Carol M. Mathews

University of New Hampshire

Spanish


1994

Mentor: John M. Chaston - Associate Professor of Spanish

The simple and compound perfective tenses in the speech of native Spanish speakers of Latin America and Spain

This sociolinguistic study identifies and analyzes usage norms of the simple and compound perfective tenses in the speech of native Spanish speakers of the Hispanic world currently living in New Hampshire. The linguistic data, which consists of taped speech samples gathered from sentence completion and recombination exercises as well as from free conversation with 20 speakers from various Latin American regions and Spain, is analyzed in conjunction with extra linguistic data gathered from a 90 item sociolinguistic questionnaire completed by each speaker relating to personal history, language habits, and attitudes.

The data shows that the two perfective forms are not neutralized as many previous studies report. Data does, however, show that interchangeability with respect to meaning and communicative value, as well as preference for simple or compound perfectives, is more closely related to individual social, educational, and attitudinal background and communicative intent than mere regional difference. The study documents these correlations computed with the GoldVarb. a statistical variable rule program and provides examples to identify in depth several sociolinguistics factors that govern these usages and preferences of the speakers.

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