12th Mar 2014 4:30pm-6:00pm
E512 Checkland Building, Falmer Campus
The School of Humanities Research Lecture Series in Linguistics, Language and Discourse programme:
Dr Sandra Jansen, University of Brighton.
In a snapshot description of the Carlisle dialect Hughes et al. (2012) come to the conclusion that:
[T]he similarities between the accents of Carlisle and Newcastle are frequently remarked upon, although the boundary between the traditional Cumbrian and Northumbrian dialects follows the Pennine watershed quite closely. It is therefore possible that east-west contact over recent generations has resulted in a reduction in the phonological differences between Carlisle and Newcastle English (Hughes et al. 2012: 124; emphasis mine).
Indeed, while we see diverging tendencies between the geographically close urban accents Newcastle and Sunderland English (Beal et al. 2012), dialect convergence toward the former accent seems to take place in Carlisle English. However, even though comments have been made about converging tendencies between the two accents, a study, which confirms these anecdotal comments is lacking so far.
Therefore, the aim of this talk is to provide a quantitative analysis of this change in Carlisle English. The variation and change in three variables is investigated: H-dropping which is a feature that is not present in Newcastle/Northumbrian English but is found in some varieties of Cumbrian English. The second variable is the realization of the unstressed vowels letter and comma, which are described as fairly open in Newcastle English but they are traditionally closer in Carlisle English. The third variable is the realization of the goose vowel. In Carlisle English this vowel has been subject to change and young speakers realize the vowel quite far front whereas speakers in Newcastle still have a goose vowel that is produced further back.
We will show that there are some convergence tendencies of Carlisle English with Newcastle English. However, we will also show that some changes have to be explained by standardization processes. In the case of goose-fronting we superficially see convergence of Newcastle English with Carlisle English, but this change must be explained by language intrinsic factors.