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Oxford Graduate Seminar, 12th November 2007 Phonological innovation in London teenage speech: ethnicity as the driver of change in a metropolis Paul Kerswill†,

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Presentation on theme: "Oxford Graduate Seminar, 12th November 2007 Phonological innovation in London teenage speech: ethnicity as the driver of change in a metropolis Paul Kerswill†,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Oxford Graduate Seminar, 12th November Phonological innovation in London teenage speech: ethnicity as the driver of change in a metropolis Paul Kerswill†, Eivind Torgersen† and Sue Fox‡ †Lancaster University, ‡Queen Mary, University of London

2 Or … “New contact varieties as the source of innovation in a highly levelled, and still levelling, dialect area”

3 Innovation, levelling and diffusion
These are three basic mechanisms of change. Innovation: not predicated on contact – endogenous in the sense of ‘generated from within the speech community’ Levelling: “… dialect levelling and by extension accent levelling, a process whereby differences between regional varieties are reduced, features which make varieties distinctive disappear, and new features emerge and are adopted by speakers over a wide geographical area” (Williams & Kerswill, 1999:149) by definition non-directional predicated on face-to-face contact (but not always) Diffusion the directional spread of a feature similarly predicated on face-to-face contact (again not always)

4 Interaction of ‘internal’ and ‘external’ factors
Neogrammarian change: slow, subconscious, in principle governed by internal factors Labov’s Principles of Vowel Shifting are intended as universal, and govern Neogrammarian change for vowels: Principle I In chain shifts, long vowels rise. Principle II In chain shifts, short vowels fall. Principle IIa In chain shifts, the nuclei of upgliding diphthongs fall. Principle III In chain shifts, back vowels move to the front. (Labov, 1994:116)

5 Drift We’ll look at an example of a set of Neogrammarian vowel shifts
Such shifts seem to be susceptible to drift-like behaviour a shift process, once started, can continue in a new speech community even after separation What effect do non-internal (contact and non-linguistic) factors have on drift-like changes?

6 Finding a testing ground for the interaction of internal principles and external factors
Insight from dialectology: a metropolis is the supposed origin of change A Western metropolis is usually the location with most immigration and in-migration in its region Influence of non-internal effects likely to be high due to (i) language contact and (ii) complex intergroup relations Related to this is the likelihood of finding new L1 varieties of the language following contact with L2 varieties through individual bilingualism. These new varieties are contact dialects Possibility of innovation resulting from contact with these varieties

7 Dialect levelling (“supralocalisation”) in the south-east of England
Reports of widespread homogenisation in the south-east (Kerswill & Williams 2000; Britain 2002) New features are assumed to originate in London, based on gravity model (diffusion) cf Wells (1982: 302): ‘its working-class accent is today the most influential source of phonological innovation in England and perhaps in the whole English-speaking world.’ Hypothesis: the new, ‘levelled’ features spread out from London

8 A problem with the gravity model
the gravity model assumes spread by diffusion, not levelling if we observe gradually increasing homogenisation with no directionality, then this can’t be the result of diffusion (the partial exception would be where diffusion has run its course, leading to complete replacement – but directionality should be visible while the diffusion is ongoing)

9 London and three “South-east periphery” towns

10 Regional dialect levelling (“supralocalisation”) in the south-east of England
Reduced amount of H-dropping (’ouse) Increased amount of TH-fronting (fing, bruvver) GOAT-fronting to [] “RP” variant in MOUTH [] Low-back onset of PRICE [], lowered/unrounded from [ɪ], [ɔɪ] or [ɒɪ] Raising of onset of FACE to [ɛ̝̝ɪ] Fronting of GOOSE to [] Fronting of FOOT to [] or [] Lowering and backing of TRAP to [] Backing of STRUT to []

