ACCENTS OF ENGLISH 5th semester INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE POLICIES GRADE DISTRIBUTION OFFICE HOUR e-class, links ACCENTS OF ENGLISH: COURSE DESCRIPTION-OBJECTIVES
What makes mood rhyme with food and why foot contains the same vowel as the one that appears in the word strut in some native English speech? Why Chaucers English sounds so different to the English produced in the Shakespearean period, how British English differs from American English and what sound changes are currently in progress in the English native speech? This course seeks to provide answers to the above questions by investigating the way English, as a native tongue, is produced by different people in various geographical areas. More analytically, the students are firstly provided with a comprehensive introduction on why and how accents differ, not only geographically but also in terms of socio-educational background, gender, formality and age. Next, an in-depth
examination is offered on the various native English accents spoken in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the USA, Canada, Australia, West Indies, India, and Africa. The detailed description of the above accents will hopefully enable the students realise the wealth and breadth of the English accents as well as better comprehend the various phonological phenomena. The course is offered through a series of lectures, seminars and ear training sessions in which the students are exposed to authentic English speech of various spoken genres so that they can better comprehend variation in pronunciation. The teaching materials include printed (books, articles) and electronic sources. The students will be evaluated through a final written examination and an optional written paper which can be produced individually or as team project.
What is an accent? An aspect of pronunciation used by native speakers who all belong to the same social grouping, community Speakers of the same accent have the same phonological system (vowels, consonants, stress, rhythm, intonation, prosody) Accent is possessed by EVERY speaker as part of their IDIOLECT
ACCENT: DEFINITION, CHARACTERISTICS ACCENT IS BELONGED BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE SIMILAR/JUST THE SAME: geographical region Social class Biological sex/gender Age group Educational, occupational level
DIFFERENCES btn ACCENT AND DIALECT E.g., [ ro:dz d3:ti] : accent? Bcs of ? o: but: reeads is mucky (=dirty): dialect Dialect: ANY speech variety which is more
than an idiolect but less than a language E.g., * I couldnt see no one : sub-standard variety /dialect E.g., * Peter done it : sub-standard variety Accent vs dialect E.g.,[ju mst i:t t p] RPj mst i:t t p st i:t t st i:t t p] RPj mst i:t t p p] RPj mst i:t t p Northern E what is a traditional (E)dialect? = local accent : Version restricted to a small
geographical area where (E) is spoken as an L1 E.g., SCOTS: Eastern, Central, Southern Scotland, North of Ireland E.g., North, rural West E accents TRADITIONAL DIALECTS NOT found outside the British Isles Are gradually perishing Spoken by children under 10/or by elderly people
relexification: replacement of traditional dialect forms by forms of GE/Standard E REGIONALITY Geographical variation=regionality but: Whether/how much regionality we can recognise from an accent: depends on how familiar we are with the particular accent of the area More homogeneous territories are:
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, America Far West CHARACTERISTICS OF RECEIVED PRONUNCIATION (RP) In England: some speakers do NOT have a local accent, they have a non-localizable accent: RP: upper, upper-middle class In the USA: accent reveals little about geographical origin; Gen Am: standard accent
That has no Eastern, no Southern coloring ISOGLOSS: DEFINITION HETEROGLOSS, ISOGLOSS: A SHARP BOUNDARY LINE FROM ONE ACCENT TO THE OTHER IDENTIFYING A SPECIFIC TERRITORY where an accent is spoken BUT: ISOGLOSSES ARE NOT ALWAYS SHARP : There might be a gradual transition from one formother Isoglosses are difficult to define bcs of : georgaphical
mobility, so Peoples/peoples speech becomes: HETEROGENEOUS ISOGLOSS = HETEROGLOSS HOW DOES REGIONAL VARIATION ARISE IN SPEECH? WAVE THEORY MODEL (Schmidt, 1872)
Linguistic changes spread across the country like waves , meteorological fronts RESULT: network of isoglosses OTHER THEORIES: (TRUDGILL, 1974) innovations are spreading from: citieslarger townssmaller townscountryside (sometimes countryside remains unaffected to speech changes) e.g., h-dropping (LondonNorwichEast AngliaNorfolk(unaffected of h-dropping)
Social class-language/speech Speech stratification-social stratification (morphology, syntax, vocabulary, accent) In England: pronunciation/accent type: plays a predominant role in distinguishing different social classes ; NOT in North America The accents pyramid/triangle Features of the pyramid/triangle
Any regional accent=NOT an upper class accent The more localizable (=not an upper class)the broader an accent is. AS broad accent: 1) the highest degree of regionality 2) lowest social class 3) maximal degree of difference from RP/prestigious accent
Social connotations of accents in England RP: non-localizable accent within England, Wales ALL accents in England have social connotations but We cannot extend this model to Scotland, Ireland In Scotland, Ireland: RP: a foreign E accent
