Internal Evidence for Continuity and Leveling
Variable hierarchies and constraint hierarchies are first studied in baseline reference lects in both regions. Variable hierarchies are the same in both regions and remain the same cross‐regionally and cross‐generationally, providing evidence of continuity. A prediction about constraint hierarchies is made on the basis of dialectal leveling. Constraint hierarchies should undergo changes in ranking of constraints and in reductions of constraint range differences when the regions are compared cross‐generationally. Predictions are confirmed for most of the internal variables, but not for all. Strong evidence for dialect leveling is seen in the predicted widespread reduction of range differences and in rank changes in some variables, especially in the variable related to person‐number inflections and in the constraints related to second‐ and third‐person verbs.
Keywords: internal independent variables, pronoun rate dependent variable, multivariate analysis, logistic regression analysis, cross‐generational analysis, cross‐regional analysis, reference lects, bilingual lects, variable hierarchies, constraint hierarchies, rank changes, reduction of range differences, second‐person verbs, third‐person verbs, dialectal leveling, continuity with Latin American Spanish, evidence for continuity, evidence for dialectal leveling
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