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ERIC Number: EJ919713
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2133
The Role of Lexical Frequency in the Weakening of Syllable-Final /s/ in the Spanish of Barranquilla, Colombia
File-Muriel, Richard J.
Hispania, v92 n2 p348-360 May 2009
This article reports on a quantitative analysis of /s/ in words of different lexical frequencies in a cohesive speech community. Speakers from Barranquilla, Colombia between 20-26 years of age read approximately 100 sentences, containing words with s + consonant sequences. These productions were submitted to auditory acoustical analysis; visual inspection of spectrograms was carried out for ambiguous cases wherein the strong sibilance that characterizes /s/ was not clear. Multivariate analysis of factors conditioning s-realization reveals that the single most important factor is lexical frequency. Speakers tend towards full articulation of /s/ in low-frequency words, while weakening it in high-frequency words. The importance of this factor becomes more apparent when one examines a wider range of the frequency scale than what is attested in conversational speech. These findings support models of language which incorporate lexical frequency as a central component in explaining variations across words in both individual and communal grammars.
American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, Inc. 900 Ladd Road, Walled Lake, MI 48390. Tel: 248-960-2180; Fax: 248-960-9570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colombia