Nwav 39 class_panel_díazcampos_fafulas_gradoville 2010

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Societal change and the construct of social class: The case of three sociophonetic variables in Caracas Venezuela

Traditionally, sociolinguists incorporate a combination of factors such as occupation, education, income, and property value in their construction of a socioeconomic class index (Labov 2001, Bentivoglio and Sedano 1993). However, a major drawback of a static definition of social class is that it fails to account for changes across generations. One such change in Venezuelan society is that access to education has greatly expanded for recent generations, which has consequences for the range of occupations available to the population and their access to the educated language norm of the society.
The present study focuses on these societal changes in order to account for changes in the linguistic behavior of different generations within the same socioeconomic class. To achieve this, we examine the variable phenomena of intervocalic /ɾ/ deletion, syllable-final /ɾ/ deletion, and intervocalic /d/ deletion in correlation with social class and age, relating these variables to education and occupation, from 72 sociolinguistic interviews.
The findings reveal that, as access to education increases in younger generations, a sharp rise in the use of the educated variants is reflected in the lowest socioeconomic class, which contrasts with the more limited usage of the educated variants by older speakers of this same class. While upper- and middle-class speakers of all generations use educated variants of all three variables more than working-class speakers in the community, thus lending credence to the importance of the socioeconomic class variable, we argue for a deeper analysis of the independent variables used in typical socioeconomic indexing. In concluding, we argue that changes in participation in the linguistic market should be accounted for in a dynamic definition of social class in future sociolinguistic studies.

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  • Australia .................................... 19.6 — 28.5 34.9 36.0 27.0 18.9 — 23.7 27.6 28.9 21.1 — 33.6 42.7 43.3
    Austria ....................................... 6.6 7.7 — 9.8 10.5 12.0 7.6 8.5 — 10.6 11.4 5.5 6.8 — 8.9 9.6
    Belgium 1 ................................... 16.5 17.1 — — 15.9 17.8 18.9 19.5 — — 16.7 14.1 14.7 — — 15.2
    Canada ..................................... — — 32.2 31.8 31.9 29.3 — — 27.6 26.4 26.5 — — 37.6 37.4 37.4
    Czech Republic ......................... — — — — — 10.8 — — — — — — — — — —
    Denmark ................................... 12.9 15.0 22.3 28.5 28.0 — 11.5 13.3 17.7 25.1 23.1 14.4 16.9 27.2 31.9 33.0
    Finland ...................................... 16.9 17.1 — 22.2 23.9 33.9 17.1 17.0 — 22.0 22.4 16.6 17.1 17.9 22.3 25.6
    France ....................................... 13.8 14.9 — — — 24.9 13.7 14.7 — — — 13.9 15.1 — — —
    Germany 2 ................................. 13.2 12.9 — 16.2 16.1 16.0 16.1 15.7 — 18.2 18.2 10.1 10.0 — 14.0 13.5
    Hungary .................................... — — — — — 26.9 — — — — — — — — — —
    Iceland ...................................... — — — — — 28.9 — — — — — — — — — —
    Ireland ....................................... 16.4 17.4 17.8 21.2 25.5 26.0 31.9 17.5 17.9 19.9 24.6 — 17.3 17.7 22.7 26.4
    Italy ........................................... 8.9 9.2 — 11.8 12.6 16.0 9.1 9.3 — 10.8 11.4 8.7 9.0 — 12.9 13.8
    Japan ........................................ — 22.1 23.2 22.8 22.9 29.0 — 31.5 31.9 30.4 30.7 — 12.4 14.0 14.9 14.9
    Korea, Republic of .................... — — — — — 27.1 — — — — — — — — — —
    Mexico ....................................... — — — — — 11.2 — — — — — — — — — —
    Netherlands ............................... 10.2 8.0 17.6 22.0 19.6 33.5 12.3 9.4 17.3 20.6 18.2 7.9 6.5 17.8 23.4 21.1
    New Zealand ............................. 36.1 15.3 17.2 24.7 30.8 37.3 16.6 15.4 16.9 20.9 26.2 15.5 15.1 17.4 28.6 35.4
    Norway ...................................... 24.6 27.5 19.0 23.0 27.4 33.9 18.1 19.1 14.5 17.2 20.2 31.7 36.3 23.7 28.9 34.8
    Portugal ..................................... — 7.6 — 14.6 15.7 — — 5.9 — 10.8 11.3 — 9.3 — 18.3 20.2
    Spain ......................................... 17.7 18.6 — 24.0 26.1 30.3 14.6 15.3 — 19.6 21.5 21.0 22.0 — 28.6 31.0
    Sweden ..................................... 13.0 12.2 14.1 15.5 19.1 27.2 11.1 10.5 11.8 14.0 15.1 15.1 14.0 16.4 17.0 23.3
    Switzerland ............................... 7.7 7.7 — 9.1 9.3 20.5 10.1 10.3 — 11.4 11.5 5.3 5.1 — 6.8 7.2
    Turkey ....................................... 6.0 6.1 6.1 7.0 — 9.6 7.3 7.5 7.5 8.6 — 4.6 4.5 4.6 5.2 —
    United Kingdom ........................ — — 20.4 31.6 34.4 36.8 — — 21.0 30.3 32.7 — — 19.8 32.9 36.2
    United States ............................
  • the latter a reflection not only of population growth but also of the opening of new schools and the easing of entrance requirements.
  • Nwav 39 class_panel_díazcampos_fafulas_gradoville 2010

