London calling: assessing the spread of metropolitan features in the southeast

Holmes-Elliott, Sophie Elizabeth Margaret (2015) London calling: assessing the spread of metropolitan features in the southeast. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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A growing phenomenon in British English is Regional Dialect Levelling. This is where accents lose their local characteristics in favour of more supralocal forms. The result is that different areas cease to have recognisably different dialects. For instance, neighbouring towns or villages become linguistically indistinguishable. Earlier elements of dialectal diversity are shaved off through processes of linguistic smoothing.

This research focuses on two key issues:
1. The understanding of the mechanisms involved in regional dialect levelling
2. How accounts of dialect levelling can inform models of sound change more generally

In this thesis I present an apparent time sociolinguistic study of regional dialect levelling in Hastings, a town on the coast of East Sussex, England. The study employs an empirical analysis of a number of ongoing sound changes.
Specifically, the study examines three sound changes that, through previous analyses, have been shown to operate through different mechanisms: two features that are attributed to the externally motivated processes levelling and diffusion, and one internally motivated change driven by pressures inherent in the linguistic system. These contrasting mechanisms have been chosen in order to investigate a number of issues: first, to examine how each type of change may contribute to regional dialect levelling; and second, the analysis of these features enables a close examination of the interplay between external and internal forces of language change.

More broadly, the evidence from this research is used to evaluate traditional principles of sound change in order to investigate how well they hold within a variety that is undergoing regional dialect levelling.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: sociolinguistics, language change, dialect levelling, apparent time, sociophonetics,
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies
Supervisor's Name: Smith, Dr. Jennifer and Stuart-Smith, Prof. Jane
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Dr Sophie Holmes-Elliott
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6374
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 May 2015 15:52
Last Modified: 02 May 2018 12:32

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