Gradient merging of vowels in Barcelona Catalan under the influence of Spanish

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The present article examines the influence of Spanish phonology on the production of Catalan vowel contrasts. Vowels produced by Catalan bilinguals in three different districts in Barcelona are both auditorily and acoustically analyzed in order to find out whether differences in exposure to Catalan and Spanish could trigger differences in vowel pronunciation. Differences in production are found between the groups of children in the different districts. In particular, the case of the Catalan vowel contrast /e/ vs. /e/ seems to be at an advanced stage of merging. The children in the highly Spanish-influenced district hardly produce this vowel contrast in comparison with children in districts where Catalan is more present in the environment.


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