Age-grading and vowel systems in Multicultural London English
University of Cape Town, 27th August 2010 Paul Kerswill, Jenny Cheshire, Sue Fox and Eivind Torgersen Lancaster University/Queen Mary, University of London No treatment of the causes of linguistic change could be complete without a consideration of the effect of one system on another. [...]. The present work is primarily concerned, however, with those changes that emerge from within a linguistic system, in which the problem of causation arises in its sharpest form. (Labov 2001: 20) 2 In language change, Labov distinguishes between transmission (from older to younger generations) and diffusion (features brought in from outside, by adult-to-adult dialect contact) Children and adolescents are central
to Labovs model 3 According to Labov, children replicate their elders grammars and phonologies pretty much perfectly by the process known as transmission Simultaneously children detect directions of change in phonetic space and (for morphosyntactic variables) changes in frequencies, and subsequently implement further change in the same direction This incrementation peaks in the late adolescent years 4 Example: Tagliamonte and DArcy 2009 on Toronto quotative be like 5 The changing ability of people to modify their language as they
grow older The younger the speaker, the more able s/he is to change The kinds of social relations people form with other people change throughout their lives This affects how they can either acquire changes or transmit changes to others Aitchison (1981) rejects the idea that language change stems from infants misanalyses: Babies do not form influential social groups; changes begin within social groups. It follows that it is only when children begin to form social relations with other children, or older people, that changes can begin to be spread. 6 What happens when we explicitly incorporate contact into a quantitative variationist study? New Town of Milton Keynes, established 1967 on Southeast England/Midlands border 7 Figure 1. Percent non-fronted/fronted variants of /u:/
(GOOSE), Milton Keynes Working class girls and female caregivers. 8 Real-time evidence of childrens increase in F2 (fronting) on this variable Presence of adolescent peak Exogenous change (regional dialect levelling, or supralocalisation, mediated through dialect contact) Labov doesnt allow for adolescent peak in exogenous changes Possibly accelerated in Milton Keynes because of lack of close-knit communities But despite dialect contact Milton Keynes GOOSE shows the canonical incrementation pattern 9 Multiethnolect: a new variety, or pool of variants, shared by more than one ethnic group living in an area Typically shared across minorities, but also by members of majority groups A multiethnolect is non-ethnic in its affiliation and its indexicality. This is true at least in the community in which it is spoken outside its own community it may sound distinctly ethnic
It is arguably vernacularised Described in Northwest European cities: Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Gothenburg, Malm, Amsterdam, Berlin, Mannheim and London 10 Given the contact origins of a multiethnolect, does its emergence follow the incrementation pattern? 11 Investigators: Paul Kerswill (Lancaster University) Jenny Cheshire (Queen Mary, University of London) Research Associates: Sue Fox (Queen Mary, University of London) Eivind Torgersen (Lancaster University) E S R C ECONOMI C Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council
& SOCIA www.ling.lancs.ac.uk/activities/278/ 12 L 16 elderly Londoners 98 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 13 Multicultural London English: the emergence, acquisition and diffusion of a new variety (200710) 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 ECONOMI C Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council & S O C I A14 www.ling.lancs.ac.uk/activities/539/ Six age groups: 4-5, 8, 12, 17, c.25, c.40 North London female, male Anglo and non-Anglo Free interviews in pairs c. 1.5m words transcribed Phonological and grammatical analysis Perception tests 15
Havering Hackney 16 High in-migration of population originating from countries other than the UK from 1950s onwards Poverty Hackney has the highest rating on indicators of deprivation out of all 355 boroughs in England Poverty leaves all groups in these boroughs with few opportunities for interaction with the wider, mainstream, mobile community At the same time, there is the formation of dense, family and neighbourhood networks Because of extreme ethnic heterogeneity and lack of residential segregation, there are contacts across ethnic groups among young people 17 The coexistence of two populations in the same geographical area is not a sufficient condition for language contact. They must interact with each other. (our
emphasis) (Mufwene, 2006) 18 Hackney Ethnic Group Percentages W hite British W hite Irish W hite Other 2 Mixed race W hite Black Caribbean Mixed race W hite Black African Mixed race W hite Asian 1.17 2.39 11.98 Mixed race Other 44.12 10.29 Asian Indian Asian Pakistani 0.82
2.94 Asian Bangladeshi 1.07 Asian Other 3.76 1.11 12.26 3.02 Black caribbean 0.78 Black African 0.79 1.52 Figures taken from Census 2001 Black Other The input varieties in Hackney include: Creole-influenced varieties
Ex-colonial Englishes Learner varieties The local London vernacular Monolingual English speakers have also been exposed to all these varieties Group second language acquisition (Winford (2003) or shift-induced interference (Thomason and Kaufman 1988; Thomason 2001), where minority groups form part of a larger host community and acquire the target language through unguided second language acquisition in friendship groups If minority group speakers are integrated into the host community, they may initiate linguistic changes by using forms resulting from their interlanguage variety of the target language Given suitable sociocultural conditions, these forms may then be taken up by native speakers (Thomason and Kaufman 1988; Thomason 2001). 21 F2 2300 2100
1900 1700 1500 1300 1100 900 700 500 300 GOAT 400 CHOICE FACE 500 F1 PRICE
Grace, Nigeria 500 300 400 500 500 600 F1 600 700 800 700 900 800 1000 23 The target variety? Multicultural London English Note
extreme goosefronting Figure 4. London inner city vowels: Multicultural London English project adolescent speakers (aged 1619). (a) Short monophthongs plus GOOSE and START, (b) diphthongs plus GOOSE and START 24 Four year olds (non-Anglo) Note less goosefronting Figure 6. London inner city vowels: Multicultural London English project 4 year old speakers (all speakers are Non-Anglo). (a) vowels with standard deviations, (b) vowels by gender. 25 Q: Is there a correlation between children and their caregivers? Results from Milton Keynes lead us to expect this. A: no, there isnt any.