Social connotations of accents in the USA Upper class: North America, different from upper class Virginian, Chicago Regional variation: minor away from East , South So speech differences ARE associated with social class distinctions NATIONAL OPINION POLLS SURVEY England, 1972: which one(s) of the 11 factors would
you say are most important in telling which class a person is? 6. way they spend money 1. the way people speak 7. amount of money 2. where they live they have 3. friends they have 4. Their job
5. school they went to Socio-linguistic variation: in the 70s USA Labov: The social stratification of English (NY City 1966): random population ( r ) (dh)/[d]instead of // Middle Class 25 17 Working Class
13 45 Lower Class 11 56 Labov: socio-economic class: occupation, education, income Definition of socio-economic background Trudgill (1974): locality, housing, fathers
occupation acrolect: standard, prestigious, ideal norm basilect : the idealization of a variety which deviates from the acrolect =maximally broad =lowest social class mesolect : intermediate varieties (Bickerton, 1972, 1973, 1975) Social stratification of speech
It IS important, it DOES constitute a reality 19th c England was very stratified socially Not any more to this extent We should be cautious about making predictions/judgments about a persons accent on the basis of their social
class/regional features : only some statistics Sex-ethnicity Socio-economic class: NOT fixed from birth Sex/gender, ethnic, racial, cultural background: relatively steady as of birth but: The extent to which sex/gender, ethnicity influence our behavior: NOT fixed Is there any law justifying why men speak differently from women??
Why should men & women speak differently? Apart from biological/physiological differences in: pitch, voice quality : NO LAW why men should speak differently to women , Why should different ethnic groups/races speak differently?? Why should different races, ethnicities
speak differently? No biological reason for Blacks to talk differently to Whites, Scots from Welshmen, Jewish NYorkers from Italian NYorkers Yet, there ARE differences in accents bcs of: Sex Ethnicity, race, culture In some Ls men +women: different pronunciation, but in most Ls ( E ) : more such differences in morphology, semantics
Why men and women speak differently? Generally, women achieve high scores, closer to prestigious norms Fischer (1958): New England: Children: a) Village boys: more [n] for -ing than b) Village girls : fewer [n] for -ing Trudgill, 1974:Norwich working class adult men: many [n] Why womens speech tends to be more normative?
Reasons why womens speech is normbased/prestigious Two socially oriented explanations: a) women: status conscious bcs of their less secure position in society Men define their social status thru: Occupation > property > power but: Women defined their social status through their husband Result: women were (are?) socially insecure emphasize their social status thu
material, L Why women project a different speech to men? b) the toughness, roughness of working class culture have masculinity connotations What do these two factors prove? Sex differences in accent
Both factors prove sexism in society expressed thru L/accent What are some other differences in mens +womens speech? Differences btwn men &women in speech In intonation : women use a wider pitch range, more variation, more animation, more pauses in their speech, more tentative intonation, more rises underlying: infererior status (Lakoff,
1975) Sexual minorities? They do have specific features which nowadays tend to be fewer Effeminate stereortypes (Tripp , 1975) in prosody, tempo Speech Differences within sexual minorities Some homosexuals lisp (/s/ or [s dental]] or [s dental] But effeminacy is relative and may be geographically dependent:
E.g., in USA: [bet] instead of: [be]: unmasculine Are dialects/accents ethnically dependent? Ethnic origin +accent Not necessary connection bcs: speakers speech is a result of where they were born, raised, exposed to Many accentual features within an ethnic group may be environmentally dependent
E.g., parents are speech models for kids in early yrs but peer groups accent is MORE influential Differences within/among ethnic minorities Labov: differences btwn Jewish vs Italian NYorkers: e.g., in NYork speech: TRAP  ==[e] In Italian NY:  as a reaction against first generation immigrants who used [a] vowel
e.g., Jewish NYorkers: cloath, norththought :  instead of:  as a reaction against Yiddish immigrants who confused // with /st i:t t p] RPj mst i:t t p / AGE + LANGUAGE/ACCENT CAN PEOPLES SPEECH BE DIFFERENT BECAUSE OF AGE? How? Speech differences and age
Older/younger peoples speech IS physiologically different: changes in vocal tract, vocal folds , in other ways?? different generations speak in a different way :old people: more old fashioned Childrens/adolescents accents change The child forms its own grammar/mental lexicon thru: parents, peers: by hypotheses, predictions NOT through imitation
Age+pronunciation differences Innovations may be made bcs of childrens errors e.g., thin/] or [s dental]n/[fn]; later on,. A whole group of people may say it Labov (1966): young peoples speech triggered a change NURSE [ns][ns] So: are young peoples accents just physiologically different?
