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Rhotacism in Spanish and its decline in Ciudad Real (Spain). A case study of a change in progress nearing completion

Issue: Vol 9 No. 4 (2015)

Journal: Sociolinguistic Studies

Subject Areas: Gender Studies Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/sols.v9i4.23975


This paper begins with an examination of rhotacism as a phonetic process and the conditioning factors that govern its occurrence. Its importance among Spanish varieties and its place within the syllable-final s weakening continuum is also considered. Next we turn to the gradual disappearance of this phenomenon in Ciudad Real, using both apparent time inferences and real time evidence. The results from our investigation show a somewhat atypical change from below and an interesting development of the syllable-final s weakening process; namely, rhotacism is not replaced by the standard canonical form but rather gives way to a more advanced form of weakening. This implies that, although the standard variant has shown complete stability during the last century, the weakening process is progressing among the non-standard allophones. From a methodological point of view, this study has revealed the importance of analyzing different individual contexts in which the syllable-final s can appear, since global data can conceal some important patterns.

Author: Marko Kapović

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