Figure 7(b) Correlation between childrens and caregivers GOOSE (F2) 26 Eight year olds Figure 9. London inner city vowels: Multicultural London English project 8-year-old speakers. (a) Short monophthongs plus GOOSE and START, (b) diphthongs plus 27 GOOSE and START. Twelve year olds Figure 10. London inner city vowels: Multicultural London English project 12-yearold speakers. (a) Short monophthongs plus GOOSE and START, (b) diphthongs plus GOOSE and START. (For diphthongs, only onsets are shown.) 28 Some evidence of incrementation with adolescent peak, but only for GOOSE This is a Southeastern regional change and hence exogenous Little or no correlation with caregivers, even for 4 year olds For most vowels, MLE comes fully fledged by age 4, leading to a flat age distribution These are endogenous changes, part of group SLA 29
Beyond phonology: some innovations in inner London 30 Discourse markers: I got the right moves innit but I ain't telling you though still . I ain't telling you Indefinite pronoun man: I dont really mind how my girl looks..its her personality mans looking at why..for question frame: I said why you searching my jacket for? this is + Speaker quotative expression: this is me Im from east London i) this is them what area are you from . what part? this is me Im from East London ii) this is him dont lie . if I search you and if I find one Ill kick your arse iii) this is my mum what are you doing? I was in the queue before you iv) this is my mums boyfriend put that in your pocket now I mean I literally walked past two thugs that I didn't not knew but they just grabbed me by the hood swang me in a alley and had me at knifepoint. and I couldn't do nothing but I
SAID . and THEY SAID "where you from? I SAID "east london that's where I'm from THIS IS THEM "don't be funny" cos they're . I was right in a bit of east London so THEY SAID "don't be funny with me like that cos I'll stab you" and I SAID I'm not trying to be funny" THIS IS THEM "what area are you from . what part?" THIS IS ME I'm from (name of place)" and then like THEY JUST SAID "oh yeh I don't like that area where area" and then like some hero. thank god there is some typical heros who. it's like if you're short don't even bother come over because you're just gonna get stabbed yourself like . Distribution of Quotatives Innovators project Inner London Elderly % (n) Say Outer London Elderly % (n) Inner London Adolescents % (n) Outer London Adolescents
12.9 (35) 15.1 (193) 12.3 (129) 20.8 (219) Zero Be Like - - 24.4 (313) This is + (S) - - 4.8 (61) - Tell -
- 1.9 (24) - Others TOTAL N 1.6 (6) _________ 370 2.9 (8) __________ 272 2.0 (26) _________ 1282 3.2 (33) _________ 1052 Quotative This is + speaker: Strongly favoured and led by females Strongly favoured in first person contexts Used predominantly in conversational historic present Used categorically with direct speech
45 years 89 years 1213 years 1619 years Caregivers say 93.9 (46) 39.5 (202) 25.4 (163) 17.0 (218) 50.3 (174) think - 0.6 (3) 7.2 (92) 10.7 (37) go 4.1 (2) 31.1 (159) 23.8 (153) 7.3 (94) 5.2 (18) zero
2.0 (1) 2.0 (10) 14.5 (93) 12.5 (160) 18.2 (63) BE LIKE - 17.0 (87) 25.9 (166) 45.7 (584) 10.1 (35) this is + speaker - 5.3 (27) 2.0 (13) 3.0 (38)
642 1279 346 1.9 (12) 36 Implicational scale for the use of SAY, GO and BE LIKE SAY Nisha (5) Tamila (5) Neelan (5) Kenneth (5) Rachel (5) Talullah (8) Kareen (8) Ikram (8) Derya (8) Saddiki (8) Dafne (8) Uzay (8) Rasgur (5) Din (5) Nandita (8) Junior (8) Loiuise (8) Wahid (8)
Madeleine (8) Dumaka (8) Howard (8) Lydia (8) Mahir (8) Catherine (12) Scarlett (13) Christopher (13) Sadik (11) Barry (12) Meg (12) Abigail (13) Henry (12) Darren (12)
BE LIKE Quotative functions: (1) and then this is the man . "you gonna get fired (2) this is the boy "boom Non-quotative functions: (3) hes sitting on a chair this is him like hes drunk or something
(4) I been on it this is me Im scared Im like this...it go slow and then I say yeah (5) this is the this is the boy falling asleep he went " (6) alright right this is this is me knocking at the door yeah and I'm knocking at the door yeah and this is the dog "". he just went and this is the dog "woof woof woof" 8 yr olds 12 yr olds 16-19 yr olds quotative uses 51 (N = 27) 87 (N=13) 93 (N=38) nonquotative uses 49 (N= 26) 13
