18. Quantitative evidence for contact-induced accommodation

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Studies on dialect accommodation, focusing on the acquisition of new features, have found age of arrival to be a significant factor in acquisition patterns (e.g. Chambers 1992). Regarding /s/ reduction among Salvadorans in Houston, quantitative analysis shows that accommodation may also involve the redistribution of already present features. Sociolinguistic data show that this contact situation has led many Salvadorans to accommodate their speech to Mexican patterns, particularly for socially salient features, like /s/ reduction. Various factors are tested for statistical significance in /s/ reduction: the social factor of age of arrival is found to have the strongest effect; surrounding phonological segments also show significance. Intensity of contact, however, does not, pointing to accommodation as a general social – rather than simply individual – phenomenon.


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