Szakay, Anita

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Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    A Study of Rhythm in London: Is Syllable-timing a Feature of Multicultural London English?
    (2011-01-01) Torgersen, Eivind; Szakay, Anita
    Recent work on London English has found innovation in inner city areas, most likely as the outcome of dialect contact. These innovations are shared by speakers of different ethnic backgrounds, and have been identified as features of Multicultural London English (MLE). This study examines whether syllable timing is a feature of MLE, as work on rhythm shows that dialect and language contact may lead to varieties of English becoming more syllable-timed. We hypothesized that MLE speakers would also show suprasegmental innovations, having more syllable-timed rhythm than what has been reported for British English. Narratives as told by teenagers of different ethnic backgrounds, elderly speakers born between 1920 and 1935 and speakers born between 1874 and 1895 were extracted from interviews. The speech was segmented into consonantal and vocalic elements by forced phonemic alignment. Measurements of vocalic nPVI, as an indicator of rhythmic patterns, were calculated. Overall, the inner-London speakers were more syllable-timed than what has been found for British English. The results revealed that young speakers of non-Anglo background were significantly more syllable-timed than young Anglo speakers. The relatively low nPVI for all inner-London speaker groups may indicate the capital’s status as a centre of linguistic innovation and long-standing migration. The results of the present study combined with work on other varieties reinforces the idea that the tendency for English to become more syllable-timed is a global phenomenon fuelled by language and dialect contact.
  • Publication
    Sociophonetic Markers Facilitate Translation Priming: Maori English GOAT – A Different Kind of Animal
    (2012-09-01) Szakay, Anita; Babel, Molly; King, Jeanette
    This study investigates whether socio-indexical labelling operates under a shared or a separate system across the two languages of a bilingual talker-listener. We argue for a shared system, showing that L1 indexical labels interact with L2 indexical labels during speech perception. In particular, we investigate the effect of ethnic dialect on bilingual speech processing by using a novel cross-language/cross-dialect auditory priming paradigm in the New Zealand context, where Maori (TR) and English are both official languages, and English has two main ethnic varieties: Maori English (ME) and Pakeha English (PE). Fifty-four English-Maori bilinguals participated in a short-term auditory primed lexical decision task, where bilingual prime and target pairs were made up of English-to-Maori and Maori-to-English translation equivalents. Half of the English words were pronounced by a PE speaker, and half by a ME speaker, creating four test conditions: TR-ME, TR-PE, ME-TR, PE-TR. The results reveal a significantly larger priming effect between ME and TR than between PE and TR. We argue for a direct activation link between the "Maori" indexical labels within the English language set of representations and the "Maori" indexical labels within the Maori language set of representations. The results suggest that socio-indexical labels can facilitate translation priming. In particular, recent, more innovative variants appear to be processed as special in short-term memory.