PHONOLOGICAL VARIATION AND CHANGE IN BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE: THE CASE OF THE LIQUIDS

MARCO ANTONIO DE OLIVEIRA, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This work presents an analysis of the variables (r) and (lh) in the speech community of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The variable (r) (r in syllable final position) presents two aspects. First, there is phonetic variation, where (r) can be realized in seven different phonetic forms. Second, (r) can be variably deleted. The variable (lh) (lh in intervocalic position) admits of three variant forms: a palatal lateral, {(lamda)}, which is the standard pronunciation; an alveolar lateral, {l}, which is rare, and a palatal glide, {y}, which is highly stigmatized and subject to open correction. The purpose of this work is a better understanding, through a quantitative analysis, of the structural and non-structural aspects of the two variables. Concerning the structural aspects of the two variables, it is shown that both of them corroborate the tendency for the elimination of liquid consonants in Brazilian Portuguese. The vocalization of (lh), (lh) (--->) y, is one example of this. In the case of (r), the fact that front articulations are being replaced by articulations in the back of the mouth, mainly {h} and {x}, is another example of this tendency. Besides this I propose, on the basis of phonological and stylistic evidence, that (r) absence in word final position in verbal forms is not the result of a deletion rule. In this way many unclear points of previous analyses are resolved. Concerning the non-structural aspects of the two variables, several points about linguistic variation and change are discussed. First, it is shown that Belo Horizonte is moving towards the establishment of a pattern for (r) and (lh) where there was none before. Second, it is proposed that the role of women in linguistic change by dependent on their role in society. Third, it is proposed that lack of the curvilinear pattern is not an indication of lack of change in progress, i.e., it is not the case that new changes originate only in the central groups. The proposal here is that new changes are pushed further, in urban centers, by those groups whose social characteristics determine the general characteristics of the community as a whole.

Subject Area

Linguistics

Recommended Citation

DE OLIVEIRA, MARCO ANTONIO, "PHONOLOGICAL VARIATION AND CHANGE IN BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE: THE CASE OF THE LIQUIDS" (1983). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8406656.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8406656

Share

COinS