Additional Funding Sources

The project described was supported by the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program through the U.S. Department of Education under Award No. P217A170273.

Abstract

Rioplatense Spanish (RPS; Argentina and Uruguay) is known for its distinctive pronunciation. One unique feature is the pronunciation of sounds represented by the letters ‘y’ or ‘ll’. In Standard American Spanish, the sound associated with these letters is [j] (‘yellow’), but in RPS the sound has been either the voiced [ʒ] (‘measure’) or, more recently, its voiceless counterpart [ʃ] (‘shoe’). Previous studies found that the devoicing ([ʒ]→[ʃ]) is almost complete in speakers from both Uruguay and Argentina, but that the change in Uruguay is much more recent.

In this study, RPS speakers from both countries will be presented with audio stimuli of words. Recordings will be manipulated to sound voiced ([ʒ]; older generation in Uruguay), or voiceless ([ʃ]; younger generation in Uruguay or speakers from Argentina). Participants will be asked to listen to the stimuli and determine the country of origin of the speaker in the given recording. Options will include Argentina, Uruguay, Argentina/Uruguay, and “Other”. Given the recent change in the Uruguayan dialect, we expect that participants from Argentina will more likely attribute words with the devoiced sound to Argentinian Spanish, whereas Uruguayan participants will be less likely to differentiate between the two Rioplatense dialects.

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A Sociophonetic Study of Rioplatense Spanish

Rioplatense Spanish (RPS; Argentina and Uruguay) is known for its distinctive pronunciation. One unique feature is the pronunciation of sounds represented by the letters ‘y’ or ‘ll’. In Standard American Spanish, the sound associated with these letters is [j] (‘yellow’), but in RPS the sound has been either the voiced [ʒ] (‘measure’) or, more recently, its voiceless counterpart [ʃ] (‘shoe’). Previous studies found that the devoicing ([ʒ]→[ʃ]) is almost complete in speakers from both Uruguay and Argentina, but that the change in Uruguay is much more recent.

In this study, RPS speakers from both countries will be presented with audio stimuli of words. Recordings will be manipulated to sound voiced ([ʒ]; older generation in Uruguay), or voiceless ([ʃ]; younger generation in Uruguay or speakers from Argentina). Participants will be asked to listen to the stimuli and determine the country of origin of the speaker in the given recording. Options will include Argentina, Uruguay, Argentina/Uruguay, and “Other”. Given the recent change in the Uruguayan dialect, we expect that participants from Argentina will more likely attribute words with the devoiced sound to Argentinian Spanish, whereas Uruguayan participants will be less likely to differentiate between the two Rioplatense dialects.