Chapter published in:Hispanic Linguistics: Current issues and new directions
Edited by Alfonso Morales-Front, Michael J. Ferreira, Ronald P. Leow and Cristina Sanz
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 26] 2020
► pp. 304–325
Examining the (mini-) variable swarm in the Spanish of the Southeast
The present investigation aims to facilitate our understanding of Spanish in the Southeastern United States – a region that despite its rapid growth over the last two decades, has received little attention in the literature. Analyses of four linguistic variables indicated that while second generation heritage speakers produced significantly more English discourse markers than first generation immigrants, realization of phonetic variables was similar across groups. An examination of the overall patterns across the four variables (i.e., “variable swarm”), however, suggests that heritage speakers are beginning to integrate contact-induced characteristics into their speech faster than immigrants do. By examining multiple variables simultaneously, the present study therefore offers important insight into the processes of new dialect formation, convergence, and leveling in an understudied region.
Keywords: variable swarm, new dialect formation, forced-alignment, heritage speakers, discourse markers, phonetics
Published online: 13 May 2020
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