A Colombian pun

Rudolph C Troike rtroike at U.ARIZONA.EDU
Fri Jul 20 04:44:59 UTC 2001

To add to Alice's reminicences of Costen~o pronunciation, a joke told to
me by one of my Colombian students points both to the perceived loss of -s
by those in the capital, and the general Spanish constraint against a
syllable-final voiceless stop (they had fun with my surname in Mexico):

        A man came in to a store and asked for ten Cokes (diez Cocas) and
the owner gave him a Diet Coke (Diet Coca).

The final -s would have been lost both on <diez> and <Cocas>, making the
singular and plural homophonous.

        The layering of prestige effect in the Peruvian data cited by
Beverly makes this an even better textbook example. It is likely to become
a classic citation in sociolinguistics and historical linguistics.

        When things "softened up" in Cuba some years ago, a friend of mine
reported that Radio Havana imported announcers from Mexico so provide a
public model for pronunciation of the -s. And when the head of schools in
Havana visited Baltimore some time back, she declared that the major
educational problem in Cuba was getting children to write the -s
        Yes, incidentally, it is the /rr/ which becomes fricativized to
/zh/, though in final position it is often devoiced. One would predict
that in certain varieties, /y/ and /rr/ might fall together.


More information about the Ads-l mailing list