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Beyond the Monolingual Core and out into the Wild: A Variationist Study of Early Bilingualism and Sound Change in Toronto Heritage Cantonese

Tse, Holman (2019) Beyond the Monolingual Core and out into the Wild: A Variationist Study of Early Bilingualism and Sound Change in Toronto Heritage Cantonese. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation focuses on variation and change in the vowel system of Toronto Heritage Cantonese with the goal of pushing variationist research on sound change beyond its monolingually oriented core (Nagy 2016) and in approaching the study of heritage languages from the perspective of spontaneous speech. It addresses the possibility of contact-induced inter-generational vowel shifts, mergers, and splits in native vocabulary. It also addresses the extent to which demographic, ethnic orientation, or language use factors may account for these changes. The data comes from the Heritage Language Variation and Change in Toronto Project (Nagy 2011) and includes hour-long sociolinguistic interviews from Toronto residents of different age, sex, and generational backgrounds speaking in Cantonese along with Ethnic Orientation Questionnaire data and a picture description task from each speaker. The mean F1/F2 of each vowel category from each of 32 speakers were measured in native (and integrated English) vocabulary. The results show lack of vowel shifts, evidence for merger in progress of /y/ ~ /u/, and evidence for a pre-nasal split in /ɛ/. The speakers who lead in this merger and split are the ones who used the least amount of Cantonese in the interview samples. The lack of the same structural changes from Hong Kong speakers further supports an account based on contact-induced change. These findings challenge Labov’s (2007) Transmission and Diffusion model and suggest more sociolinguistic engagement with theoretical models of contact-induced change (cf. Thomason & Kaufman 1988, van Coetsem 2000).


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tse, Holmanhbt3@pitt.eduhbt30000-0002-2398-5776
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKiesling, Scottkiesling@pitt.edukiesling
Committee MemberGooden, Shelomesgooden@pitt.edusgooden
Committee MemberJuffs, Alanjuffs@pitt.edujuffs
Committee MemberNagy,
Date: 31 January 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 September 2018
Approval Date: 31 January 2019
Submission Date: 7 December 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 329
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: vowel variation; Chinese - Yue; language contact; language maintenance; Chinese immigration - Canada; sociophonetics
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2019 17:54
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2019 17:54


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