In Spanish dialectology, the terms ceceo, seseo and distinción are used to describe the opposition between dialects that distinguish the phonemes /θ/ and /s/, and those that have merged the two sounds into either /s/ (seseo) or /θ/ (ceceo). Spanish dialects and varieties are the regional variants of the Spanish language, some of which are quite divergent from each other especially in pronunciation and vocabulary The phoneME project is Sun Microsystems reference implementation of Java virtual machine and associated libraries of Java ME with source licensed under the GNU Dialects that distinguish the two sounds, and thus pronounce the words casa ("house") and caza ("hunt") differently, are described as having distinción, whereas the dialects that lack this distinction and pronounce the two words as homophones are described as having seseo if both words are pronounced with [s] or ceceo if both words are pronounced with [θ]. A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning Seseo is typical of the Latin American and Canarian dialects and some dialects of central Andalusia, whereas distinción is typical of most dialects in Spain, except in much of Andalusia and the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands ( English pronunciation kəˈnæriː ˈaɪləndz Spanish: Islas Canarias, ˈizlas kaˈnarjas are a Spanish Andalusia (Andalucía is an autonomous community of Spain. It is the most populous and the second largest in terms of land area Ceceo is only found in some dialects of Spain, in the southernmost part of Andalusia.
Distinción refers to the differentiated pronunciation of the two phonemes written s and z (or c before e or i) in Spanish:
This pronunciation is the standard on which Spanish orthography was based, and it is universal in Central and Northern parts of Spain, except for some bilingual speakers of Catalan and Basque, according to Hualde (2005). A standard language (also standard dialect, standardized dialect, or standardised dialect) is a particular variety of a Language that The orthography of a language specifies the correct way of using a specific Writing system to write the language Catalan ˈkætəˌlæn ( català kətəˈla or) is a Romance language, the national and official language of Andorra, and a co-official Basque ( native name: euskara) is the Language spoken by the Basque people who inhabit the Pyrenees in North-Central Spain It is also found in some parts of Hispanic America. Thus, in Spanish the choice between the spellings se, si and ce, ci, or za, zo, zu and sa, so, su is determined by pronunciation, unlike English, where it is often done according to etymology or pure orthographic conventions. Etymology is the study of the History of Words &mdash when they entered a language from what source and how their form and meaning have changed over time A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted Standards norms social norms or criteria, often taking the form of
In many other Spanish-speaking regions and countries, however, the phonemic distinction between s and z has been neutralized. These varieties of Spanish are sometimes said to exhibit confusión ("merger") as opposed to distinción. This is a problematic term that can refer to at least four different pronunciation patterns (Dalbor 1980). In this case, their pronunciation may or may not coincide with the English pronunciation.
Ceceo is a phenomenon found in a few dialects of southern Spain in which the historical phonemes s and z are both realized as /θ/. In other words, only the latter sound is used for c (+e or i), z, and s. Ceceo is found primarily in some varieties of Andalusian Spanish, although Hualde reports that there is some evidence of it in parts of Central America. The Andalusian Dialect of Spanish (also called andaluz) is spoken in Andalusia, Ceuta, Melilla, and parts of southern It is a largely rural pronunciation and is often stigmatized. In Linguistics, a register is a subset of a Language used for a particular purpose or in a particular social setting Note that although these dialects make no distinction between the letters s and c/z, they are never pronounced as in English in this case.
Seseo is the merger in the opposite direction: the original phonemes s and z are both pronounced as /s/. Seseo is the most widespread pronunciation among Spanish speakers worldwide. Although a minority pronunciation in Spain, virtually all speakers in Hispanic America are seseantes, and seseo is considered standard in all varieties of Latin American Spanish. Spanish dialects and varieties Latin American Spanish refers to the Spanish spoken in the Americas as opposed to Peninsular Spanish (Spanish spoken in the Iberian Peninsula It does coexist with distinción and ceceo in parts of Spain (e. g. in some areas of Andalusia). Traditional dialect atlases (e. g. , Alvar 1991) show one variant or another used in adjacent regions . In Spain, seseo is considered "more socially acceptable or perhaps 'less substandard' than ceceo" (Dalbor 1980, p. 6).
