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On the Offensive

By Karen Stollznow

On the Offensive " This book sheds light on the derogatory phrases, insults, slurs, stereotypes, tropes and more that make up linguistic discrimination. Each chapter addresses a different area of prejudice: race and ethnicity; gender identity; sexuality; religion; health and disability; physical appearance; and age."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Production and Perception of Stop Consonants in Spanish, Quichua, and Media Lengua Add Dissertation
Author: Jesse Stewart Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Manitoba, Linguistics Department
Completed in: 2015
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonetics; Phonology;
Subject Language(s): Media Lengua
Language Family(ies): Spanish-Quechua
Director(s): Kevin Russell
Nicole Rosen
John Lipski

Abstract: This dissertation explores the phonetics and phonology of language contact, specifically pertaining to the integration of Spanish voiced stops /b/, /d/, and /g/ into Quichua, a language with non-contrastive stop voicing. Conflicting areas of convergence of this type appear when two or more phonological systems interact and phonemes from the target language are unknown natively to speakers of the source language.

Media Lengua is a mixed language with an agglutinating Quichua morphology, and Quichua syntactic and phonological systems where nearly all the native Quichua vocabulary has been replaced by Spanish. This extreme contact scenario has integrated the voiced stop series into Media Lengua and abundant minimal pairs are present. If the phonological system of Media Lengua is indeed of Quichua origin however, how have speakers integrated the voiced stop series productively and perceptually? Have they adopted different strategies from Quichua speakers? If so, how do they differ?

Chapter 1 sets the scene with an in-depth description of how contact between Spanish and Quichua has mutually influenced each language at the morphosyntactic level. Chapter 2 explores voice onset time (VOT) production in all five language varieties. Statistical modeling is used to search for differences in duration while taking into account a number of linguistic and demographic factors. Chapter 3 investigates stop perception in Media Lengua and Quichua, and uses Urban Spanish as a point of comparison. Chapter 4 looks at phonetic pre-nasalization in voiced stops across Media Lengua, Quichua, and Urban Spanish. Chapter 5 describes allophonic variations in stop production. The final chapter speculates on the nature of sound change at the phonetic level and explores possible origins of Media Lengua.

Production results show that Media Lengua VOT duration values have shifted away from Quichua towards Rural Spanish. The perceptual results show an age-based effect with older Quichua speakers, which shows more random responses to the stimuli than younger speakers. This effect was not found in Media Lengua or Urban Spanish speakers. Similar age-based results were also found for stop weakening tendencies in Quichua and L2 Spanish speakers, while Media Lengua, Rural, and Urban Spanish speakers were not significantly affected by age.