Selected Papers from NWAV 41

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 22
  • Publication
    Language Variation and Change in Hawai’i English: KIT, DRESS, and TRAP
    (2013-10-17) Drager, Katie; Kirtley, M. Joelle; Grama, James; Simpson, Sean
    Using an apparent time approach and acoustic phonetic analysis, this study provides the first description of sociolinguistic variation in the realizations of the short-front vowels in Hawaiʻi English. We demonstrate that the realizations of the short-front vowels in Hawaiʻi are conditioned by speaker sex and age, and whether an individual self-identifies as a speaker of Pidgin. We argue that the differences between the vowel realizations of Pidgin and non-Pidgin speakers are likely to be at least partially socially-motivated.
  • Publication
    A Study of Variation in the BATH Vowel among White Speakers of South African English in Five Cities
    (2013-10-17) Mesthrie, Rajend; Chevalier, Alida; Dunne, Timothy
    This paper is part of a larger project covering South African English dialectology via five cities (Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, Johannesburg and Durban) and four ethnicities (Whites, Black, Coloured and Indian), using a single vowel to explore and exemplify regional and ethnic similarities and differences. For reasons of space only the White speakers are analysed in this paper. BATH was chosen as exemplar since it is known to vary in the White communities between an RP-oriented central to back variant, a fully back variant with weak lip rounding and a raised and rounded variant. BATH tokens arising from interviews with 50 speakers were subjected to acoustic analysis via PRAAT and statistical analysis via ANOVA. The results show a diversity of means per city and gender for Whites: in general females show means closer to the older prestige RP norm; while Kimberley the smallest city shows the broadest realisations of BATH (as superback and raised).
  • Publication
    English auxiliary realization and the independence of morphology and phonetics
    (2013-10-17) Mackenzie, Laurel; Yang, Charles
    One of the key questions in the study of language concerns the architecture of the grammar. At issue is the nature of and relationship between the systems that generate linguistic output. The present paper tests the predictions of two competing theories of grammatical architecture for a variable process of h-deletion in connected speech. A usage-based theory of grammar predicts that this phonetic lenition rule will show word-sensitivity, while a modular, feed-forward theory predicts a uniform rate of h-deletion across lexical items. Data from the Switchboard corpus supports the latter prediction.
  • Publication
    Locating Style: Style-shifting to Characterize Community at the Border of Washington, D.C.
    (2013-10-17) Grieser, Jessica
    While a number of sociolinguistic studies have examined intraspeaker variation and how it allows a speaker to negotiate identities related to class, much of the existing work on speakers and their physically-delimited communities has focused on interspeaker variation. The present study examines (th) and (dh)-stopping in two sociolinguistic interviews conducted as part of the Language and Communication in the District of Columbia (LCDC) project (Schilling and Podesva 2008). It examines topic-related style-shifting in two African American speakers, matched for age, from one neighborhood in the District of Columbia known for its high integration and cross-racial acceptance. As Washington, D.C. is a city whose rate of racial segregation is increasing (US Census 2010), I argue that these speakers use this ethnoracially-marked phonological variant in topic-based style shifting as a means of aligning with the race-neutral identity of the community of Takoma. Statistical results, supported by discourse analyses of the content of both speakers' talk, reveal that both speakers vary their rates of the stopped variant to contrast constructed dialogue of Takoma residents and non-Takoma residents and in talk about their relationships with their community in ways which reinforce the indexical links they make between themselves and the reification of Takoma as racially-neutral, integrated space. Many studies have shown that processes understood to be indexical of racial and class identities on an interspeaker level also function on an intraspeaker level (e.g. Rickford and McNair-Knox 1994). This study provides evidence that speakers' indexical relationships to their physical community can be studied at the level of the individual speaker as well.
  • Publication
    Changing Pronunciation but Stable Social Evaluation?
    (2013-10-17) Thøgersen, Jacob; Pharao, Nicolai
    The study of phonetic variation and change in sociolinguistics predominantly focuses on ‘the vernacular’ or at least on speech occurring in spontaneous conversations. While such studies are obviously vital to understand the patterns of change in a speech community, it is also desirable to understand how patterns of variation and change develop in a ‘prestige’ standard language which may function as a model for normative language. In order to study on-going sound change in standard spoken Danish and their socio-linguistic consequences, the paper investigates the production of a series of front vowels in the news broadcasts of the national Danish radio, DR, arguably the model for the ‘best’ language to the majority of speakers of Danish. The study focuses on changes in the production of two vowel variables, the short (a) and long (æ:), by studying their position in the vowel space relative to neighboring vowels as well as relating these results to the realization of (a) and (æ:) as observed in sociolinguistic interviews. These variables are of particular interest because they have been discussed as emblematic of substandard pronunciation for generations, and because the social evaluation of the raised variants may be changing considerably in the present.
  • Publication
    TH-stopping in New York City: Substrate Effect Turned Ethnic Marker?
