Alveolar laterals in Majorcan Spanish

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This paper offers a sociophonetic profile of the production of alveolar laterals in Majorcan Spanish, a dialect of Spanish spoken in the island of Majorca, where Catalan is also spoken. Traditionally, Catalan alveolar laterals have been described as being “dark”, i.e. velarized, while (Peninsular) Spanish laterals have been described a “clear”, i.e. non-velarized. Thus, it could be hypothesized that Catalan-dominant bilinguals speaking Spanish would tend to use velarized laterals. However, some recent literature has shown that velarization is a receding feature in Majorcan Spanish with young Catalan-dominant bilinguals leaning towards the use of clear variants. This paper discusses acoustic data gathered from several groups of Majorcan speakers, classified as a function of their dominant language, age and gender. The results indicate that all these three factors affect the degree of velarization of laterals, with Catalan-dominant bilinguals using more velarized variants, and younger subjects (especially females) using the least velarized variants.


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