Abstract: Sonia Barnes

Awareness and salience in language contact: the case of Asturian Spanish
Sonia Barnes
Marquette University

Awareness of a sociolinguistic variable can arise in different ways, including through the salience of a particular form, the existence of sociolinguistic stereotypes, and metalinguistic commentary. In this talk, I explore the role that salience and the speakers’ awareness of particular sociolinguistic variables have on the linguistic outcomes of language contact. Items that are cognitively or socially salient have been found to be more likely to resist language change, and are more prone to be employed by speakers to fulfill different indexical and stylistic purposes. In order to illustrate this, I present three analyses of sociolinguistic variables that characterize Asturian Spanish, a contact variety spoken in the urban areas of the Northwestern Spanish region of Asturias. I show that sociolinguistic salience affects the indexical fields of these contact variants, allowing some features to become markers of Asturian identity and social status, and to be employed as stance-marking units based on the speakers’ interactional needs.