Lightning talk: The heheo: is that even a thing?
A sociolinguistic approach from Loja (Andalusia)
The heheo is the sporadic and lexically conditioned substitution of the /s/ and/or /θ/ sounds by /h/ at the beginning of a word or syllable. It constitutes a phonetic feature of the Andalusian dialect (Spanish).
This sociolinguistic study was conducted through an online survey aimed to a wide range of Spanish speakers from the town of Loja (Andalusia).
Thanks to this survey, it was concluded that: (1) The language attitudes towards the heheo can be easily distinguished depending on whether the speaker is a user of heheo or not; finding that this phenomenon is notably more stigmatized among speakers that do not use this feature. (2) A certain level of linguistic awareness exists among the users of heheo since they are aware of the use of this phonetic feature; although a majority of them do not know the specific term that describes it. (3) A certain level of linguistic identity exists among the users of heheo as they strongly identify their accent with their cultural values and roots.
This study can be of an interest to a diverse population: ranging from academics due to the terminological chaos around this phenomenon, to students of linguistics as this phenomenon actually constitutes a research gap. And of course, actual users of heheo, because of their low level of linguistic awareness concerning this stigmatized phenomenon.
The goal of this study is to provide new information about this research gap in order to contribute to a deeper understanding of the heterogeneity of the Andalusian dialect.