    (2013-10-17) Newlin-Łukowicz, Luiza
    TH-stopping, reported in the speech of working-class and immigrant groups across the U.S., has long been considered a regional feature of New York City English (NYCE). Its origins in NYCE have been anecdotally attributed to the non-native speech of the first immigrants to the area, such as the Irish, Italians, and Poles (Babbitt 1896, Labov 1966). This paper seeks to provide conceptual and acoustic evidence for substrate origins of TH-stopping in one ethnic community in New York City. I analyze interdental fricatives produced by bilingual Polish Americans who were born in NYC (Generation 2) or have resided there since their early teens (Generation 1). An acoustic analysis of underlying and “substituted” stops reveals that the latter employ the Polish voicing contrast. Stopping rates are also found to vary according to style, generation, and gender. Specifically, TH-stopping is favored in sociolinguistic interviews (relative to reading tasks), and in the speech of first generation men and second generation women. Lastly, speakers’ cultural orientation and use of Polish correlate strongly with stopping rates. Taken together, these results suggest that TH-stopping in the Polish community did originate as a substrate effect, but has since developed into a female-led ethnic marker.
  • Publication
    Ethnicity and Sound Change: African American English in Charleston, SC
    (2013-10-17) Baranowski, Maciej
    This study investigates the degree to which African Americans participate in the sound changes currently in progress in the dialect of Charleston, South Carolina. It is based on a sample of 60 African Americans native to the area, recorded during sociolinguistic interviews; spontaneous speech is supplemented with word list reading and minimal-pair tests. The speech of 20 of the informants has been analyzed acoustically. The paper focuses on two sets of sound changes found earlier in the white population, three vocalic mergers: the cot-caught merger, the pin-pen merger, the beer-bear merger, and the fronting of the back upgliding vowels /uw/ and /ow/, as in two, goose, and so, goat, respectively, and compares the progress of the changes in the two populations. The oldest generation of African American Charlestonians share the distinctive features of the traditional dialect, such as very back /ow/, with the oldest white speakers. The younger generations, however, are not participating in the fronting of the back vowels advanced by white Charlestonians. The two groups are acquiring the cot-caught merger and the pin-pen merger, but African Americans are more conservative in the unmerging of the bear-bear merger found in the traditional Charleston dialect, now largely unmerged in the white population.
  • Publication
    Retreat from the Southern Vowel Shift in Raleigh, NC: Social Factors
    (2013-10-17) Dodsworth, Robin
    New automated methods for large-scale acoustic analysis bring expanded opportunities for investigating social factors influencing variation and change in vowel systems. This paper explores social factors in a 108-speaker subset of a 250-speaker conversational corpus from Raleigh, North Carolina, where the community has shifted in nearly uniform fashion from a Southern vowel system to an aregional standard system. Age, occupation, parents' occupation, sex, and neighborhood are evaluated using linear mixed-effects models, with Z2-Z1 for each of the 5 front vowels as a separate dependent variable. While there are some significant occupational effects, year of birth is the strongest and most consistent social factor, indicating considerable uniformity during the course of change. Adding more speakers from the corpus will facilitate the use of other socioeconomic variables such as education level as well as finer-grained occupation variables, which may provide insight as to the mechanisms by which professional speakers lead the shift.
  • Publication
    The Evolutionary Trajectory of the Icelandic New Passive
    (2013-10-17) Ingason, Anton Karl; Legate, Julie Anne; Yang, Charles
    We examine the diachronics of a New Passive construction in Icelandic and use Yang's model of language learning and change to explain its rapid rise. The New Passive has been spreading at the expense of a Canonical Passive in the recent past 50 years. Applying empirical measurements from the IcePaHC corpus, we show that our model can be used to account for the spread of the New Passive and the rate of change. The model also has implications for the actuation of the change.
  • Publication
    Investigating a gradual metathesis: Phonetic and lexical factors on /s/- aspiration in Andalusian Spanish
    (2013-10-17) Ruch, Hanna
    Metathesis has often been described as abrupt and sporadic and thus as an exception to neogrammarian sound change (e.g. Wang 1969), while others suggested metatheses to be gradual, phonetically based developments (e.g. Blevins & Garrett 1998). Andalusian Spanish provides an opportunity to study this issue. As in many other Spanish varieties, in Andalusian Spanish, syllable final /s/ is usually weakened to [h] or even deleted (pasta ‘paste/pasta’ [ˈpahta]). Traditional dialectological or sociolinguistic studies used to transcribe medial /sp, st, sk/ as pre-aspirated stops [hp, ht, hk] or geminates [pp, tt, kk]. However, post-aspirated stops [ph, th, kh] have recently been reported for Western Andalusian Spanish (Torreira 2007a, 2012; Parrell 2012). Ruch & Harrington (submitted) found that younger Andalusian speakers produced /st/ with an important amount of post-aspiration, while older speakers produced a longer pre-aspiration. In this study 11 Spanish words with medial /st/ followed by different vowels (e.g. pestiño, pestaña, estufa) are analysed in order to investigate whether the emergence of post-aspiration is favored by phonetic factors and/or by lexical frequency. By a semi-automatic procedure voice offset time (VOffT) was measured for pre-aspiration, and voice onset time for post-aspiration in the materials produced by 48 speakers (24 from Seville, Western Andalusia, and 24 from Granada, Eastern Andalusia, both divided into two age groups). In all words analyzed, younger speakers produced a shorter VOffT and a longer VOT than older speakers. The analysis of linguistic factors showed that a following high front vowel /i/ favored a longer VOT in all four speaker groups. /st/-sequences followed by /u/ showed a longer VOT in older, but a shorter VOT in younger speakers, compared to the other two phonological contexts _a and _i. Further analysis indicated an interaction between lexical frequency and phonological context, the influence of the latter being more marked in less frequent words. Our results suggest that metathesis can be the result of a regular and gradual process, which is, in the beginning, favored by phonetic factors. Only as the sound change advances further, lexical factors gain in importance.