Edited by Sara Fernández Cuenca, Tiffany Judy and Lauren Miller
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 38] 2023
► pp. 106–129
We examine social and linguistic factors, including lexical frequency, that influence variable production of the alveolar rhotic trill in Caracas, Venezuela, and the region surrounding Caguas, Puerto Rico. Two categories of rhotic productions are established: non-innovative trills with two or more occlusions and innovative reduced ones with fewer than two occlusions and possible frication. Phonetic context, rhotic duration, and lexical frequency conditioned trill production in both varieties; mixed-effect logistic regressions showed that shorter duration and high frequency tokens predicted use of innovative variants in both varieties, while low vowels also did so in Caracas. This suggests that Caracas and Caguas are experiencing variation reflective of the early stages of a linguistic change, with linguistic factors conditioning reduced variants.