The following table gives an example of the three pronunciation patterns discussed so far:
|la casa "the house"||la caza "the hunt"|
|distinción||/la ˈkasa/||/la ˈkaθa/|
|ceceo||/la ˈkaθa/||/la ˈkaθa/|
|seseo||/la ˈkasa/||/la ˈkasa/|
Many speakers of ceceo and seseo dialects in Spain show sociolinguistic variation in usage. Sociolinguistics is the study of the effect of any and all aspects of Society, including cultural norms expectations and context on the way Language is used In some cases, this variation may arise when a ceceo or seseo speaker more or less consciously attempts to use distinción in response to sociolinguistic pressure (hypercorrection). Hypercorrection is a Linguistic phenomenon which may take any of the following forms an elaborate prescriptively based correction of common However, as, for instance, in the case of the variation between the standard velar nasal and alveolar pronunciation of the nasal in -ing in English (walking versus walkin), the switching may be entirely unconscious. It is perhaps evidence of the saliency of three-way,ceceo, seseo, distinción variation that inconsistent use has elicited evaluative comments by some traditional Spanish dialectologists. For instance, Dalbor (1980) discussed it as "sporadic or chaotic switching [between /s/ and /θ/] and the use of intermediate sounds impossible to determine with precision" (p. 7). Obaid (1973) proposes the synonymous terms ceseo and seceo to refer to these "mixed" patterns, and notes surprise at a speaker who produced all four possible pronunciations of Zaragoza within the space of a few minutes (p. 63). In fact, sociolinguistic variation is typically highly structured in terms of how often each variant will appear given various social and linguistic independent variables.
A persistent urban legend claims that the prevalence of the sound /θ/ in Spanish can be traced back to a Spanish king who spoke with a lisp, and whose pronunciation spread by prestige borrowing to the rest of the population. An urban legend or urban myth is a form of modern Folklore consisting of stories thought to be factual by those circulating them A lisp ( OE wlisp, stammering is a Speech impediment, historically also known as sigmatism. Sociolinguistics is the study of the effect of any and all aspects of Society, including cultural norms expectations and context on the way Language is used This myth is discredited by scholars for lack of evidence.  Lundeberg (1947) traces the origins of the legend back to a chronicle of López de Ayala stating that Pedro of Castile "lisped a little" ("ceceaba un poco"). Don Pero (or Pedro) López de Ayala (1332 &ndash 1407 was a Castilian Statesman, Historian, Poet, Chronicler Peter (or Pedro; August 30, 1334 &ndash March 23, 1369) sometimes called the Cruel ( el Cruel) or The timeline is totally incorrect, however: Pedro reigned in the 14th century, but the sound /θ/ only began to develop in the 16th century (see below). Moreover, it is clear that a true lisp would not give rise to the systematic distinction between /s/ and /θ/ that characterizes Standard Peninsular pronunciation. A lisp ( OE wlisp, stammering is a Speech impediment, historically also known as sigmatism.
Nevertheless, for speakers of seseo varieties of Spanish, where /θ/ is absent, and for people who are more familiar with seseo pronunciation (e. g. , learners of Spanish in North America), the use of /θ/ by Peninsular speakers is striking, and does indeed give an impression of "lispiness". The misnomer "Castilian lisp" is used occasionally to refer to this aspect of Peninsular pronunciation (in both distinción and ceceo varieties). A misnomer is a term which suggests an interpretation that is known to be untrue
In the 15th century Spanish had developed six sibilant phonemes, more than any current variety of Spanish, and those six phonemes merged differently as they evolved during the 16th and early 17th centuries into the pronunciation of the modern dialects. A sibilant is a type of Fricative or Affricate Consonant, made by directing a jet of air through a narrow channel in the Vocal tract towards The phoneME project is Sun Microsystems reference implementation of Java virtual machine and associated libraries of Java ME with source licensed under the GNU There were three pairs of voiceless versus voiced sibilants: dentoalveolar affricates /t͡s̪/ vs. Voice or voicing is a term used in Phonetics and Phonology to characterize speech sounds, with sounds described as either voiceless Voice or voicing is a term used in Phonetics and Phonology to characterize speech sounds, with sounds described as either voiceless In Linguistics, a dental consonant or dental is a Consonant that is articulated with the tongue against the upper teeth such as /t/ /d/ /n/ and Affricate Consonants begin as stops (most often an alveolar, such as or) but release as a fricative (such as or or occasionally into /d͡z̪/ (spelled c/ç vs. z), apicoalveolar fricatives /s̺/ vs. Fricatives are Consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together /z̺/ (spelled -ss-/s-/-s vs. -s-), and postalveolar fricatives /ʃ/ vs. Postalveolar consonants are Consonants articulated with the tongue near or touching the back of the Alveolar ridge, placing them a bit further back in the /ʒ/ (x vs. j/g). The first step away from that system was to deaffricate the dentoalveolars, resulting in the fricatives /s̪/ and /z̪/ which still contrasted with the apicoalveolar fricatives /s̺/ and /z̺/.
