Chapter 3. Variation with gender in the tonal speech varieties of Kera (Chadic)

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In languages where dialects differ according to gender, claims have been made that women are more conservative than men in rural settings and more innovative in urban settings. Both effects are seen in the tonal dialects of Kera (a Chadic language). I present data from perception experiments and production measurements on the voicing and tonal contrasts in rural and urban Kera dialects in Chad. The driving factor for change is probably contact with French. This chapter focuses on the fact that village women are the most reluctant to change, whereas town-women are abandoning tone more than town-men. I conclude that Kera provides a unique opportunity for observing the differing roles and behaviour of women in rural and urban settings and the effects on their language use.


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