Spanish VOT Production by L1 Nahuat Speakers
Sahagun, Aurora Sahagún
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In the northern region of Puebla, Mexico, two languages have a long history of language contact: Nahuat and Spanish. The former is spoken as an L1 by most of the population, while the latter is typically learned as an L2. This study explores the production of voice onset time (VOT) an acoustic correlate used to identify and categorize stop consonants, among three types of Nahuat-Spanish bilingual speakers: simultaneous bilinguals (speakers who acquired Spanish alongside Nahuat), early bilinguals (speakers who acquired Spanish at around the age of 5), and late bilinguals (speakers who learned their second language after puberty). While Spanish has a stop voicing contrast (/p-b/, /t-d/ & /k-ɡ/), Nahuat is a language with no voicing distinction (its inventory contains /p/, /t/, & /k/). Data to perform this research were collected from 30 bilingual speakers, ten from each bilingual group, and ten Spanish monolingual speakers used as a baseline for comparison. The data were analyzed in Praat and statistical analyses were run in R. The results suggest that the age at which participants acquired Spanish is a crucial factor in how they produce the voiced stops present in Spanish. Simultaneous and early bilinguals presented slightly higher VOT values, while late bilinguals demonstrated a high degree of variation with positive VOTs, shorter VOT when produced as negative, and occasional weakening (in stops). This study represents one of a few studies looking at a diglossia situation with a clear prestige difference between the two languages under study.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeLovick, Olga; Kohlberger, Martin; Cota-Sánchez, Hugo; Li, Zhi
Copyright DateApril 2021