It was about one and a half years ago that I finally I arrived where I had always wanted to be and do what I had always wanted-- teach students, support small language communities and conduct research on African languages on my doorstep. The University of Cape Town and my new colleagues welcomed my efforts to establish the Centre for African Language Diversity-- CALDi as well as The African Language Archive-- TALA and I was recently appointed the Mellon Research Chair: African Language Diversity this initiative. The main aim of CALDi is to train young African scholars in descriptive linguistics and open up space for research into African languages at UCT with the hopes of countering the dominance of African linguistics outside the continent. It has been a great challenge for which my whole career has been a form of preparation...Read more
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Linking Elements in Compounds
Regional Variation in Speech Production and Perception
Words like noot+en+kraker (‘nutcracker’) and pan+en+koek (‘pancake’) contain a linking element en in between the two parts of the compound. In Dutch, this linking en is most often homographic with the regular plural suffix –en (noot+en ‘nuts’ - noot+en+kraker ‘nutcracker’). This dissertation investigates whether the linking element en in spoken Dutch compounds is similar to the plural suffix -en. The psycholinguistic studies reported here investigate the pronunciations of the linking en and the plural suffix -en for Dutch speakers from five different regions of the Netherlands, and for Frisian-Dutch bilinguals from two regions of Friesland. Second, the studies reported here investigate whether speakers of standard Dutch and speakers from different regions of the Netherlands interpret subtle speech variants of linking en as a plural marker. This dissertation reveals clear regional pronunciation variation of the linking en in compounds for Dutch speakers. Moreover, the speech variants of Dutch linking en are most often interpreted as plural forms. This study is of interest to scholars interested in linguistics, psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics. It shows the diversity of language: Regional variation exists in the pronunciation and interpretation of linking elements in Dutch compounds. This implicates that speakers from different, although closely related linguistic backgrounds arrive at subtly different interpretations in everyday speech.