Young people and speech innovations Young peoples speech IS different to older groups speech NOT just physiologically But also reflect linguistic innovations which are then adopted by intervening generations Styles, roles vs accents In different situations: we use different L/accent: formal vs casual style: reflect differences in social context
Gradation of formality: 1. Reading aloud word lists 2. Reading texts 3. interviews Style differences may reflect socio-economic Class differences in speech; why? Style differences and accent The formal style of a low class may resemble the casual style of a high class
Style differences: stereotypes What is a stereotype? Types of stereotypes? Social stereotypes Fixed ideas, prejudices people have about other people/races, sexes, cultures, etc E.g., racial, age, profession, gender stereotypes Social psychologists: RP speakers judged by pronunciation were regarded as: more ambitious, intelligent, self-confident , less talkative, less good
natured, less humored (Giles, 1970). What does this stereotype reflect? What are stereotypes tell us? Stereotypes may reflect peoples attitudes/beliefs about rural vs urban life All-but young children-have the ability to raise or lower the speech features of their social class according to the occasion Why?
Why change ones speech features? To make ones speech closer to ones interlocutors to show: solidarity, sympathy, approval convergence vs divergence Is the self-image speakers have about their speech correct? How accurate are speakers about the selfimage of their speech?
Often: erroneous: they think they pronounce differently/more accurately than they actually do (Labov, 1966) Examples: women report using more prestigious speech than they actually do Men report their speech as less prestigious than in reality (Trudgill, 1972) WHY? Why men and women report false
impressions about their speech? Covert prestige of non-standard working class, solidarity Men dare being different People may often have inaccurate perceptions of accents other than those of their locality E.g., to an English person, NY accent is JUST an American accent but a Philadelphian will perceive the difference
Standard accents At a given time, place: correct model, norm of how: 1. one ought to speak /accurate 2. encouraged in the classroom 3. desirable accent as a high status accent Non-standard accent: provincial , low status Are there any legitimate, justified reasons for
this classification? Why classify accents as high prestige vs low prestige? There is an arbitrary attitude towards them by people The phonetic characteristics of standard accents hold true/ are valid at a certain time, place The arbitrary attitude is NOT possessed by the public: inherent value hypothesis of the public vs imposed norm (=prestige of standard accents is a cultural accident)
The imposed norm hypothesis prevails as true: (eg., British undergraduates perceived no aesthetic value of the Standard Athenian vs Cretan accent) Examples of standard English accents RP, Gen Am but in: Scotland, Ireland, West Indies: the upper social class uses local accents as prestigious ones In the USA: only after WW II Gen Am started
setting the standards of a model accent Liberated from fetters of RP How accents differ? 1.historically (report linguistic changes of all language levels) 2. compare two versions of accents synchronically (describe the accents as they are) by 3 means (Trubetzkoy, 1931): phonemic/taxonomic approach A) phonological system (systemic differences)
if phonemic systems are isomorphic B)phonetic realization, C) etymological distribution (=lexical-incidential) Examples of synchronic phonological differences btwn accents a) systemic differences in number/identity of phonemes E.g RP/GenAm /u (: )/ mood)vs // (good) Scottish E: only /u/ (foot, boot, good, mood)
Scottish differs systemically from other English/Am accents RP/England /:/ vs // stalk /st:k/ vs stock /stk/ but in some Am accents, Scottish, Irish, Welsh: only one // Examples of systemic differences btwn accents C) in Scottish, Irish, Welsh E: /x/ lock /lk/ vs /lx/ loch
d) In RP/Gen Am: /st i:t t p] RPj mst i:t t p / vs // difference but in North E: // only put vs putt: [pt] e) neutralisation /p/ vs /b/ in: /#s__ (spit) p If neutralization does not occur in an accent: systemic difference f)Belfast E: don vs dawn: [d:n] b)Examples of phonetic realization differences GOAT words: // RP but:
/o/ old fashioned RP, /o:/Scotland, /st i:t t p] RPj mst i:t t p /, [e] Cockney ] Cockney Absence of /p, t, k/ in similar to RP environments sometimes, such changes appear in some contexts only: Canadian  instead of /a/ only before a: [-voice C] e.g., price [prs] instead of /pras/ Examples of accents differences in phonetic realization