    1. 1. SOCIETAL CHANGE AND THE CONSTRUCT OF SOCIAL CLASS: THE CASE OF THREE SOCIOPHONETIC VARIABLES IN CARACAS SPANISH Manuel Díaz-Campos, Stephen Fafulas, Michael Gradoville Indiana University 1 SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS NOVEMBER 6, 2010 NWAV 39
    2. 2. Motivation for this study 2  Several previous investigations (Díaz-Campos 2005, Díaz-Campos and Ruiz-Sánchez 2008) found similar patterns regarding age and socioeconomic class  Using these previous analyses, we decided to further look into the demographics of the corpus in terms of education, occupation, and social context of Venezuela
    3. 3. Overview  Traditionally, sociolinguists incorporate a combination of factors (e.g. occupation, education, income, property value) in their construction of a socioeconomic class index  Static definitions fail to account for societal change  Flores-Ferrán (2010) calls for a revision of traditional approaches to socioeconomic class, emphasizing the importance of considering speakers’ background and the dynamics of the speech community under observation 3
    4. 4. Overview  For example, from 1989 to 1999, many countries saw an increase in college degrees awarded to college-aged people (Snyder & Hoffman 2002: 483)  Socioeconomic class, even when properly defined, may miss certain societal changes which could add to the explanation of the linguistic patterning of the speech community 4
    5. 5. Overview  Examine the influence of increased access to education on the linguistic behavior of different generations of the same socioeconomic class  Context: Spanish of Caracas, Venezuela  Venezuela, like many other countries, saw an increase in rates of education during the latter half of the 20th century 5
    6. 6. Overview 6 According to Haggerty (1990):  Overall, Venezuela is among the most literate of Latin American countries  Literacy rate among Venezuelans fifteen years of age and older was 88.4 percent in 1985  Venezuela's education system, measured by number of schools, teachers, and size of enrollment, expanded rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s  Enrollments at all levels increased substantially, as did the numbers of schools and teachers at each level  Primary enrollments rose by over 30 percent and secondary by over 50 percent, while university-level enrollments nearly doubled
    7. 7. Overview 7 The improvement of human capital by way of education has been one of the greatest achievement s of Venezuela (Velásquez 1979: 797) Years Elementary High School University Total 1950-51 503 91.9% 37 6.8% 7 1.3% 547 1960-61 1.244 85.7% 181 12.4% 26 1.9% 1.451 1970-71 1.824 75.8% 498 20.7% 84 3.5% 2.406 1975-76 2.511 69.8% 831 23.1% 255 7.1% 3.597 Source: Ministry of Education Venezuela Number (in thousands) of students enrolled by level of education in Venezuela
    8. 8. Phenomena  Syllable-final /ɾ/ deletion  (i.e. [kantáɾ] vs [kantá] ‘to sing’)  Intervocalic /ɾ/ deletion in para ‘for’  (i.e. [páɾa] vs. [pá])  Intervocalic /d/ deletion  (i.e. [kantáo] vs [kantáo] ‘sung’) 8
    9. 9. Phenomena: syllable-final /ɾ/  (D’Introno, Rojas & Sosa 1979)  External constraints that favor deletion in Caracas:  Lower class speakers  Male speakers 9
    10. 10. Phenomena: Intervocalic /ɾ/ in para  Mention of para reduction appears in many dialectal studies, although little empirical investigation exists (Garcia 1979)  Bentivoglio et al (2005)  GoldVarb analysis of1599 tokens of pa(ra) alternation  Both forms exist in all socioeconomic classes while pa is mostly associated with informal speech  Results: lower socioeconomic level and 60+ aged speakers favor use of the reduced form pa 10
    11. 11. Phenomena: intervocalic /d/  Descriptive literature:  Henríquez Ureña (1921) , Navarro Tomás (1999), Lapesa (1981), and Lipski (1994: 349)  Sociolinguistic studies of intervocalic /d/  Samper-Padilla 1996, Hernández-Campoy and Jiménez-Cano 2003, and D’Introno and Sosa 1986  D’Introno and Sosa 1986:  In formal styles upper and middle class speakers favored retention more so than the lower socioeconomic group 11
    12. 12. Background  Romaine (1984) emphasizes the differences between the language spoken at home and at school  This observation reveals that at school students are exposed to more formal registers and the normative linguistic variants of the speech community  In a study on the acquisition of sociolinguistic variables by children, Díaz-Campos (2006) shows that, as early as 4.5 years of age, children begin to adopt the normative variants they are exposed to after their first year of schooling 12
    13. 13. Background  Although reference has been made to the effect of education on use of linguistic variables, little empirical evidence has been given (Bentivoglio & Sedano in press)  Sociolinguistic studies usually incorporate education in their definition of socioeconomic class (Chambers 1995: 43-45)  In this study we show empirically that changes in education across generations directly impact the use 13
