Morpheme dislocation in Eastern Andalusian Spanish plurals
This paper examines whether the morpheme of plurality has shifted from word-final to word-initial syllable in Eastern Andalusian Spanish. This would be explained by word-medial vowel lowering caused by vowel harmony, which extends leftwards from the vowel preceding deleted /-s/ up to the stressed vowel. Two experiments are performed: (1) Eastern Andalusian speakers have to decide if each item is singular or plural by listening to the first syllable of paroxytone disyllabic words; (2) Paroxytone disyllabic words are manipulated and the first syllable is taken from a singular word and the second syllable from its plural, and vice versa; the participants have to categorise each item as singular or plural. An analysis of 4503 answers shows that these speakers can identify singular /ˈCV.CV/ words by listening to the first syllable only when the first syllable contains /e/ or /o/ and plural only when the first syllable contains /o/; they can identify singular /ˈCVC.CV/ words when the first syllable contains /o/, /i/ or /u/ and plurals when they contain /e/ or /o/. The morpheme of plurality has not shifted completely to word-initial syllable but it is hypothesised that there is a shift currently underway and that this is more advanced for /e/ and /o/.