This study uses lexical availability as a way in which to measure the level of an individual's acquisition of the dialect of their spouse. Although lexical availability studies are in abundance, to the author's knowledge, this is one of the few, if not the only, type of study that uses lexical availability to measure dialect contact.

Lexical availability studies attempt to determine the most readily available lexical items in an individual's lexicon. This study implemented standard methodologies in order to determine whether dialect contact was more likely when specific topics were chosen. That is, if the topic in question was considered a masculine topic, would the female spouse utilise the spouse's word and vice versa. Participants completed vocabulary lists on six different topics of interest in addition to noting down their definition of a series of visual images that appeared before them.

The conclusions highlight that, for this study at least, men are more likely to show evidence of dialect contact if the topic under scrutiny is traditionally considered male-related. The same is true for female participants, that is, the probability of their exhibiting dialect interference is greater if the topic is considered female-related. The results also showed that, in general, women are more likely to use their spouse's vocabulary item. The length of time that the couple had been married was not an overly telling factor.



College and Department

Humanities; Spanish and Portuguese



Date Submitted


Document Type





Spanish, Spanish language, lexical availability, dialect contact, accommodation