    14. 14. Research questions  What are the effects of education on the use of non-reduced variants for intervocalic /ɾ/, syllable-final /ɾ/, and intervocalic /d/?  How does education interact with socioeconomic class? 14
    15. 15. Corpus  Speech samples were analyzed from the corpus Estudio Sociolingüístico del Habla de Caracas (Bentivoglio & Sedano 1993) with equal representation of:  socioeconomic level (upper class, middle class, and working class)  age (14-29, 30-45, and 61 and older)  sex (male and female) 15
    16. 16. Results Syllable-final /ɾ/, rates of retention organized by socioecono mic class and age group N = 7200 16
    17. 17. Results Intervocalic / ɾ/ in para, rates of retention organized by socioecono mic class and age group N = 2891 17
    18. 18. Results Intervocalic / d/, rates of retention organized by socioecono mic class and age group N = 7200 18
    19. 19. Corpus demographics: Access to education Education level by age and social class UpperMiddl e Lower 19
    20. 20. Corpus demographics: Occupational Consequences Occupation by age and social class UpperMiddl e Lower 20
    21. 21. Discussion  Increased access to education among the lower socioeconomic class results in a higher use of the non-reduced (normative) variants  For all variables, the younger generation of the lower class uses less of the reduced variants than their older counterparts 21
    22. 22. Discussion  In this way, increased access to education appears to be pulling back changes that existed in the speech community (final /ɾ/ deletion, intervocalic /ɾ/ deletion in para, intervocalic /d/ deletion) 22
    23. 23. Conclusions  The findings of this investigation reveal that upper and middle class speakers are less likely to use reduced variants than the lower socioeconomic speakers in the community  The linguistic behavior of the lower socioeconomic class can in part be explained by observing the demographic shift of the Venezuelan speech community under observation  Level of education & occupation 23
    24. 24. Conclusions  Increased access to education has also led to a shift in occupations: the number of younger people holding jobs in office and professional settings where normative language is expected has risen  As access to education increases in younger generations, a sharp rise in the use of the normative variants is reflected in the lowest socioeconomic class 24
    25. 25. Conclusions  Despite the increase in education levels there continues to be marked differences between the lower socioeconomic class and the other two  It is important to consider the individual contribution of each factor used in the socioeconomic index  This study reveals that in interpreting sociolinguistic data, researchers need to consider the impact of societal changes when addressing social class 25
    26. 26. References  Bentivoglio, Paola and Mercedes Sedano. (1993). Investigación sociolingüística: sus métodos aplicados a una experiencia venezolana. Boletín de Lingüística 8. 3-35. Cameron, Richard (2005). Aging and gendering. Language in Society 34, 23-61. Cedergren, Henrietta (1973). The interplay of social and linguistic factors in Panama. Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell University. Cepeda, Gladys. (1990). La variación de /s/ en Valdivia: sexo y edad. Hispania 73(1): 232-237. Cheshire, Jenny. (2004). Sex and gender in variationist research. In J.K. Chambers, Peter Trudgill, and Natalie Schilling- Estes. The Handbook of language, variation and change. Malden: MA. Blackwell. Dorta Josefa. (1989). Las líquidas /r/ y /l/ en La Perdoma. In Josefa Dorta & Juana Herrera (eds.), Tres estudios de fonética, 72- 129. Spain: Secretariado de Publicaciones. Fontanella de Weinberg, María Beatriz (1973). Comportamiento ante –s de hablantes femeninos y masculinos del español bonaerense. Romance Philology 27: 50-58. Fontanella de Weinberg, María Beatriz (1979). Dinámica social de un cambio lingüístico. Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autómona de México. Haggerty, Richard (1990). Venezuela: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress. Holmquist, Jonathan (1985). Social correlates of a linguistic variable: A study in a Spanish village. Language in Society 14: 191- 203. Holmquist, Jonathan (1988). Language Loyalty and Linguistic Variation: A study in Spanish Cantabria. Dordrecht: Foris Publications. Labov, William (1990). The intersection of sex and social class in the course of linguistic change . Language Variation and Change (2) : 205 54. Labov, William (1994). Principles of Linguistic Change , (vol. 1) : Internal Factors . Oxford: Blackwell . López Morales, Humberto. (1983). Estratificación social del español de San Juan de Puerto Rico. Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Medina-Rivera, Antonio. (1997). Phonological and stylistic variables in Puerto Rican Spanish. Los Angeles: University of Southern California dissertation. Snyder, Thomas and Charlene Hoffman. (2002). Digest of Education Statistics, 2001. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics: NCES 2002–130. 26

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