Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures



Content Description

1 online resource (iii, ix, 121 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Lotfi Sayahi

Committee Members

Maurice Westmoreland, Lee Bickmore


Bilingualism, Language Contact, Morphology, Phonetics, Syntax, Variation, Puerto Ricans, Sociolinguistics, Spanish language, Languages in contact, Code switching (Linguistics)

Subject Categories

Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Linguistics | Reading and Language


The objective of the current study is to contribute to the larger body of sociophonetic variation research by describing and analyzing Spanish as spoken in a small Puerto Rican community in the US. First, I describe phonological and morphosyntactic features of Spanish as used by four different groups of Puerto Rican informants in Amsterdam, New York based on the duration of time that they have lived on the Island of Puerto Rico. Previous research on Puerto Rican Spanish in the US has focused particularly on final /s/ deletion (Poplack, 1980b, 1980c), final liquid production of /l/ and /ɾ/ (Ramos-Pellicia, 2007), and code switching (Otheguy & Zentella, 2012). The results of these studies show that final /s/ is frequently deleted, final /ɾ/ is commonly lateralized, and that code switching is also a common behavior among bilinguals with high levels of competence in both languages. On the other hand, the results of the current study show that, across the four groups of informants, the production of final /s/ is relatively stable and informants tend to favor aspiration and deletion in word-final contexts and retention in word-internal contexts. Also, these results show that lateralization of final /ɾ/ appears in the speech of all four of these groups. Finally, code switching is more prevalent in the data of speakers who have spent less time in Puerto Rico. Given the nature of the cyclical Puerto Rican migration to the US, this study offers a new approach to the study of Spanish in contact with English that focuses on time of residence in Puerto Rico rather than generation and place of birth.