The Spanish of north Houston, Texas: a phonological and morphological description
Robichaux, Walter Francis
Urrutibeheity, Hector N.
Master of Arts
The purpose of the investigation and subsequent analysis of this thesis project has been to isolate and describe the phonological and morphological features found in the speech of ten informants of Houston's ”north side”* The thesis work itself was divided into three main stages: 1. the gathering of data in the form of brief spontaneous conversations recorded with sensitive equipment and the transference of these recordings to cassette tapes; 2. the phonetic transcription of the ten conversations in the language lab; and, 3. the collation of data to be used in both the phonological and morphological analyses. The chapter concerning Houston Spanish phonology deals with the following categories on an individual basis; 1. Vowels; 2. Consonants; and, 3. Combinations of Phonemes, the latter- of which includes both rising and falling diphthongs. Contributing factors in the frequent cases of apheresis, syncope and apocope are; false analogy, false analysis, phonic environment, position relative to stress and the influence of English. Outstanding phenomena which characterize Houston Spanish phonology include the confusion of /b/ and /v/, the confusion of /s/ and /2/, the aspirated /s/ and /f/, the assibilated (r), and the reduction and loss of certain consonants and semi-consonants like intervocalic (b), (e) and (y). In regard to morphology, Houston Spanish shares many features which occur throughout Latin America such as gender vacillations among articles, nouns and adjectives, such plural formations as (-ses), the redundant le, the substitution of ha for he in the present perfect, and various verbal stem and inflectional variations. Any discussion of variance, both morphological and phonological, occurs in relation to the standard Spanish of Mexico. Previous studies conducted by Canfield, Matluck, Lope Blanch, Kenriquez Uirena, Boyd-Bowman and others contribute useful data which parallel our own findings here in Houston. Finally it should be stated that studies of Spanish dialects north of the Mexican border are relatively scant. This thesis represents a minor contribution in the area of Texas dialectology and hopefully it will aid others in their linguistic endeavors throughout this area.
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