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# Neutralizacion homofonetica de liquidas a final de silaba: Aspectos sociolinguisticos en el Espanol de Puerto Rico

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation is a study of the behavior of the phonemes /l/ and /r/ in syllable final position in the Spanish dialect of Puerto Rico, specifically the dialect of the northwest region of the island. The purpose of the study is to examine the relationship between specific social factors and the phonetical variants with which /-l/ and /-r/ manifest themselves at the surface level. One starts from the premise that both the neutralization in (l) of the vibrant phoneme (lambdacism) and the neutralization in $\lbrack\rm r\rbrack$ of the liquid phoneme (rhotacism) are phonetic phenomena which are variable in nature and do not signify a reduction in the phonemic inventory at the coda position in this dialect. Both lambdacism and rhotacism are stigmatized phenomena which are considered characteristic of the Spanish in some regions of the Caribbean, especially of the Spanish in Puerto Rico. In addition to the diastratic or socioeconomic factor, variables such as generation group and sex are considered. After recording and transcribing informal interviews with men and women of three socioeconomic levels, the number of phonetical outputs in the cases of subjacent liquid phonemes in syllable final position was quantified. The classification of the informants was based primarily on the factors of level of formal education and profession or occupation. The quantitative analysis of the allophones proved the initial hypothesis that, although there is a direct relation between rhotacism and variables like socioeconomic level and generation group, one cannot assume the same in the case of lambdacism, which appeared in all informants, regardless of their age, sex or level of education. Lambdacism is not a reliable criterion on which to base a socio-dialectal description of the northwest region of the island, since this study proves that this phenomenon will be found amongst all speakers regardless of their level of formal education. It is shown, however, that this is not the case with rhotacism, a phenomenon whose occurrence can be predicted in accordance with the social variables studied here. In order to determine the reliability of this study and establish relations amongst variables, the results were analyzed according to the statistical model ANOVA.
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