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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Form, Function, and Distribution of High Rising Intonation in Southern Californian and Southern British English Add Dissertation
Author: Angela Barry Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Sheffield, Department of English Language and Linguistics
Completed in: 2007
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonetics; Phonology; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics;
Director(s): Amalia Arvaniti
Susan Fitzmaurice

Abstract: This thesis presents an investigation of the High Rising Tone (HRT) in
Southern California and London English. I examine the phonological and
phonetic form, and the pragmatic function and sociolinguistic distribution
of HRT. Previous research has largely focused on phonetic, pragmatic, or
sociolinguistic study of HRT in Australian English, New Zealand English and
American English. This thesis adopts a holistic approach to examine the
form, function and distribution of HRT use across male and female Southern
California and London speakers.

The data for this project come from map task dialogues collected from 20
native Southern California speakers (six female pairs and four male pairs)
and from 20 London English speakers (six female pairs and four male pairs).
HRTs were identified by ear and then subjected to a phonological analysis
using Tones and Breaks Indices (ToBI) labels. The phonetic realisation of
HRTs was examined by taking phonetic measurements which were then subjected
to statistical analyses. The distribution of HRTs across three pragmatic
variables specific to the map task were examined, namely, conversational
move (Carletta et al. 1996), place in turn and new landmark. Case study
analyses were conducted on four dialogues in order to examine pragmatic
functions of HRTs. The sociolinguistic distribution of HRT was examined in
order to determine the frequency of HRT occurrence.

The sociolinguistic analysis showed that females used HRT more often than
males, and that Southern California speakers used HRT more frequently than
London speakers. HRT is variable in terms of its form and function, and it
differs according to gender and dialect. It seems that there is more than
one phonological representation for HRT. London HRT was more phonologically
variable than Southern California HRT. The statistical analysis yielded
dialect as well as gender differences in the form of HRT. Southern
California speakers used HRTs with wider pitch ranges than London speakers;
female speakers of both dialects used HRTs with wider pitch ranges than
males. It was also found that females aligned L* later in their HRTs than
male speakers.

The map task data provided a good basis for examining the pragmatic
functions of HRT. Speakers used larger pitch ranges with turn-final HRTs
than with turn non-final HRTs. Also, while London speakers used more HRTs
in turn-final position, Southern California speakers used more HRTs in
turn-non-final position. Female speakers used a wider pitch range with HRTs
used to introduce new landmarks than with HRTs not used for this purpose.
Furthermore, H* HRTs were used more than L* HRTs when introducing a new
landmark. The conversational move analysis showed that Southern California
speakers used more HRTs with instruct moves but London speakers used more
HRTs with non-instruct moves. HRTs in the London data tend to be strongly
contextual in that they occur in particular contexts with a strategic
function. However, HRT seems to have a more stable use in the Southern
California data. The stable and conventional use of HRT in Southern
California English suggests that HRT is unmarked in this dialect. In
contrast, its conscious use by speakers of London English to perform
particular pragmatic functions suggest that HRT is a marked feature of
London English.