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Title: A phonetic variationist study on Chilean speakers of English as a foreign language
Author: Subiabre Ubilla, Paulina Beatriz
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 3771
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2015
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Variationist research in the Labovian paradigm has traditionally looked at the structured heterogeneity found in first language (L1) speech. More recently this quantitative methodology has been applied to speakers acquiring a second language (L2), usually in immigrant settings. This research has shown that alongside well documented L2 acquisition processes, sociolinguistic patterns are also found, just as in native speech. This dissertation examines the speech of native speakers of Spanish acquiring English in Chile, extending traditional quantitative methodology to L2 contexts, specifically to English as a foreign language (EFL) situations. I examine the variation of four phonetic variables: voiceless alveolar fricative (ʃ), voiceless alveolar affricate (ʧ), and postvocalic (r), which range from stigmatised to prestigious in both Spanish and English; and voiced dental fricative (ð), which has been extensively documented in English, mainly constrained by linguistic factors. Through the analysis of the speech of eighteen university students, I seek to test, firstly, whether the patterns of variation characteristic of Chilean Spanish are transferred to English and secondly, whether the variation exhibited by native speakers of English is replicated in EFL contexts. The results suggest that: (1) the expected transfer of patterns from Chilean Spanish to English does not occur for the variables (ʃ) and (ʧ), and (2) the patterns found in non- native speech in EFL contexts replicates the patterns found in native speakers of English for the variables voiced dental fricative (ð) and postvocalic (r). Amongst the social factors considered, the effect of social class is shown to contribute to the variation of postvocalic (r) and (ʃ), as years of instruction in English did to the variation of (ʃ); in relation to the contribution of internal factors, it is found that phonetic environment and position have an effect on the varying use of (ʃ) and (ð). As predicted for (ð), the effect of purely linguistic factors is confirmed. Thus this study demonstrates that the notion of structured heterogeneity can be extended to contexts of EFL, especially in relation to the effect of internal constraints.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: P Philology. Linguistics