DOI: 10.1515/shll-2023-2014 ISSN:

Static and dynamic analyses of velar palatalization in Chilean Spanish

Mariška Bolyanatz
  • General Medicine


Some previous sociolinguistic work in Chilean Spanish has claimed that velar palatalization (i.e., production of a word like gente /xente/ ‘people’ as [çen̪.t̪e] or [xjen̪.t̪e]) is a categorical feature of all speakers of this dialect, while other scholars have argued that palatalization of /x/ is conditioned by sociolinguistic factors. The present study comprises a sociophonetic analysis of the production of /x/ across 61 speakers from Santiago, Chile in an effort to acoustically verify one of these two claims. Via the use of static and dynamic analyses of 2,107 tokens of /x/ in diverse phonological environments, this paper demonstrates that among these data, only linguistic factors condition the place of articulation and degree of constriction of /x/. Overall, /x/ palatalization before /e/ appears to be a gradient strengthening phenomenon generalized among the entire sample of Santiago Spanish speakers. Further, I argue that the dynamic analyses are superior both theoretically and methodologically as they allow for more faithful capturing of the variability inherent in the speech signal.

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