|dentoalveolar affricates > fricatives||voiced||/d͡z̪/ > /z̪/||z|
|voiceless||/t͡s̪/ > /s̪/||c (before e, i) or ç (before a, o, u)|
|apicoalveolar fricatives||voiced||/z̺/||intervocalic s|
|voiceless||/s̺/||s (syllable-initial or -final) or ss (intervocalic)|
|postalveolar fricatives||voiced||/ʒ/||j or g (before e, i)|
The second step in northern and central varieties was to lose the voiceless/voiced distinction in favour of the voiceless element in the pair, in most phonetic contexts (thus the voiced phonemes /z̪/, /z̺/ and /ʒ/ were lost), and the final step was to alter the pronunciation of the three remaining voiceless phonemes so as to enhance their rather subtle acoustic contrasts, an appropriate step due to the high productivity of these phonemes in differentiating frequently used minimal pairs. Voice or voicing is a term used in Phonetics and Phonology to characterize speech sounds, with sounds described as either voiceless In Phonology, minimal pairs are pairs of Words or phrases in a particular Language, which differ in only one phonological element such as a Phone The dentoalveolar one was moved "forward" to interdental /θ̟/, losing its former sibilance in the process (which increased its acoustic distance to the remaining sibilant s), and the prepalatal one was moved "backward" to velar /x/ (allophonically, also further back to uvular [χ]), also losing its former sibilance. All in all resulting in the three-way distinction found in modern Standard Peninsular pronunciation:
|original 6-way contrast||devoicing||modern distinción||orthography|
|/z̪/ – /s̪/||/s̪/||[θ̟]||z or c (before e, i)|
|/z̺/ – /s̺/||/s̺/||[s̺]||s|
|/ʒ/ – /ʃ/||/ʃ/||[x]||j or g|
In many varieties of Andalusian, however, the two sets of alveolar sibilants followed a different phonological evolution. The Andalusian Dialect of Spanish (also called andaluz) is spoken in Andalusia, Ceuta, Melilla, and parts of southern Fernández López suggests that the phonemes corresponding to written s(s) were realized more dentally (perhaps under Mozarabic influence). Mozarabic was a continuum of closely related Romance dialects spoken in Muslim dominated areas of the Iberian Peninsula during the early stages of the The deaffrication of the dentoalveolars (spelled c/ç/z) thus gave rise to new fricatives that were indistinguishable from the existing dentoalveolar fricatives (spelled s(s)). This merger was then followed by loss of voicing, leading to a single phoneme /s/ (corresponding to four historical phonemes). This single merger phoneme came to be pronounced differently in different parts of Andalusia. Andalusia (Andalucía is an autonomous community of Spain. It is the most populous and the second largest in terms of land area In ceceo areas (particularly the southernmost provinces like Cádiz), this phoneme developed into a non-sibilant apico-dental [θ̺], perceptually similar to the interdental /θ̟/ used by Standard Peninsular speakers for orthographic c/z. Cádiz is a province of southern Spain, in the southwestern part of the autonomous community of Andalusia, the southernmost part of continental In seseo areas (particularly in the westernmost provinces like Seville and Huelva), the merger phoneme developed a predorsal alveolar realization [s̻] (like English s), perceptually similar to the apicoalveolar /s̺/ used by Standard Peninsular speakers for orthographic s. Seville ( Spanish: Sevilla) is a province of southern Spain, in the western part of the autonomous community of Andalusia Huelva is a province of southern Spain, in the western part of the autonomous community of Andalusia. This seseo variety was the pronunciation that most impacted Latin America, thanks to the many emigrants leaving for the Americas from Andalusian and Canarian ports, in particular Seville.
|original 6-way contrast||dentoalveolar merger||devoicing||modern ceceo||modern seseo||orthography|
|/z̪/ – /s̪/||/z̪/ – /s̪/||/s̪/||[θ̺]||[s̻]||z, c, s|
|/z̺/ – /s̺/|
|/ʒ/ – /ʃ/||/ʃ/||[x]||[x]||j or g|
Ladino has conserved most of the old phonemes and its study has cast light on the evolution of Spanish.