Skip to Content

Phondi: Theo Stern on South African English Vowels in the UK

Friday, December 5, 2014
12:00 AM
473 Lorch Hall

South African English vowels as produced by Afrikaans speakers living in London ...

This week in PhonDi, Theo Stern will be workshopping his upcoming phonetic and phonological data collection in the field and subsequent acoustic analysis. Theo is working with a group of Afrikaans L1/South African English L2 speakers in London (UK) and plans to collect data on the English /I/ vowel. This vowel has undergone an allophonic split in South African English (Wells 1982); velar environments condition a schwa whilst in elsewhere environments, [i] is heard (Bekker 2010). This split has been described as due to Afrikaans influence and as more salient in the fluent L2 English of L1 Afrikaans speakers (Watermeyer 1996). During his field work, Theo will be conducting a pilot study by eliciting /?/ tokens in different environments in order to (a) replicate Bekker's (2010) findings; (b) explore the relationship between the phonetic values of the /I/ allophones and Afrikaans native vowels; and (c) to determine if length of time spent outside of South Africa and increased contact with non-South African English speakers who exhibit no /?/ allophony will result in a merger of the /I/ vowel to a non-context-sensitive realization. Theo will also be presenting his motivations for conducting this pilot study by discussing how it relates to future research and broader theoretical questions.

Speaker:
Theo Stern