Sociolinguistic Awareness in Galician Bilinguals: Evidence from an Accent Identification Task


The inclusion of European minority languages in public spaces such as education, administration and the media has led to the emergence of a new profile of speakers, “new speakers”, who typically acquire a minority language through education, but vary in terms of their language experience and use. The present study investigated whether a distinctive variety spoken by Galician new speakers (neofalantes) has emerged in the community and whether listeners’ language background influences accent identification abilities and patterns. Galician-Spanish bilingual listeners completed an accent identification task and were asked to comment on factors influencing their decision. Results demonstrated that all listeners could identify Galician-dominant better than Spanish-dominant bilinguals but could not identify neofalantes. Neofalantes were categorised as both Spanish- and Galician-dominant, supporting the idea that neofalantes have a hybrid variety. This finding suggests that listeners have a gradient representation of language background variation, with Galician-like and Spanish-like accents functioning as anchors and the neofalantes’ accent situated somewhere in the middle. Identification accuracy was similar for all listeners but neofalantes showed heightened sensitivity to the Galician-dominant variety, suggesting that evaluation of sociophonetic features depends on the listener’s language and social background. These findings contribute to our understanding of sociolinguistic awareness in bilingual contexts.

Languages 6(1), 53
Gisela Tomé Lourido
Gisela Tomé Lourido
Lecturer in Sociophonetics

Gisela Tomé Lourido is a Lecturer in Sociophonetics in the Linguistics and Phonetics department at the University of Leeds.