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Revisiting the Maori English Vowel Space:Exploring variation in /ɪ/ and /u/ vowel production in Auckland, New Zealand

Draucker, Fawn T (2010) Revisiting the Maori English Vowel Space:Exploring variation in /ɪ/ and /u/ vowel production in Auckland, New Zealand. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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REVISITING THE MAORI ENGLISH VOWEL SPACE: EXPLORING VARIATION IN /ɪ/ AND /u/ VOWEL PRODUCTION IN AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALANDFawn T. Draucker, M.A.University of Pittsburgh, 2009This study examines the correlation of proposed features of Maori Vernacular English (MVE)with ethnicity, gender, and Maori language ability. Earlier studies propose "decentralized" /ɪ/ and "extremely fronted" /u/ as features distinguishing MVE speech from a more standard form of New Zealand English (Bell, 1997, 1999). Bell (1997) also suggests that a high, close production of /ɪ/ could be the result of language transfer and would likely be correlated with Maori language ability. In this work, I investigate these claims within a generation of speakers born between 1915-1937. Interviews were used from a group of participants in an oral history project conducted by the Auckland Public Library in 1990, and include background on the participants' lives, including information about their ethnicity and languages used in their homes. Tokens of target vowels, /ɪ/ and /u/, were collected from the speech produced during these interviews, along with tokens of all other English monophthongal vowels. First and second formant measurements were taken from these tokens in Praat and the data were then normalized. Data were tested for correlation with ethnicity, Maori language ability, and gender using linear mixed effects regression and generalized linear modeling. Results showed that high, close productions of /ɪ/ are correlated with English-Maori bilingualism. This correlation is discussed within both a language transfer framework and a community-based sociolinguistic framework, with the proposal of a sound change in progress at different stages in different communities being the preferred interpretation. Results for the /u/ vowel show that extremely fronted production of /u/ could not be correlated with Maori ethnicity, but instead could be identified as a Pakeha female variant. These results are again discussed within a sociolinguistic framework, focusing on the /u/ variable as a possible sound change in progress. Ultimately, it is determined that neither decentralized /ɪ/ or fronted /u/ can be established as identifying features of the MVE dialect for this group of speakers.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Draucker, Fawn Tftd1@pitt.eduFTD1
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMortensen, David Rdrm31@pitt.eduDRM31
Committee MemberMauk, Claudecemauk@pitt.eduCEMAUK
Committee MemberKiesling, Scott Fkiesling@pitt.eduKIESLING
Date: 25 January 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 4 June 2009
Approval Date: 25 January 2010
Submission Date: 16 November 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: language transfer; Maori Vernacular English; sociophonetic variation
Other ID:, etd-11162009-224839
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:05
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:51


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