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An experimental approach to hypercorrection in Dominican Spanish

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Abstract

A stigmatized trait of popular Dominican Spanish is the insertion of pre-consonantal or final [s] into a lexical item (e.g. <i>Ja</i>[<i>s</i>]<i>queline</i>)<i>.</i> The predominant explanation among phonologists for this uniquely Dominican phenomenon is that the uneducated are &#8216;lost-s&#8217; speakers who do not know which words contain lexical /s/ so they insert [s] into any coda, subject to theoretical constraints (N&#250;&#241;ez Cede&#241;o, 1988a; Harris, 2002; Bradley, 2006). However, a sociolinguistic analysis of rural Dominicans revealed that the majority of &#8216;s-ful&#8217; tokens realized in spontaneous speech were correct productions (Bullock et al., 2014). The present analysis reports the results of a follow-up, controlled study designed to assess whether speakers could perceive and correctly reproduce coda [s] equally well across different phonological contexts, or whether internal and external factors (gender, literacy, age) affect how a speaker lexically codes and produces novel &#8216;s-ful&#8217; tokens.

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