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Teoria i metodologia

Phonic variation in Catalan: inventory and assessment of methodology, by Miquel Àngel Pradilla Cardona


Using a geolinguistics-based survey, he interviews a total of 112 informants scattered across 35 towns at the southern limit of the Catalan-speaking territory. In just a few towns, he uses a shorter survey to study sociolinguistic variation.

From the point of view of generative dialectology, he studies vowel assimilation and the opening of the diphthongs [ow] and [o obertaw] in the southern Valencian speech of Alacant and the diphthongization of [e oberta] in Canyada de Bihar, taking into account certain social factors that condition the application of the rules.

Historical sociolinguistics are used as a framework to determine the indexes of loss of intervocalic /d/ in Valencian through the study of a number of texts from La Donsayna (1844-1845) and Valencian lexicographical works from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. L’escala d’implicació (scale of implication) enables him to observe the process of lexical and geographical diffusion of the elision of intervocalic /d/. (4)

His treatment of the elision of final /r/ and the different pronunciations of the fricative and affricate, alveolar and prepalatal phonemes, and the group tl is basically geolinguistic.

The most explicit sociolinguistic approach is to be found in the chapter under review. (5) In this population of 1,100 inhabitants of the Alacant district of Alt Vinalopó, a total of 16 informants of both sexes from a broad age-range were surveyed. The variable phenomena studied are presented according to these rules:

(1) /e oberta/ - <já>
(2) /ó/ - <o oberta> / #(seg)___[-syllabic]1#
(3) /é/ - <e oberta> / #(seg)___[-syllabic]1#
(4) /ó/ - <ó> / #(seg)___([-syll]1 V C0 (CV)#

2.2. MIER, J. (1986). "Estudi sociolingüístic de certs aspectes de la llengua catalana", Treballs de Sociolingüística Catalana 6, pp. 33-112. (6)

This time, the study has an exclusively Labovian focus. (7) The chosen speech community was the Gràcia neighbourhood of Barcelona. The characterization of the 43 informants is such that a real universe is not obtained from the compact sample: the only requirement is that informants are L1 Catalan and the investigator overlooks factors of utmost importance such as the origin of the informant and his or her parents, if they were born elsewhere.

The variables studied by Mier are morphological (dos/dues) and syntactic (haver de/tenir de and the prepositions en/a in expressions describing place). Lastly, he studies the three phonological variables revealing these rules:

(1) /fricativa sorda/ - <africada sorda>
(2) /fricativa sonora/ - <africada sonora>
(3) /dfricativa sonora/ - <africada sorda> / V___V

2.3. MONTOYA, B. (1989). "Estratificació de la variació lingüística a Petrer", in GIMENO, F. and B. MONTOYA Sociolingüística. Valencia: Publicacions de la Universitat de València, pp. 67-95.

In 1985, Brauli Montoya, another member of the escola alacantina, under the guidance of Francesc Gimeno, one of the individuals responsible for the introduction of strict sociolinguistics into Spain, reads his doctoral thesis entitled De sociolingüística històrica: canvi lingüístic en curs i desplaçament de llengües a l’extrem meridional de la llengua catalana. (8) One section of the study describes and explains a linguistic change consisting of the devoicing of the voiced affricative prepalatal:

(1) /africada sonora/ - <africada sorda>

This study rigorously and orthodoxically uses Labovian methodology. It might even be said that, by conforming so closely to this method, he sometimes distorts certain features of Valencian society in relation to the United States. The results for the stylistic factor and "socioeconomic group" social factor are evidence of this.

The speech community was Petrer and the real universe of the sample consisted of Catalan-speaking inhabitants of this town (86 informants-1.25%).

The study’s approach is very comprehensive. Innovations on Colomina (1985) and Mier (1986) include acoustic analysis of variants, probabilistic data processing (until now, this had been frequential) and the experiment of subjective evaluation of informants with regard to the variable under study.

2.4. ALTURO, N. i M. T. TURELL (1990). "Linguistic Change in el Pont de Suert: The study of variation of /fricativa sonora/", Language Variation Change 2, pp. 19-30.

Moving on in the chronological order of this inventory, we will now look at the research of Núria Alturo and Maria Teresa Turell (1990). This latter is another important figure in the introduction of Labovian sociolinguistics, this time in Catalonia.

It is surprising that a relatively short article can offer such an interesting analysis of a linguistic phenomenon of change. In order to understand it, we will need to refer back to the degree thesis of Núria Alturo, Canvi sociolingüístic al Pont de Suert (1987). In this study, the author echoes Labovian hypotheses, although she does not apply them in an orthodox manner. The study is the basis of the subsequent research by Alturo and Turell (1990). Due to the use of these recordings or the design of the group of social factors in the sociological analysis of the speech community, the same methodological instrument needs to be used to collate materials – life history. This interview, at least initially, does not contemplate stylistic diversification, which is a fundamental factor in the analysis of the variable under study.


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