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CLS Distinguished Language Science Colloquium

Friday, October 13 at 10:00am to 10:45am

127 Moore Building, UP

Dr. Jim Michnowicz, Associate Professor of Spanish (Hispanic Linguistics) (NC State), presents his research in the talk "Language Contact, Change, and New Dialect Formation in Yucatan Spanish".

Abstract:  The Spanish spoken in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico is singled out as a distinctive dialect of Latin American Spanish, based on a number of linguistic features. These features include areas of segmental phonetics/phonology, as well as suprasegmental features, such as intonation and rhythm (Michnowicz 2015; Michnowicz & Barnes 2013; Michnowicz and Hyler 2016). Many of these traits have been attributed to direct or indirect influence of the indigenous contact language in Yucatan, Maya (Lipski 2004; Klee & Lynch 2009; Michnowicz 2015). So while ‘traditional’ Yucatan Spanish shows traits that may be attributed to Maya, research has shown that younger speakers of Yucatan Spanish are quickly moving away from the ‘typical’ Yucatan dialect, toward a more ‘standard’ norm (see Michnowicz 2015). This talk will examine the sociolinguistic factors of age and language background across a swarm of linguistic variables to examine how competing social pressures are shaping the future of Yucatan Spanish. In addition to the sociolinguistic apparent time data collected in 2005, more recent data (2016) adds a sociolinguistic generation to the analysis in real time, helping us to better understand the social and linguistic dynamics at play, including the retention of some linguistic forms as possible markers of regional identity.

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