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Title:Stylistic Variation in Spanish Phonology
Authors:Richard E. Morris
Comment:Ohio State University dissertation (1998) in 6 Word7 files + 2 separate JPEG files. Requires SIL Doulos IPA font. Contains minor revisions
Abstract:Stylistic Variation in Spanish Phonology

Richard E. Morris
The Ohio State University

This dissertation is an investigation of phonological variation
occurring as a function of stylistic choice in Spanish. The main
variable processes include glide formation, vowel coalescence, vowel
deletion, nasal and lateral place assimilation, nasal neutralization,
continuancy assimilation, obstruent devoicing, voicing assimilation,
and aspiration. Optimality Theory (OT) is the theoretical framework.

Previous generative work on phonological variation in Spanish and other
languages has been couched in discussions of "optional" or "variable"
rules. More recently, a principle of "floating" constraints (FCs) has
been applied to explain inter-speaker variation. The present study
develops the FC theory of variation and applies it systematically to
the analysis of stylistic data from several dialects of Spanish. It is
argued that stylistic variation in Spanish - and indeed in all
languages - is the result of variable dominance relations among ranked
universal constraints. The primary advantage of the FC model is its
ability to account for all speech processes, variable as well as
categorical, within a single framework.

Under this model, constraints fall into two broadly-defined constraint
families, MARKEDNESS and FAITHFULNESS. Data from a variety of Spanish
dialects are given to show that when FAITHFULNESS constraints outrank
MARKEDNESS constraints, maximally distinctive (careful speech) forms
are optimized. When the reverse is true, maximally economical (casual
speech) forms are optimized. Forms associated with intermediate speech
styles are allowed by the interleaving of FAITHFULNESS and MARKEDNESS
constraints, and often represent a "compromise" between careful and
casual style.
Article:Version 1