Lexical variation, or the existence of multiple lexemes that can be used to denote a particular concept, is a phenomenon characteristic of most of the world’s language systems. Often times the source of this variation is difficult to determine, with a variety of inter- and intra-linguistic factors at play. This thesis was conducted with three main goals: 1) to delineate lexical items typical to specific dialects of Spanish and generate country-specific word lists that focus on salient contrasts between the different varieties of the language; 2) to determine whether speakers of particular varieties of Spanish, namely Puerto Rican and Venezuelan Spanish, were able to recognize lexical items that are supposedly characteristic of their dialect in particular; 3) to examine how dialectal variation can affect linguistic processing. The first part of this investigation examined the relative frequency of use of 1,903 dialectal words in the 22 countries contained within Corpus de Referencia del Español Actual, or CREA, (REAL ACADEMIA ESPAÑOLA, 2008). Of these 1,903 words, total of 320 were found to be characteristic of a particular variety of Spanish. The lexical items that demonstrated significant correlation with Puerto Rican and Venezuelan Spanish were then used to develop a picture naming task in which participants were asked to designate whether a particular lexical item constituted an appropriate label for the image depicted. The results from this study suggest that speakers of these two dialects were unable to distinguish words as pertaining to their variety in particular, regardless of the supposed high frequency of use within their dialect. The present study thus theorizes that the processing of these dialectal lexical items is closer to monolingual models rather than bilingual models as bilingual-like behaviors were not observed.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Schanze, Kirsten, "El efecto de la variación dialectal en el procesamiento" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4985.