Social and stylistic variation in the use of phonetic variants of fortalezense Portuguese para

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Abstract

This paper investigates the social variation surrounding the phonetic variants of para ‘to, for, in order to’ in the educated spoken Portuguese of the city of Fortaleza, Brazil. Through two quantitative analyses of a 75-speaker corpus of the educated spoken Portuguese of 1990’s Fortaleza, the evidence presented shows that the reduction of para to p(r)a was increasing during the period in question from already high rates to near-categoricity in the youngest generation represented. A strong effect is also found for linguistic style where unreduced para, to a great extent, occurs in the niche of formal speech. With respect to the variation surrounding the complex onset in p(r)a, other social attributes are key. In particular, women are significantly less likely than men to use non-rhotic pa, which seems to owe to pa’s relative unacceptability in Brazilian society, although no predictor has any particularly strong effect on this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-398
Number of pages26
JournalSociolinguistic Studies
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Brazilian portuguese
  • Language change
  • Para form variation
  • Social variation
  • Stylistic variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language

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