The situation of sustained contact between Spanish and English in Miami during the past half-century provides a rare opportunity to study contact-induced language change in an ecological context in which speakers of the immigrant language (i.e., Spanish) have become the numerical majority. The study reported here is designed to track the phonetic and prosodic influences of Spanish on the variety of English emerging among second-generation Miami-born Latinx speakers of various national origin backgrounds by examining a suite of variables shown in prior studies to exhibit Spanish substrate influence in other regional contexts. We examine two kinds of phonetic variables in the speech of 20 second-generation Latinx and 5 Anglo White speakers: 1) prosodic rhythm and 2) vowel quality. Prosodic rhythm was quantified using Low and Grabe’s (1995) Pairwise Variability Index (nPVI) and results show that Miami-born Latinx speakers are significantly more syllable-timed in casual speech than non-Latinx speakers. Significant vocalic differences were also observed, with Latinx speakers producing lower and more backed tokens of [æ] in pre-nasal and non-pre-nasal positions and more backed tokens of [u].
New Dialect Formation through Language Contact: Vocalic and Prosodic Developments in Miami English
Phillip M. Carter is Associate Professor of Linguistics and English at Florida International University, where he is also Director of Center for Humanities in an Urban Environment and Assistant Director of the Program in Linguistics. With Julie Tetel Andresen, Carter is co-author of Languages in the World: How History, Culture, and Politics Shape Language (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016).
Lydda López Valdez is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at University of Miami. She holds an MA in Linguistics from Florida International University. She is a scholar of language and culture in U.S. Latinx communities working with interdisciplinary approaches to critical theory, ethnography, critical discourse analysis and sociolinguistics. Her work addresses global flows and the movement of linguistic features across borders and how these relate to issues of identity construction in new Latino communities in the U.S. Her dissertation project takes up this issue, focusing on rural and urban dynamics and the movement of linguistic features to and around the South Florida context.
Nandi Sims is a sociolinguist who explores linguistic and cultural variation and change in contact situations. Her current work applies mixed-methodological approaches to the study of ethnically diverse, racially Black communities in order to elucidate and explain the sociolinguistic realizations of segregation and societal inequalities, youth and immigrant language socialization, the linguistic description of AAL varieties, and language variation within and between social networks. She is currently a PhD student in the Department of Linguistics at The Ohio State University and holds an MA in Linguistics from Florida International University and an MA in Education from The College of William and Mary.
Phillip M. Carter, Lydda López Valdez, Nandi Sims; New Dialect Formation through Language Contact: Vocalic and Prosodic Developments in Miami English. American Speech doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-7726313
Download citation file: