Variability in the use of weak forms of prepositions

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This study investigated the influence of phonological environment on variability in the production of the weak forms of four prepositions by advanced Brazilian speakers of English. Results of a VARBRUL analysis indicated that four phonological factors were exerting a significant effect: (a) the preposition itself; (b) whether or not there was a preceding syllable in the same intonation group; (c) the initial segment of the following word; (d) the metrical status of the following syllable. The relative amount of output by the speaker during the 30-minute recording also proved to have a significant effect. Since none of these factors appeared to be exerting a particularly powerful effect on its own, there may be some psycholinguistic factors also operating.


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