Item Details

Miami-Cuban Spanish vowels in contact

Issue: Vol 8 No. 1 (2014) The Influence of English on U.S. Spanish

Journal: Sociolinguistic Studies

Subject Areas: Gender Studies Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/sols.v8i1.139


While traditional studies on Spanish vowels have agreed that it is a stable system with very little variation, Varela (1992) claims to have observed English transfer phenomena in the vowel system of Miami Cuban Spanish (i.e. schwa in unstressed position, diphthongization of mid-vowels, and the use of English vowels in place of Spanish vowels: e.g. [æ] for /o/, [æk.tú.bɾe] for octubre). The current study empirically tests Varela’s claims of English transfer in the Spanish vowel system of three generations of Miami Cuban bilinguals. Speech is analyzed acoustically with Praat and vowel formant values (F1 and F2) are normalized with NORM. No evidence of English vowels replacing Spanish vowels is discovered but the existence of vowel centralization of unstressed vowels in Miami Cuban Spanish is confirmed. The current study discusses the stability of the Miami Cuban Spanish vowel system as compared to Spanish in general.

Author: Scott Mark Alvord, Brandon Rogers

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