Mid Vowels and Schwa in Eastern Catalan
For some speakers of urban (Barcelona) Catalan, the height distinction between mid vowels is disappearing and schwa is lowering to something close to a low central vowel (Recasens 1991). This paper provides quantitative acoustic data to illustrate i) that these changes are present in young (college age) speakers of urban Catalan, and ii) that these changes are independent of one another. The changes, however, appear to be limited to urban varieties of Catalan. Quantitative acoustic data based on both non-sense words and free speech tokens indicate that neither mid-vowel neutralization nor schwa-lowering are reflected in the speech of young, female, non-Barcelona speakers of Catalan. All speakers had at least some college education and came from the following areas: Bages (Central Catalan), Girona (Central Catalan), Ciutadella (Balearic Catalan), Palma (Balearic Catalan), and Lloseta (Balearic Catalan).