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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Academic Paper


Title: Dialect divergence and convergence in New Zealand English
Author: Molly E. Babel
Institution: University of British Columbia
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Recent research has been concerned with whether speech accommodation is an automatic process or determined by social factors (e.g. Trudgill 2008). This paper investigates phonetic accommodation in New Zealand English when speakers of NZE are responding to an Australian talker in a speech production task. NZ participants were randomly assigned to either a Positive or Negative group, where they were either flattered or insulted by the Australian. Overall, the NZE speakers accommodated to the speech of the AuE speaker. The flattery/insult manipulation did not influence degree of accommodation, but accommodation was predicted by participants' scores on an Implicit Association Task that measured Australia and New Zealand biases. Participants who scored with a pro-Australia bias were more likely to accommodate to the speech of the AuE speaker. Social biases about how a participant feels about a speaker predicted the extent of accommodation. These biases are, crucially, simultaneously automatic and social. (Speech accommodation, phonetic convergence, New Zealand English, dialect contact)

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This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 39, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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