-sociophonetic-variants-of-spanish/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) 'Regional Variation in the Perception of Sociophonetic Variants of Spanish'. 31 January.

Powered by CiteTotal, online bibliography generator
More related papers