Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

Speech Rhythm Variation in Dialects of Spanish: Applying the Pairwise Variability Index and Variation Coefficients to Peruvian Spanish

Erin O’Rourke

Department of Linguistics, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Spanish rhythm has been traditionally classified as syllabletimed. Recent rhythm metrics have been employed to reconsider this typology in terms of differences in vocalic and consonantal variation. Several cross-dialectal studies have begun to uncover differences in rhythm within a given language. Yet research on differences in Spanish rhythm has not been conducted. In this paper, Peruvian Spanish is examined in order to observe possible differences in Spanish rhythm according to origin (Lima vs. Cuzco) and according to language background (native Spanish speaker vs. native Spanish-Quechua bilingual). Results show that Peruvian Spanish in general has greater vocalic variation and less consonantal variation that previously reported. Differences between Lima and Cuzco Spanish are observed, although both groups of Cuzco speakers appear to be using similar speech rhythms. This research points to the need for further crossdialectal research on rhythm in Spanish.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  O’Rourke, Erin (2008): "Speech rhythm variation in dialects of Spanish: applying the pairwise variability index and variation coefficients to Peruvian Spanish", In SP-2008, 431-434.