Volume 38, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0172-8865
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9730
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This paper seeks to provide a detailed sociophonetic analysis of vowel variation in Coloured South African English (CSAfE). 40 Coloured speakers (20 male; 20 female) from middle-class and working-class backgrounds were analysed using methods of automatic vowel measurement. 2,253 tokens of were isolated into phonological environments which condition the split: before and after velar consonants /k, g/, before /ŋ/, before palato-alveolar consonants /ʧ, ʃ, ʤ, ʒ/, after /h/, and word initially. Working-class CSAfE speakers displayed a wider split in the set: they used a higher and fronter variant in all conditioning environments, approximating [ɪ], while tokens in the unconditioned environments were produced in the region of [ə]. Middle-class speakers displayed a definite split, conditioned by the same environments, but with a smaller distance between the two values. The binary split maintains its vitality in this variety of South African English.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Coloured; kit split; kit vowel; social change; social class; South African English
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