11 We will focus on … Reduced amount of H-dropping (’ouse)
Increased amount of TH-fronting (fing) GOAT-fronting to [] “RP” variant in MOUTH [] Low-back onset of PRICE [], lowered/unrounded from [ɪ], [ɔɪ] or [ɒɪ] Raising of onset of FACE to [ɛ̝̝ɪ] Fronting of GOOSE to [] Fronting of FOOT to [] or [] Lowering and backing of TRAP to [] Backing of STRUT to []

12 … four “diphthong-shift” vowels
Reduced amount of H-dropping (’ouse) Increased amount of TH-fronting (fing) GOAT-fronting to [] “RP” variant in MOUTH [] Low-back onset of PRICE [], lowered/unrounded from [ɪ], [ɔɪ] or [ɒɪ] Raising of onset of FACE to [ɛ̝̝ɪ] Fronting of GOOSE to [] Fronting of FOOT to [] or [] Lowering and backing of TRAP to [] Backing of STRUT to []

13 … and two monophthongs undergoing change
Reduced amount of H-dropping (’ouse) Increased amount of TH-fronting (fing) GOAT-fronting to [] “RP” variant in MOUTH [] Low-back onset of PRICE [], lowered/unrounded from [ɪ], [ɔɪ] or [ɒɪ] Raising of onset of FACE to [ɛ̝̝ɪ] Fronting of GOOSE to [] Fronting of FOOT to [] or [] Lowering and backing of TRAP to [] Backing of STRUT to []

14 Diphthong shift (Wells 1982)
But note that /u:/, or GOOSE, now falls outside the Diphthong Shift set … … and this is allowed for by Wells

15 Drift in the diphthongs of early New Zealand English (Trudgill 2004)
NZE has Cockney-like diphthongs today, but with more extreme shifts in MOUTH Trudgill finds evidence that diphthong shift got greater during the 19th century, and concludes that this is due to drift. Britain (2005) argues that the evidence for continued shifting is only likely for FACE Either way, diphthong shift clearly thrived and then stabilised, in the absence of the strong social sanctions against it in south-east England at the same time Research question: what is happening to drift in London today, a typologically very similar variety of English, but where the sociolinguistic set-up is extremely different from early and current NZE?

16 Reduced H-dropping in the South-east periphery and a northern English city

17 Changes in MOUTH and PRICE

18 Survey of English Dialects (SED) informants, 1950-60s
Percentage use of variants of /au/ (MOUTH), Reading Working Class, interview style (1995) (from Kerswill & Williams 2005).    [a]   Survey of English Dialects (SED) informants, s Elderly age (2f, 2m) 53.5 38.1 3.3 4.1 0.7 Girls age 14 (n=8) 2.3 8.0 90.4 Boys age 14 (n=8) 3.8 3.2 5.7 87.1

19 Percentage use of variants of /aU/ (MOUTH), Milton Keynes Working Class, interview style (1995)
[EI] [E] [a] [QU] [aU] SED informants, s Elderly age (2f, 2m) 63.2 25.6 9.8 1.2 Girls age 14 (n=8) 5.9 4.7 88.8 Boys age 14 (n=8) 12.3 3.8 83.1

20 Percentage use of variants of /ai/ (PRICE), Reading Working Class, interview style
      Elderly age (2f, 2m) 12.4 47.8 21.8 1.7 15.7 Girls age 14/15 (n=8) 2.8 21.2 45.1 21.1 4.3 5.1 Boys age 14/15 (n=8) 0.6 19.1 63.7 13.7 2.7

21 Percentage use of variants of (a) (PRICE), Milton Keynes Working Class, interview style (1995)
[a=I] [A+I] [AI] [I] [+I] [I] Elderly age (2f, 2m) 24.4 56.6 15.3 3.4 Girls age 14/15 (n=8) 25.4 44.6 29.2 0.5 Boys age 14/15 (n=8) 1.0 38.0 60.0

22 MOUTH and PRICE in the South-east
MOUTH: simultaneous replacement of various regional forms through the south-east, both rural and urban, by [aʊ] very rare in south-eastern vernacular varieties very similar to traditional Received Pronunciation not a phonetically levelled form, i.e. not arrived at as either the survival of a majority form or the appearance of a phonetically intermediate form PRICE: the rise of [ɑɪ], which is not RP, but is a phonetically intermediate variant good candidate for phonetic levelling – and also geographical (non-directional) dialect levelling

23 GOAT: Male born 1915, Reading (r. 1996).

24 GOAT: Male born 1981, Reading (r. 1996).

25 Phonological/phonetic change in London
the fate of h-dropping MOUTH PRICE GOAT FACE

26 Research question: Is this city the origin of all these changes?

27 Are these the innovators?
Roll Deep Crew (East London hip-hop crew)

28 Linguistic innovators: the English of adolescents in London (2004–7)
Multicultural London English: the emergence, acquisition and diffusion of a new variety (2007–10) Investigators: Paul Kerswill (Lancaster University) Jenny Cheshire (Queen Mary, University of London) Research Associates: Sue Fox, Arfaan Khan, (Queen Mary, University of London) Eivind Torgersen (Lancaster University) E· S· R· C ECONOMIC & S O C I A L RESEARCH C O U N C I L Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council

29 Research question 1: innovation
What evidence is there that phonological and grammatical innovations start in London and spread out from there?

30 Research question 2: multilingualism
One-third of London’s primary school children in 2001 had a first language other than English. Does this degree of multilingualism have any long-term impact on ‘mainstream’ English? Reinterpreted in terms of the current spoken English of the capital, this becomes: Does the use of a putative Multicultural London English by adolescents lead to language change?

31 Research question 3: the innovators
Which types of Londoners, socially (including ethnically) defined, innovate linguistically?

32 Research question 4: inner vs. outer London as sources of change
Inner and outer London boroughs differ in: ethnic profile proportion of recent migrants non-first language English speakers socio-economic class Is there evidence that different linguistic features, including innovations, are characteristic of inner London vs. outer London?

33 Research question 5: social factors
What social mechanisms facilitate (1) innovation and (2) diffusion? social network ethnicity gender identity Operationalisation of these social factors

34 Havering Hackney



37 Languages spoken Hackney Turkish 10.61% Yoruba 6.79%
Bengali + Sylheti 5.41% Havering Panjabi 0.36% Hindi/Urdu 0.32% Gujarati 0.09%

38 Population Hackney: 208,365 Havering: 224,248

39 Project design 16 elderly Londoners 105 17 year old Londoners
from inner London (Hackney) and outer London (Havering) female, male “Anglo” and “non-Anglo” Free interviews in pairs 1.4m words transcribed orthographically, stored in a database time-aligned at turn level

40 H-dropping Percent ‘dropped’ H in lexical words (interviews) MK &
Reading elderly (1995) MK 14 year olds (1995) Reading Hackney 17 year olds (2005) Havering 92% 14% 35% 9% 32% 1. Correspondence between MK and Hackney is very surprising, because MK is highly mobile with a very ‘levelled’ accent, while Hackney is not mobile with an accent with many innovations. 2. Correspondence between Reading and Havering less surprising: both are areas with fairly mobile populations and somewhat levelled accents

41 Monophthongs in Hackney – anticlockwise chain shift
Elderly speakers (circles), Young speakers (diamonds)

42 Monophthongs: groups of speakers in Hackney
Non-Anglos Anglos with non-Anglo network Anglos with Anglo network FOOT is relatively back compared to Havering – see next slide! Elderly speakers (circles), non-Anglo speakers (inverted triangles), Anglo speakers with non-Anglo networks (triangles), Anglo speakers with Anglo networks (squares)

43 Monophthongs in Hackney and Havering: the extremes
Non-Anglo Youth, Hackney Anglo Youth, Havering FOOT GOOSE FOOT GOOSE æ æ