In phonotactic distribution (in the phonetic environments) E.g., /tr__/ acceptable in most Ls/accents but */rt__/ is NOT /r/ distribution In rhotic accents: wide context , in non-rhotic accents: limited distribution - semi-rhotic accents: Jamaican E e.g., [fa:m] farm but [fa:r] far C) Differences btwn accents in lexical
distribution Accents may differ in the phonemes they select for lexical, morpheme representation /different incidence of phonemes in specific wrds: Not productive/predictive, NO rules-even same speaker may vary in their pronunciation of certain wrds eg., either, neither: [ai] [i:( r )] /ai/ /i (: )/, b) tomato:[tmeto]vs [t ma:t] but: /fa:/ *[fe]
c)Lexical, incidential differences btwn accents Popular controversies about right vs wrong pronunciation of specific lexical items reflect speakers psychological tendencies and belong to this category: E.g., Nazi, accomplish, controversy Differences btwn accents in Rhymes,puns
and consequences in intelligibility Phonological identity does not necessarily agree with phonetic identity e.g., loose /lu:s/ may rhyme with /fju:z/ Eye rhymes: rhyme only orthographically word /w3(r)d/ = sword /sw:( r)d/ move /mu:v/ =grove /grv/ Ear rhymes: different morphological constitution e.g., packed =fact, stand=bandit
Rhymes, puns in diachronic changes: no more valid blow, blow thou winter wind, thou are not so unkind (Shakespeare) . Sometimes, we may force a rhyme: sure, deck your lower limbs in pants you look divine as you advance does this rhyme in Br E/RP? In Gen Am advance: /dvns/
Puns in accents In all E accents: e.g., I asked him if hed trussed the turkey he said, yes, with all my life other puns dont rhyme in all accents: E.g., why is a cosh-boy like a journalist? bcs theyre both [editz] vs head-hitters/editors in RP Cockney with h-dropping The richest source of misunderstanding: realizational overlap
a phoneme /A/ in one accent is phonetically identical with a /B/ phoneme in another accent: autistic in Canadian E = identical to artistic =[a tistic] A combination of realizational overlap +lexical difference: impassable [mpa:sbl] vs impossible [mpsbl] -define the meaning of sex (sacs) - its when people have coal delivered in
btwn accents In Northern E /sks/ = /seks/ In such cases accusations may appear that particular accents do not speak clearly e.g., hes a little [h:s]RP : ambiguous btwn hoarse and horse in Scottish E Scots, Englishmen: fairies vs ferries but Americans CANNOT Rhythmical, pace differences btwn accents
In syllabification: self#ish vs shell#fish in North E not at all distinguished where is the difference in RP/Gen Am?? Pace: rate of speech, mean number of syllables per second: urban speech=faster than rural speech BUT: lots of exceptions among specific urban, rural areas, EVERY individual varies their pace according to situation, personal whim
Stress, intonation differences in accents Even in within the SAME georgraphical area: exquisite or exquisite? controversy or contro versy? (UK) inquiry or inquiry In intonation: the nucleus last accented syllable of the IG in most E accents A. it was an extremely good PLAN B. It was an extremely GOOD plan C. It was an EXTREMELY good plan
Intonational differences btwn accents In RP:tendency for the nuckeus on the last lexical item/syllable of a content word BUT : in West Indies: nucleus may come early with no deaccentuation: She thinks I will MARRY her but I dont WANT to marry her (RP) She thinks but I dont want to MARRY her ()West indies) no deaccentuation
Intonational variation across E accents Nuclear tones may vary phonologically Or phonetically (different allotones) E.g., fall-rise realised not in the same way or its meaning may be different in different accents E.g., a rise-fall in different accents does it mean surprise, emotion?? E.g., in Ulster Irish low rises is associated with??
Intonational differences across E accents In Ulster Irish intonation: low-rises have the meaning of a response-affirmative statement In RP: low-rise: usually associated with questions Where do you come from? Ulster Voice quality differences btwn accents Regional, social accents : associated with specific voice
quality setting dependent Voice quality=quasi-permanent speakers features dependent on laryngeal settings Larynx settings: 1. phonation types (creak) (Norwich, working class: creaky voice) 2. pitch ranges 3. loudness voice quality: index to membership (occupational groups: different voices: clergymen, actors, etc )
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