Sociolinguistic Studies, Estudios de Sociolingüística 6.1 2005

Linguistic insecurity and phonetic change in northwest Catalan

Josefina Carrera-Sabaté
Issued Date: 15 Mar 2007


The purpose of this paper is to explain an ongoing linguistic change in North - E a s t e rn Catalan by means of an analysis of speake r s ’ s u b j e c t ivity and, more specifically, through the notion of linguistic insecurity. The process of phonic change analysed is the variation of pre-stressed vowels in utterance-initial position in words such as
en c i a m ‘lettuce’, es c o l a ‘ s c h o o l ’ and ed i fi c i ‘ building’. The realisation of these vowels has traditionally been [a]. Howevr, at present there is a tendency to adapt
their pronunciation to their corresponding written forms, that is to say, [e]. Speakers' responses to which pre-stressed vowels they consider to be the best representatives and which ones they believe to be using have enabled us to establish the highest rate of linguistic insecurity in those speakers who are at an intermediate stage of this process of linguistic substitution. The analysis of speaker's subjectivity shows that a relationship exists between linguistic insecurity and speake r s ’ k n owledge of written Catalan, and, ultimately, a relationship between linguistic insecurity and
s p e a ke r s ’ social mobility.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v6i1.65


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