Accent and Dialect

Geographical Variation: Accent and Dialect

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  • Accent and Dialect
    • Accent is the pronunciation an individual uses based upon their location
    • Dialect is the words an individual uses due to their location.
    • Attitudes
      • Regional accents are often stigmatised, and can result in presumptions being made
      • Dennis Freeborn
        • The Incorrectness View
          • Said some accents were simply incorrect ways of speaking
          • Standard English is the only correct manner of speech
          • RP is therefore the only acceptable and correct accent
          • BUT change over time, such as perceptions of the rhotic accents mean even RP has varied.
        • The Ugliness View
          • Regional accents are ugly and lack aesthetic appeal
            • May be too harsh (eg Glaswegian)
            • May be too thick (eg Northern)
            • May be boring (eg Birmingham)
        • The Imprecise-ness View
          • The use of regional accent is lazy and imprecise
          • The use of the glottal stop is perceived as laziness but may not always be so
          • It is suggested that children with a regional accent are likely to struggle in school due to their pronunciation (eg )
      • Howard Giles (1975)
        • Looked at perceptions of Birmingham  and RP accents
        • Using a matched guise style, ppts discussed psychology and the death penalty.
        • RP was rated more competent and more intelligent than the regional speaker
        • BUT he had a small sample, and was potential for participant effects due to their own accent producing a 'halo effect'
      • Dixon, Mahoney, + ***** (2002)
        • Used a matched guise style to look at the correlation between guilt and accent
        • Birmingham accents were found more guilty than RP speakers
        • Had high realism, BUT doesn't account for appearance effects
      • Neuliep + Spaten-Hansen (2013)
        • Used a matched guise format to investigate ethnocentricit
        • Non-native accents and speakers were measured against Americans in regard to appearance, credibility and similarity.
        • Non-native accents got lower ratings in all catagories
        • BUT non-native accent was describes as 'non-discernible' which isn't viable.
      • Seligman, Tucker, + Lambert (1972)
        • Choy + Dodd (1976)
          • Suggested teachers make judgements of students' capabilities based on speech and accent
          • Regional accents are perceived as less kind and less intelligent
          • Children are rated less highly based on their parent's accents
          • Children living in areas with thicker accent may be perceived as less capable causing a poorer education
      • Paul Coggle (1993)
        • Evaluated stereotypical attitudes towards classes - Estuary English
        • Found people liked accents for different reasons
        • Some accents are more soothing and friendly (Geordie) but some are reputable for poverty
        • BUT this is generalised so may be unrepresent-ative
    • Dialect Levelling
      • Leslie Milroy (2002)
        • Increased geographical mobility leads to the 'large-scale disruption of close-knit localised networks" which have "structured linguistic norms"
      • Paul Kerswill (2001)
        • Caused  by the reduction of rural employment and he construction of suburbs
        • Increased social mobility lead to "the consequent breakdown of tight knit working class communities"
        • Survivor Dialects
          • Some regional forms are surviving levelling
          • Multiple negation
          • Addition of the present tense -s (eg I likes)
          • Use of ain't
          • Absernce of plural marking on measures (eg 3 foot)
          • Absence of adverb marking
      • Foulkes and Docherty (1999)
        • Surviving forms are not common to one region
        • Suggested a degree of standard-isation
        • Language spread often originates from London
          • 1. South East (Reading, Milton Keynes)
          • 2. Central England (Midlands, Yorkshire)
          • 3. Northern England (Hull)
          • 4. North-East England, Scotland (Newcastle, Glasgow)
      • The process by which dialects converge over time, reducing regional features and diversity


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