44 Working-class white Londoner born 1938 (Hackney)

45 Young speakers in Hackney
Laura, Anglo Alan, Kuwait Grace, Nigeria Jack, Anglo

46 Young Havering Anglo speakers
Donna Ian

47 Innovation, diffusion and levelling revisited
Loss of H-dropping London matches London periphery in loss of H-dropping unexpected match between inner-city non-Anglos and high-contact south-east periphery Anglos in Milton Keynes (a New Town) same feature – different social embedding in south-east periphery, high mobility may lead to susceptibility to overt norms (h-fulness) in London, may be a result of high contact with L2 varieties of English (which may be h-ful)

48 Advanced in London, matching periphery
Fronting of GOOSE Advanced in London, matching periphery GOOSE in London is rarely diphthongal in our data, so falls outside Diphthong Shift unexpectedly, most advanced among non-Anglo Londoners and Anglos with non-Anglo networks as with loss of H-dropping, the same feature has different social embedding in inner London and south-east periphery extreme fronting among inner city non-Anglos is innovatory levelling in periphery Fronting of FOOT Less advanced in London than in periphery in London, more advanced in Havering (outer city), in line with the Anglos in the periphery lack of fronting in inner city is conservative, matching Caribbean Englishes

49 Instead, (2) GOAT-monophthongisation
(1) GOAT-fronting Prevalent among south-east periphery speakers – levelling (shared innovation). Agnostic as to Diphthong Shift reversal Absent in most inner-London speakers of both sexes and all ethnicities, present in outer-city girls Instead, (2) GOAT-monophthongisation highly correlated with ethnicity (Afro-Caribbean, Black African) and multi-ethnic network (for Anglos) monophthongisation: a result of innovation in the inner city, resulting from contact with British Caribbean English and L2 Englishes. No general diffusion except to minority ethnic speakers outside the inner city looks like Diphthong Shift reversal

50 Lowering across region – Diphthong Shift reversal
PRICE Lowering across region – Diphthong Shift reversal But added fronting is greater in London than south-east periphery fronting and monophthongisation correlated with ethnicity – strongest among non-Anglos seems to be a geographically directional and diachronically gradual process The change (from approximately [ɔɪ]) involves lowering of the onset – and as such is a reversal of Diphthong Shift interpretable as a London innovation with diffusion to periphery

51 The nature of the interaction is not yet clear
Monophthongisation of FACE, PRICE and GOAT is correlated with four interacting scales: 1. Non-Anglo > Anglo 2. Non-Anglo network > Anglo network 3. Male > female 4. Inner London > outer London > South-east periphery (Milton Keynes, Reading, Ashford) The nature of the interaction is not yet clear

52 MOUTH In the south-east periphery, the RP-like realisation [aʊ] has made inroads In London, [a:] is the norm Additionally, [ɑʊ] is used by some non-Anglos, especially girls, in the inner city RP-like [aʊ] is not the result of ‘levelling’ in the sense of the selection of a majority or phonetically intermediate form, but may be seen as socially more unmarked But the outcomes suggest three different changes: (1) south-east periphery [aʊ] (2) inner-city [a:] (3) inner-city non-Anglo [ɑʊ]

53 Contact, innovation, diffusion and levelling in dialectology
(1) Overall patterns: divergence/innovation in inner London non-Anglos and Anglos with non-Anglo networks in the lead in innovation some evidence of diffusion to south-east periphery but also levelling in periphery, without involvement of inner London Havering lies between inner London and periphery

54 (2) Locus of contact in dialectology
In modern metropolises new contact varieties result from language contact following large-scale concentrated immigration Transmission of innovations through social networks can be demonstrated quantitatively (harder to show in individual cases!) Contact varieties have the potential to spearhead language change, given the right social relations and favourable identity factors

