Spanish /ll/ --> /ly/ --> /y/

Victoria Neufeldt vneufeldt at MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM
Thu Jul 19 21:42:42 UTC 2001

I might as well throw my two bits in here, although my evidence -- and my
memory of it! -- is about 35 years old.  When I was in Colombia in the mid
sixties, /y/, or something pretty close to it, seemed to be more or less the
standard pron for the double l, at least among educated people in the
interior of the country (I was teaching at the university in Tunja, Boyaca,
and most of my Colombian aquaintances and friends were students and faculty
there -- who came from various parts of the country, however).  But you also
often heard, among the general population in Tunja, something like /zh/ (the
s in 'measure'), in words like 'pollo' (chicken).  I remember that in
particular from restaurants.  There was lots of excellent pollo!

I also remember the 'Joe' pronunciation for 'yo' (the pronoun 'I'), but
don't remember how widespread it was or if it affected only initial-position
/y/ or was more generalized.  I don't think I heard this among the
university crowd.

As for post-vocalic /s/ in final position or before certain stops (/t/ and
?), it was spoken as /h/ in the speech of the Caribbean coast.  In fact, if
my memory is correct, at least some speakers produced something pretty close
to a velar fricative for such /s/'s, as in the word 'Coste[n tilde]os'
(=people from the coast).  The /s/ definitely had not disappeared
altogether.  The coastal varieties also tended to delete intervocalic /d/
and maybe final /d/ too.  I'm thinking of 'cuidado' (be careful) -- but the
first /d/ would not be deleted, probably because that's the stressed
syllable -- and 'verdad' (meaning "that's true").  I think I heard this only
from Costenos.

Victoria Neufeldt
1533 Early Drive
Saskatoon, Sask.
S7H 3K1
Tel: 306-955-8910

On Thursday, July 19, 2001 11:49 AM, Beverly Flanigan wrote:

> I've had several students look at the change of /s/ to /h/ or zero
> (including one nice paper based on the "Cristina" show), and of /r/ (or is
> it /rr/?) to /zh/; and most recently a Chilean student studied
> the deletion
> of intervocalic and final /d/ in Latin American Spanish--as
> usual, based on
> social and stylistic constraints.
> At 09:30 PM 7/17/01 -0700, Rudy Troike wrote:
> >There is a huge literature on emigration to the New World, not to be
> >replicated here, but not only were there regional differences
> within Spain
> >at the time, it must be remembered that settlement continued for several
> >hundred years, and different areas contributed differentially at
> different
> >times and in different places, while the language was meanwhile changing,
> >so that no simple answer is possible. The Caribbean, for example, shows
> >the effects of late continuing immigration from Andalucia, where
> >postvocalic -/s/ was aspirated to -/h/ and then disappeared. The letter
> ><x> was used at the time of the Conquest for a sound like that
> represented
> >by our <sh>, which later shifted to the present velar fricative /x/.
> >Incidentally, in many varieties of Spanish, /y/ is presently affricating,
> >so <yo> (="I") is pronounced like English <Joe>.
> >
> >         Rudy

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