3.3. Real universe of the sample and
the sample itself
create a significant sample, they need to collaborate with sociologists. Despite the
difficulty in determining a significance threshold, there appears to be a certain amount
of improvisation in the majority of the studies. In my opinion, only the following have a
high level of statistical confidence:
doctoral thesis (1989) and the study of linguistic atrophy (2000).
b. the study by Alturo and Turell (1990), although it does not take into account
informants aged under 30;
c. Pradilla's doctoral thesis;
d. the study by Plaza (1995), albeit with certain reservations: with only 20 informants it
is very difficult to significantly deal with all the aspects of the factors under
consideration. Moreover, the study does not take into account informants aged over 60, a
population segment that would surely reveal a greater presence of the vowel variable in
e. Carrera's doctoral thesis (1989). Here, we need to be cautious about the
representativeness of the sample of Lleida (0.05%).
my opinion, the remainder of the studies, both those that explicitly state their purpose
as such and those that do not, should be considered exploratory studies.
3.4. Typology of the extralinguistic factors considered
The factor age
appears in all studies, except for that of Pla (1995). Carrera's research (1999) has
the most relevant interpretative focus; furthermore, it places the limit of the spectrum
at the age of three, an entirely new approach to Labovian methodology.
male sex was not considered in Montoya (1993) because of the topic of the
interview, whereas female sex was not taken into account in Pla's study (1995) due to the
acoustic visualization of the phonic substance.
(genealogical tree) should have been observed in Colomina (1985), Mier (1986), Escrivà
(1993) and Carrera (1999).
factor (Labov's social class) deserves special mention. Montoya (1989), Escrivà
(1993), Carrera (1999) and Montoya (2000) : although the results of the first two studies,
in the eyes of the authors themselves, were not satisfactory, they were evaluated
positively in the latter. Mier (1986) and Alturo and Turell (1990) offered professional
level as an alternative. Pradilla, however, considered professional level, scope
of relations (when dealing with retired individuals, housewives or students) and level
of education separately. The remaining studies did not take these factors into
Lastly, it is
logical that the factor knowledge of the standard language, in the Community of
Valencia was not taken into account during the 1980s. In Pradilla's study (1993), carried
out between 1990 and 1993, however, it is a determining factor. In Carrera's research
(1999), in addition to a general evaluation of this factor, the contrast of the data from
school informants with pre-school informants is one of the defining elements of the
initial hypothesis of her doctoral thesis.
As regards the
planning of the sociolinguistic interview, understood as being a methodological
device allowing segmentation of the stylistic continuum according to the level of
attention of speakers to their own speech, each author has created his or her own version.
The study that best adapts to the contexts of Labov is that of Montoya (1989), and the
results did not match his initial expectations. Escrivà (1993) adapted his along the same
typology of styles but did not obtain sufficiently satisfactory data either. Plaza (1995)
and Pradilla (1993) created individual versions that reduced the continuum but were more
operative. The remaining studies carried out a very basic treatment (Mier and Montoya in
Valls) or did not assess this factor. In the case of Alturo and Turell (1989), Carrera
(1999) and Montoya (2000), this lack is the most obvious shortcoming.
3.5. Subjective evaluation test
The aim of
this is to obtain information about the sociolinguistic conscience of informants as to the
variable under study. It is an extremely important analytical tool that also evaluates the
future direction of change.
The work of
Montoya (1989), Escrivà (1993), Pradilla (1993) and Carrera (1999) have included this
type of experiment. The scope of the tests performed by Carrera (1999) deserves special
mention in this section: a) perception test; b) evaluational test
(linguistic insecurity test); and c) analysis of speaker subjectivity.
3.6. Quantitative analysis
this treatment is fundamental in variationist methodology. Colomina (1985), Mier (1986)
and Escrivà (1993) use very basic frequential statistical programmes.
studies by Montoya (1989, 1993 and 2000) and those of Alturo and Turell (1990) and Carrera
(1999) use the multivariant analysis statistical programme VARBRUL II.S or GOLD.VARB
(Macintosh version). This quantitative treatment does not only provide frequential data on
the linguistic action of informant samples, it also transforms them into
theoretical probabilities, on the basis of the idea that the data on action are a
statistical reflection of language competence. The interpretative aspect is clearly
Pradilla used VARBRUL III in his research (1993). This new version is not subject to
binary variant analysis, so it can provide probabilities for at least nine variants. It
would have been very useful in the work of Escrivà (1993), Montoya (1993) and Plaza
(1995), who present ternary variables.