55 (3) Where does contact not count? Transmission is said to be dependent on face-to-face contact But there is evidence that this is not necessary: th-fronting in Great Britain (θ  f; ð  v) up to about 1980 was geographically gradual and very slow (250+ years) Since then it has spread in a manner that cannot be explained by face-to-face contact and is no longer geographically gradual becoming increasingly mainstream in North of England and Scotland simultaneously in about 1980 (Kerswill 2003) spreading to low-contact working-class speakers first (Stuart-Smith et al. 2007) the spread of [aʊ] in the south-east periphery is rapid and simultaneous, and is not a typical automatic result of levelling as predicted by Trudgill (majority and/or intermediate form wins out)

56 (4) We need to account for the spread of features by face-to-face contact and absence of contact
Milroy (2004; 2007) suggests an accessibility hierarchy, with a number of features being available ‘off the shelf’. th-fronting is one of them Observation suggests that some of the new vowel features are adopted outside London, but mainly by minority ethnic speakers – is this because of Trudgill-style levelling, or are the identities they signal not (yet) available to Anglo youth outside London?

57 Contact, levelling and diffusion in relation to Neogrammarian change
Briefly: taking the long view, we can see that the Diphthong Shift reversal we have observed is consistent and ‘regular’, even partly mirroring the order in which it is thought to have progressed in the first place But the social and phonetic detail is extremely messy

58 Innovation, levelling and diffusion revisited
Little that we have discovered flatly contradicts the predictions of the gravity model, provided that: We recognise that different features have different social values (social indexation) We recognise some salience-like concept (not discussed here!) We recognise that ideology and identity must be added to face-to-face contact

59 Consequences for dialectology
Sources of innovation must today be sought in minority-ethnic metropolitan varieties and: need to recognise a more complex diffusion and levelling model

60 Bibliography Britain, David (2002). Phoenix from the ashes?: The death, contact, and birth of dialects in England. Essex Research Reports in Linguistics 41: 42-73 Britain, David (2005). Where did New Zealand English come from? In A. Bell, R. Harlow & D. Starks (eds.), Languages of New Zealand. Wellington: Victoria University Press Cheshire, Jenny, Fox, Sue, Kerswill, Paul & Torgersen, Eivind (in press) Ethnicity, friendship network and social practices as the motor of dialect change: linguistic innovation in London. Sociolinguistica 22, Special Issue on Dialect Sociology, edited by Alexandra N. Lenz and Klaus J. Mattheier. Kerswill, Paul (2003). Dialect levelling and geographical diffusion in British English. In D. Britain & J. Cheshire (eds.), Social dialectology. In honour of Peter Trudgill. Amsterdam: Benjamins Kerswill, Paul, Torgersen, Eivind & Fox, Sue (2008fc) Reversing ‘drift’: Innovation and diffusion in the London diphthong system. Language Variation and Change 8(3).

61 Kerswill, Paul, & Williams, Ann (2000)
Kerswill, Paul, & Williams, Ann (2000). Creating a new town koine: Children and language change in Milton Keynes. Language in Society 29: Kerswill, Paul, & Williams, Ann (2005). New towns and koineization: Linguistic and social correlates. Linguistics 43: Meyerhoff, M. & Niedzielski, N. (2003). ‘The globalisation of vernacular variation’, Journal of Sociolinguistics 7(4): Milroy, L. (2004). ‘The accents of the valiant. Why are some sound changes more accessible than others?’ Plenary lecture given at Sociolinguistics Symposium 15, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Stuart-Smith, Jane, Timmins, Claire & Tweedie, Fiona (2007). ‘Talkin' Jockney’? Variation and change in Glaswegian accent. Journal of Sociolinguistics 11 (2), 221–260. Torgersen, Eivind, & Kerswill, Paul (2004). Internal and external motivation in phonetic change: Dialect levelling outcomes for an English vowel shift. Journal of Sociolinguistics 8:23-53. Trudgill, Peter (2004). New-dialect formation: The inevitability of colonial Englishes. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Wells, John C. (1982). Accents of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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