Final -m in Yucatan Spanish

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Previous studies report that final nasals often labialize to [m] in Yucatan Spanish. The present study details a rapid and anonymous survey undertaken to explore the change [n] > [m] in this dialect. The researcher walked along Avenida Coln in Merida, Mexico, and asked passers-by the name of the street. He then asked them to repeat the name, indicating that he did not understand. The first instance was taken to represent normal speech, the second, careful speech. Results showed a strong preference for final [m], which accounted for 74% of the tokens of Coln. This frequency is much higher than that found previously, suggesting that [m] may be partially lexicalized. In Coln, [m] appeared more often in normal speech, and was produced more frequently by men, contra other studies. Reasons for the gender discrepancy with earlier studies, along with further conclusions, including the role of contact with Mayan, are discussed.


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