AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

“Aspects of Pronunciation in Five Varieties of English”

by Rebecca Jayne Travers

Institution: University of New South Wales
Department: Languages & Linguistics
Year: 2010
Keywords: Accents; Linguistics; Phonology
Record ID: 1043640
Full text PDF: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/50185


The English language is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, being spoken by approximately seven-hundred and fifty million people, with around three-hundred and twenty-nine million of those speaking it as their first language, (Crystal, 2003:109). With this in mind, it is possible to understand why various scholars would suggest that the dissemination of the language may be having an adverse effect upon English. As a result, it seems essential to document this ever-changing language and explore both its current state alongside its potential future developments. The focus of this research is to explore the differences in pronunciation between five major varieties of English; British, American, Australian, New Zealand and South African. Through an examination of the salient phonological differences between these World Englishes provided by primary research and a review of relevant literature, the research consequently aims to make predictions about significant future developments of the language. The research specifically focussed on the differences in aspects of pronunciation between the five varieties; namely elements such as vowel production, /h/-dropping, glottalisation, the /hw/-/w/ distinction, as well as suprasegmental features such as word stress. The analysis of primary research and relevant literature has explored the three main hypotheses associated with the future development of the World Englishes examined and has postulated predictions. The findings of this research demonstrates minimal support for each of the hypotheses, however does not present enough definitive evidence to provide a firm hypothesis regarding the future development of the English Language, suggesting more long-term research is needed in this area.