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Evolutionary Syntax

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The Making of Vernacular Singapore English

By Zhiming Bao

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Academic Paper

Title: /u/ Fronting and /t/ Aspiration in Māori and New Zealand English
Author: Margaret L. Maclagan
Institution: University of Canterbury
Author: Catherine I. Watson
Institution: University of Auckland
Author: Ray Harlow
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Institution: University of Waikato
Author: Jeanette King
Institution: University of Canterbury
Author: Peter J. Keegan
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Auckland
Linguistic Field: Phonetics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This article examines the relationship between the frontness of /u/ and the aspiration of /t/ in both Māori and New Zealand English (NZE). In both languages, these processes can be observed since the earliest recordings dating from the latter part of the nineteenth century. We report analyses of these developments for three groups of male speakers of Māori spanning the twentieth century. We compare the Māori analyses with analyses of related features of the speakers' English and of the English of monolingual contemporaries. The occurrence of these processes in Māori cannot be seen simply as interference from NZE as the Māori-speaking population became increasingly bilingual. We conclude that it was the arrival of English with its contrast between aspirated and unaspirated plosives, rather than direct borrowing, that was the trigger for the fronting of the hitherto stable back Māori /u/ vowel together with increased aspiration of /t/ before both /i/ and /u/.


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 21, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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