Deracialising the GOOSE vowel in South African English

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The practices associated with the policy of apartheid entrenched easily-identifiable ethnic varieties of English in South Africa. The collapse of the policy in the 1990s removed social barriers between people and encouraged freedom of association. With new sustained social networks have come new emergent norms. This paper examines the extent of change in different varieties of South African English, focussing on socio-phonetics within a Labovian framework. The greatest change is evident amongst younger people associated with the deracialising middle classes. Focus will fall on the GOOSE vowel in word list style among 24 female speakers from 4 ethnic groups. The research shows that there are different degrees of accommodation among Black, Coloured and Indian female speakers to the prestige White norms.


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