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I speak like the guys on TV: Palatalization and the urbanization of Uruguayan Portuguese

  • Ana Maria Carvalho (a1)

This article investigates the sociolinguistic distribution of palatalization in Uruguayan Portuguese (UP), based on data collected in a bilingual town on the Uruguayan–Brazilian border. It shows that palatalization of /di/ /ti/ has entered UP as a result of recent urbanization, which has allowed greater reception of and sensitivity to urban Brazilian Portuguese (BP). Following the tradition of variationist studies, this study identifies internal and external variables that determine the distribution of palatalization in the community, and argues that the groups that acquire BP do so as a reflection of an urban orientation, different from the border cultural and linguistic tradition. Qualitative data support the idea that this process is indirectly accelerated by exposure to Brazilian television, which provides a linguistic model for the groups that seek one. This is a new interpretation, in that previous studies have claimed that UP, as an oral minority language, is monostylistic dialect with no linguistic model.Preliminary versions of this paper were presented at the 2001 American Association of Applied Linguistics and 2002 NWAVE meetings.

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