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LINGUIST List 19.53

Tue Jan 08 2008

Diss: Phonology/Socioling: Valentin-Marquez: 'Doing Being Boricua: ...'

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        1.    Wilfredo Valentin-Marquez, Doing Being Boricua: perceptions of national identity and the sociolinguistic distribution of liquid variables in Puerto Rican Spanish


Message 1: Doing Being Boricua: perceptions of national identity and the sociolinguistic distribution of liquid variables in Puerto Rican Spanish
Date: 21-Dec-2007
From: Wilfredo Valentin-Marquez <wvalentiumich.edu>
Subject: Doing Being Boricua: perceptions of national identity and the sociolinguistic distribution of liquid variables in Puerto Rican Spanish
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Institution: University of Michigan
Program: Linguistics & Romance Languages and Literatures
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Wilfredo Valentin-Marquez

Dissertation Title: Doing Being Boricua: perceptions of national identity and the sociolinguistic distribution of liquid variables in Puerto Rican Spanish

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology
                            Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): Spanish (spa)

Dissertation Director:
Lesley Milroy
Teresa Satterfield

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation examines patterns of phonological variation in two Puerto
Rican (PR) communities with different kinds of language contact situations.
It compares a community where Puerto Rican Spanish (PRS) is the only
language spoken by most of the population (Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico) with a
community where PRS is a minority language (Grand Rapids, Michigan). I
describe the sociolinguistic distribution of (rr), (r), and (l)—, focusing on
their stigmatized realizations: velarization ([x]), lateralization ([l]), and
rhotacization ([ɾ]), respectively.

Besides the contributions of linguistic context, life stage and gender, I
explore whether the degree of integration into the PR community of the 22
informants on the Island and the 20 participants on the mainland offers
explanatory insight to differences between the communities in terms of the
variables' distribution. I consider the speakers' perceptions of national
identity—based on the meanings and uses of the word boricua, typically
associated with core Puerto Ricanness—and I explore whether those
judgements relate to the use of [x], [l] and [ɾ] in the two communities.

The general distribution of (rr) was very similar in the two populations, and
that was also the case for (l), but the samples contrasted in the distribution
of (r). Although the main realizations of (rr) and (r) were strongly
conditioned by linguistic environments in the two communities, differences
were found in their social conditioning. Variable (l) did not show
meaningful sociolinguistic variability in either location.

As regards (rr) and (r), the following patterns emerged in both
communities: women favored the prescribed variants ([r] and [ɾ]); middle-
age speakers favored the stigmatized realizations; men favored [ɾ], the
innovative variant of (rr); and women and adolescents favored [ɹ̝], the non-
prescribed, non-stigmatized variant of (r).

Differences in the level of integration into the PR community did not
influence the sociolinguistic distribution of (rr), but had an effect on the
distribution of (r). Also, speakers related [x] and [l] to the linguistic
projection of core Puerto Ricanness, and I associate the preference of a
different variant to describe typical boricua speech in each location with
differences in the demographic composition of the communities.





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