Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics Association, Wednesday Dec. 5th

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Please join us for the last HaLLA meeting of the semester on December 5th at 2:25pm in Folwell 113.

There will be two great presentations one by Megan Strom, "Spanish-language Print Media in the United States: A Critical Multimodal Social Semiotic Analysis of Ideological Representations," and the other by Ana Iraheta, "Descriptive and acoustic account of Salvadoran interdental realization of /s/."


Spanish-language Print Media in the United States: A Critical Multimodal Social Semiotic Analysis of Ideological Representations

by Megan Strom

In light of the 50.5 million people of Hispanic or Latino origin residing in the United States as of 2010 (Ennis, Ríos-Vargas and Albert, 2011, p. 2), it is no surprise that there has been a recent surge of Spanish-language media directed at this population. Although substantial work has been carried out on the linguistic features of Spanish spoken in the United States, almost nothing is known about the semiotic characteristics of Spanish-language media in this country.

Here I present a critical multimodal social semiotic analysis of ideological representations in Spanish-language print media in the Midwest of the United States. The goal of this research is to shed light on how ideologies are visually expressed in Spanish as a minoritized language, as well as the potential for these ideologies to challenge mainstream ideologies. The data include 15 photographs and images that accompanied local news articles from two local Spanish-language newspapers - La Prensa/Gente de Minnesota and La Conexión Latina - from which several semiotic structures were chosen for analysis.

Results indicate that although local Spanish-language newspapers at times visually represent Latino immigrants as victims of maltreatment by the majority group, they overwhelmingly favor representations of Latino immigrants as agentive social actors who stand up to injustices committed against them. As such, the visual mode in these newspapers challenges the negative representations of Latinos found in the United States mainstream media.

Descriptive and acoustic account of Salvadoran interdental realization of /s/

by Ana Cecilia Iraheta

It is well known that /s/ is one of the most variable and studied phonemes in Spanish and that it is strongly manifested as weakening in the form of aspiration [h] and deletion [Ø] in syllable-final position. Though this variation has been extensively studied, /s/ variation studies about Salvadoran Spanish in general are scarce and they have been a minimal part of descriptive phonetic, morphological, and syntactic accounts of the whole dialect (Canfield 1960, Geofroy Rivas 1975, 1978, Lipski 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 2000, 2007, Quesada Pacheco 2010). Accounts of /s/ realizations in this dialect have reported phonetic characteristics of not only [s], [h], and [Ø] but also of an interdental-like allophone [θ] which even though is not correlated in any way with the /s/ and /θ/ differentiation in part of Spain, here it will be called interdentalization of /s/

Most of the studies on this dialect have identified the interdental realization of /s/, yet neither a systematic pattern of its occurrence nor an explanation as to the linguistic nature of this type of realization has been reported. The present paper provides a descriptive and acoustic analysis of the linguistic variables that favor the interdental realization of /s/ in Salvadoran Spanish. The variables included were word position, syllable position as well preceding and following segment which included stress/unstressed vowel, vowel height, frontness and backness, voiced/voiceless consonant, and pause. Samples for this paper were taken from existing semi-structured audio recorded interviews collected in the summer of 2010 by the researcher. A total of eight adult speakers of Salvadoran Spanish were included in the sample. The data was statistically analyzed using a multivariate analysis in order to measure the contribution of several factors simultaneously. Then, /s/ as interdental was analyzed using speech analysis software in order to provide an acoustic description of this allophone when it occurred in the presence of the variables that favored it the most. In turn, the results served as basis to provide an account of the relationships at play in the realization of /s/ as interdental in Salvadoran Spanish.

Preliminary results show that syllable initial position favors the interdental when the following segment is an unstressed mid vowel (p<0.001) as in:

(1)...ɑ 'βeθeh... θe 'βa de un pa'ih a otro... (...sometimes when she/he leaves to another country)

(2)... 'eθoh 'kaθoh... (...those cases)

To know the patterns of realization of this allophone aids in the characterization of /s/ variation and its behavior in this understudied dialect. Consequently, this study contributes to understand linguistic elements involved in the interdentalization of /s/ in addition to improve our understanding of the Spanish spoken by immigrant communities in the United States.

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This page contains a single entry by Kathren Lundquist published on November 30, 2012 11:00 AM.

"Africans and Afro-Descendants in Portugal: Continuity and Ruptures from Late Medieval To Postcolonial Times" was the previous entry in this blog.

Brazilian Culture in Times of Violence is the next entry in this blog.

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