TitleStylistic Variation in Spanish Phonology
NameMorris, Richard E. (Author), Ohio State University,
SubjectSpanish and Portuguese,
DescriptionThis dissertation is an investigation of phonological variation occurring as a function of stylistic choice in Spanish. The main variable processes include glide formation, vowel coalescence, vowel deletion, nasal and lateral place assimilation, nasal neutralization,continuancy assimilation, obstruent devoicing, voicing assimilation,and aspiration. Optimality Theory (OT) is the theoretical framework. Previous generative work on phonological variation in Spanish and other languages has been couched in discussions of "optional" or "variable"rules. More recently, a principle of "floating" constraints (FCs) has been applied to explain inter-speaker variation. The present study develops the FC theory of variation and applies it systematically to the analysis of stylistic data from several dialects of Spanish. It is argued that stylistic variation in Spanish - and indeed in all languages - is the result of variable dominance relations among ranked universal constraints. The primary advantage of the FC model is its ability to account for all speech processes, variable as well as categorical, within a single framework. Under this model, constraints fall into two broadly-defined constraint families, MARKEDNESS and FAITHFULNESS. Data from a variety of Spanish dialects are given to show that when FAITHFULNESS constraints outrank MARKEDNESS constraints, maximally distinctive (careful speech) forms are optimized. When the reverse is true, maximally economical (casual speech) forms are optimized. Forms associated with intermediate speech styles are allowed by the interleaving of FAITHFULNESS and MARKEDNESS constraints, and often represent a "compromise" between careful and casual style.
CollectionRutgers Optimality Archive
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work