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The “vivid sociolinguistic profiling” of modern RP: analyzing responses to dialect in discourse Anne Fabricius Roskilde University Denmark Methods XII,

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Presentation on theme: "The “vivid sociolinguistic profiling” of modern RP: analyzing responses to dialect in discourse Anne Fabricius Roskilde University Denmark Methods XII,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The “vivid sociolinguistic profiling” of modern RP: analyzing responses to dialect in discourse Anne Fabricius Roskilde University Denmark Methods XII, Moncton, August 2005

2 Structure of the paper Introduction: RP and language attitudes Methods: stimuli and questionnaire Evaluation Data Nuances in the sociolinguistic profile RP as “situated” norm

3 Introduction: Received Pronunciation and Language attitudes Aims to explore the sociolinguistic place of construct RPs through evaluative responses to various native RP and non/near-RP discourse samples Construct RPs constituted in more or less formalised notions of ’standard speech’ or ’elite speech’; stereotypes about speakers, speech styles and situations

4 Introduction: Received Pronunciation and Language attitudes Interplay of local understandings and attitudes and attitudes to ’standardness’ (York as atypical northern city?) The changing sociolinguistic balance: construct RPs change more slowly than native RPs (e.g. /hw-/)

5 Methods: Dialect in Discourse Study conducted in York, England in 2002 (6 voices, male/female, 2 modern RP, 4 non-trad-RP: 3 voices presented here), 161 respondees from 3 schools, pupils aged average 14. Inspired by Garrett, Coupland and Williams 2003 (Wales study), using spontaneous speech samples Quantitative (scales) and qualitative data: (Please write down your first impressions of this person) What sort of job do you think this person would have? Where do you think this person comes from?

6 Why use spontaneous stimuli? Aiming for “ecological validity”: better accent and speech style authenticity, lessening possible attention to phonetic variation by repetition, tending more towards mimicking a real-life process Must be constrained by e.g. purpose of interaction (school memories, stories) and collection context Need for a range of data collection and analysis methods which can bring out the nuances of the evaluations elicited

7 Evaluations: Dynamism versus Superiority Dynamism: divides into competence and sociability aspects: Competence: efficient, independent, cool Sociability: interesting, straightforward (/direct), enthusiastic Superiority: divides into competence and sociability aspects: Competence: intelligent, ambitious, fluent, well- educated Sociability: friendly, pleasant, trustworthy (Kristiansen’s Two standards of Danish)

8 Results 1: H (89% in first 3)

9 Results 2: T (90% in first 3)

10 Results 3: N (91% in first 3)

11 Results 4: Where from H?

12 Results 5: Where from T?

13 Results 6: Where from N?

14 Results 7: Quantitative scales data: T vs H + N

15 In summary… H and N and T show similar job designation profiles, H and N similar location designations; T different on location designations Quantitative evaluative judgments fluctuate especially within Dynamism; H and N as voices of dynamism? (cf Upton) Dialect and discourse intertwined here: more stimulus voices and other discourse types would help clarify their distinctive roles Question:The gender distinction H vs T: is it generalisable?

16 RP and social class M. Savage 2000 (E.P. Thompson 1963). Historical shift during C20th: Vertical class distinctions and working class predominance-> meritocratic middle class careers as definitive of Britishness. “fuzziness of class boundaries” Rise of Estuary English, regionalising // Retreat of traditional RP as resonant of the old (vertical social) order (affects T’s evaluations especially?)

17 Sociolinguistic consequences: RP as situated norm Trudgill (2002: 176): the RP accent is no longer the necessary passport to employment of certain sorts that it once was… in many sections of British society, some of the strongest sanctions are exercised against people who are perceived as being ‘posh’ and ‘snobbish’.

18 New elites? Coupland (2000: 632-3): Traditional social structures of class, sex and age-based distinction are weakening…ideologies of SE [Standard English] may lose some of their traditional sites of reproduction and new sociolinguistic styles may come to the fore. If so, we will see new patterns of standardisation, new elites and new forms of stigmatisation.

19 New stigmatisations? Charles Moore, Spectator, 11 December 2004. George Galloway… said that we were ‘sniggering public schoolboys’, and nobody reprimanded him … what is interesting is how anti-toff class prejudice is allowed free rein whereas racial or religious or sexual prejudice is often a criminal offence. (emphasis added)

20 One example of a situated (and outdated) norm: In the context of talking about morn versus mourn “that’s the thing, it is, singing in a choir is a very standardising thing and and in the case of X (college) it’s standardising to some vague notion of RP of fifty years ago I think, which is no doubt what our world service listeners want to hear, who knows (Male speaker recorded in Cambridge, UK in 1997)

21 Conclusions Present study shows fruitfulness of using spontaneous stimuli: unique performances which can be mined for phonetic detail, inferences, discourse strategies Corresponding complications to such an approach; what triggers a reaction? Can we systematically talk about a role for dialect/accent and a role for discourse? The ’gestalt’ and ’lasting impressions’ (focus- group interviews)

22 Appendices Sound files and transcripts

23 H’s transcript It was very it is or was certainly a very very friendly sort of school no sort of hierarchy very (0.7) laid back because everyone did a lot of different things there was very much of an ethos of letting everybody do what they were good at (.) um while at the same time having very high quality teaching and of course very high quality musical education as well because of the whole background so everybody played an instrument I've played in an orchestra since I was seven eight (0.7) and and all sorts of things because again there was a lot of things to do after school so we were always at school until six, six thirty every night I loved it absolutely loved it (.) and my first teacher was was called Miss Perfect she was very a very gifted teacher and very sympathetic while at the same time being (breath) you didn't mess around

24 T’s transcript There's a infants school which was along one very long corridor (.) with a dining hall at the end and classrooms off it and I don't remember a whole lot about that and (breath) which was sort of separated by a magic white line from junior school (.) the magic white line was the line you weren't allowed to go over in play time (.) and the junior school had a big hall in the middle and I think about eight classrooms clustered around the sides and (1.0) and there used to be fir trees round it but then they chopped them all down cause they were going to fall down but they've probably planted new ones by now and and I don't know it's about half a mile from where we used to live, so I used to walk to school (.) There's one there's a very good history teacher and a very good English teacher which is two things I've always been interested in since and I did a lot of music so probably I haven't they've had quite a big influence on what I was interested in.

25 N’s transcript Um it had a big central hall and all the other classrooms sort of came off around it and the central hall used to be used for PE and the meals as well the kitchen was just off to the side and then all the other classrooms sort of adjoined onto the big hall with big fields out the back and a swimming pool we were really lucky to have a swimming pool (1.2) I remember the headmaster who for most of my time there who was really really nice my parents loved him and he was the one who said why don't I try for that school I went to afterwards cause he told me to try for this scholarship and so I did he used to he was really really nice and another one of the teachers was one of my mum's friends so we used to see her a lot a well so those are the people I really remember


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