Upcoming Talks in Linguistics, Oct. 26th and Nov. 1
October 26, 2:10-3:00, 912 Sproul
Prof. Eric Russell Webb
“Homophobia as linguistic ecology: Deconstructing anti-LGBT discourse”
November 1, 3:30-5:00
Prof. Rajend Mesthrie, University of Cape Town, South Africa
“Gender and substrate erasure amongst young, black, middle-class South African English speakers”
Abstract: This paper analyses the acquisition of a prestige variety of English in post-apartheid South Africa. New economic opportunities have seen the rapid growth of a black middle-class, with its children study at elite schools previously reserved for whites. The paper documents the differences amongst younger black peoples’ English from the L2 of their parents’ generation, using as variables schwa as a full vowel, and neutralizations of vowel length. The main acoustic analysis is of schwa in initial, final, and medial positions (where there are 5 further subtypes). The first difference concerns social class, consequent upon a bifurcation of young Black people according to type of schooling (elite or not). The second difference is that there is a consistent gender effect among young people, in contrast to the previous generation’s English. The finding that young women are in the lead in acquiring the prestige variety is triangulated with supporting evidence.