Academic journal article Southwest Journal of Linguistics

Road to Kenny: Migration and Affricate /C/

Academic journal article Southwest Journal of Linguistics

Road to Kenny: Migration and Affricate /C/

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. Mexicans have migrated to Kennett Square, Pennsylvania to work on the mushroom farms since 1965. The paper draws on two different speaking data samples collected on the farms: one between summer 1995 and December 1996, and the other from summer 2002. A quantitative analysis of these two Spanish speech samples reveals a process of fricativization of the affricate /c/ in Kennett Square. This article uses the Decision Tree of Labov (2001a) and migration studies in the analysis and proposes that the fricativization of /c/ may serve to distinguish speakers according to their occupation in the local mushroom production.

1. INTRODUCTION. Mexicans have migrated to the United States for generations. Current migrants' accounts relate their great grandfathers' experiences working in California, Utah, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico. In the early twentieth century legal migration to the United States was promoted (1). Contractors traveled to major cities in Mexico to hire seasonal workers for periods of ninety days often providing them food and shelter (Basok 2000, Adler and Gielen 2003). After the end of the Bracero Program in the mid sixties, Mexican migration continued illegally (Garcia 2002, Adler and Gielen 2003). The first wave of Mexicans to Pennsylvania originated from small towns in the state of Guanajuato in the mid sixties and early seventies (Garcfa and Gonzalez 1995). One of the informants reported: El anciano que fue uno de los primeros en venir aca, en los setentas, esta jubilado y vive en su rancheria, La Ordena, disfrutando de su pension. 'An old man who was one of the first to come here, in the seventies, is now retired and currently lives in his home town, La Ordena, enjoying his pension.' Until 1999, waves of migration were cyclic with the workers alternating long periods of time working on the farms with short periods of time living in Mexico with their families. As Massey et al (1994) suggests, over time and with extensive movement back and forth, a culture of migration emerged.

Migration and the speech resulted from migratory movements have been explored in lexical borrowing, codeswitching (Mendieta 1999) or bilingualism (Grosjean 1982, Etxebarria Ar6stegui 1992) to mention some approaches. This paper aims to analyze a possible change in speakers' speech due to geographical (migration) and social movement. The focus relies on the realization of a phoneme usually uttered in Standard Spanish as an affricate [c]. The literature regarding the realizations of the affricate [c], however, recognizes the coexistence in standard Spanish of an affricate [c] allophone with a voiceless palatal fricative [s] (Barrutia and Schwegler 1994, Dalbor 1997, Hammond 2001). An example of an affricate allophone is the [c] sound in words like [muco] mucho 'a lot'and [lece] leche 'milk'; the fricative allophone would be [s] [muso] or [lese]. Some Spanish dialects have registered these two allophones, an affricate [c] allophone with a voiceless palatal fricative [s]; Lipski (1994) finds that the affricate /c/ phoneme rarely loses its occlusive feature in Argentina, Venezuela and Peru, whereas a fricative pronunciation is more frequently heard in Puerto Rico (Quilis and Vaquero 1973, Ltipez Morales 1992) and Panama (Cedergren 1973, 1987; Brown 1976; Lipski 1994).

In fact, Mexican Spanish has always included the possibility of the palatal fricative realization in northern states of the country like Chihuahua, Sonora, Baja California and Nuevo Leon (Brown 1989, Alessi Molina and Torres Diaz 1994, Moreno de Alba 1994). People who come from the northern states in Mexico, especially from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon utter the fricative allophone as a geographical marker (Serrano 2000). A few studies, like Brown (1989) and Alessi Molina and Torres Diaz (1994) have described the speech of regions where the fricative realization of /c/ forms part of the inventory of allophones but the realization of allophonic variation in the affricate [c], the linguistic variable at hand here, is not usually included in linguistic studies of Mexican Spanish. …

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