(N=2) 7 (N= 3) Presentational quotative expressions that focus on the speaker as the source of the reported discourse are crosslinguistically robust (Gldemann in press) Deictics as part of quotative expressions are well-known eg in Belfast : Here was I then I must be hard of hearing or something - you rapped the door and I didnt hear you out the back and everywhere they were . heres me have youse took leave of your senses? he says - uh - get everybody up, everybody up (Milroy and Milroy 1977: 54) Also in African languages so presentational quotatives are relatively widespread, and perhaps discoursally natural. 1 token of this is (speaker) in Sebbas 1980s recordings of London Jamaicans Mufwene (2005:157): In some cases language contact results in more complex competition in the feature pool, and favours an option that was already available in some of the input varieties but was too statistically insignificant to produce the same output under different ecological conditions. It is the contact setting rather than the contact languages themselves that are responsible for the innovation (Lapidus and Otheguy 2005: 797). StEng:
I/ s/he/ NPsing was we/you/they/NPplu were Britain (2002) identifies two broad patterns of past BE across varieties of English: 1. Variable levelling to was across person, number, polarity (common in English world-wide) (a) you was a defender (b) we wasnt allowed to wear hats (a vernacular universal?) 2. Variable levelling to were in clauses with negative polarity (common in UK) (c) I werent talking to no-one was I (d) you was talking to me werent you ( will/wont; do, does/dont; am, are, is/aint) Table 5. Nonstandard was, wasnt and werent in Hackney and Havering (elderly and adolescent age groups) [MSOffice1]Ive tidied this table up a tiny bit Havering Havering age 65+ age 1619 Hackney age 65+ Hackney age 1619
was/werent pattern is used much less in inner London than in the South East generally Is this part of group second-language acquisition? Is was/wasnt a vernacular universal for English? We look at Abigail, a recent immigrant 45 Subject No. of tokens % was First person We 11/12 91.7 Second person You
1/1 100 Third person They 8/8 100 Total 20/21 95.2 46 Hackney: young MLE project: 1213 years MLE project: Abigail Say 27.4% (351) 25.4 (163) Think
12.8% (164) 1.9 (12) Go 11.7% (150) 23.8 (153) Zero 15.1% (193) 14.5 (93) Be Like 24.4% (313) 25.9 (166) 37.2% (16) This is+speaker 4.8% (61) 2.0 (13)
27.9% (12) Tell 1.9% (24) 0.3 (2) 2% (26) 1.6 (10) 2.3% (1) 1282 642 43 Others TOTAL N 25.6% (11) 7% She contribute (3) s 12/13 of
all tokens! 47 Abigails usage seems a heightened example of the contribution of speakers who have acquired English as a second language and helps to further explain the social dynamics of the emergence of MLE: in their efforts to be accepted in the multiethnic friendship groups that are characteristic of the group second language situation, some non-Anglo preadolescents may overshoot the usage of the age groups immediately below them, and above them. 48 [MSOffice1]Age gp labels need fixing to be in line with the others. 45 year 89 year olds olds Anglo 1213 year olds 1619 year
100% (N=7) 85% (11/13) 84% (16/19) 69% (9/13) 50 Widely found in contact Englishes, including African American, South African, Afrikaans and Jamaican Englishes Also found in early stages of acquisition Its a marginal feature of non-standard British varieties, but is rapidly increasing in present-day British highcontact varieties. 51 Flat age distribution of endogenous changes, such as reversal of diphthong shift and introduction of this is + speaker Contrast global features like BE LIKE and GOOSE-fronting
Though Labovs incrementation model doesnt include contact, or exogenous features The particular ecology of language varieties, especially the presence of a feature pool plus group secondlanguage acquisition falls outside other models Critical threshold of non-native varieties must be reached Circa 50% of all speakers at a given time Caregivers are not now the main model for language acquisition 52
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