How Linguists Detect And Monitor Variation In The Pronunciation Of Modern English

1870 words - 7 pages

David Graddol categorised Modern English into 3 parts. We will be looking into the handling of Late modern English by linguists. It is used in our present era where English has become the international language of communications technology and American English becoming more dominant . I will be looking at the study by Guy and Vonwiller followed by some of the devices used by linguists to detect and monitor the pronunciation of modern English.

A very clear example of how linguists detect and monitor variation in the pronunciation of modern English is the study by Gregory Guy and Julia Vovwiller. The methods they used to collect their data to come to their conclusion of AQI (Australian questioning intonation) serves to showcase how linguists come to certain deductions. This research in intonation or changes in pitch occur when a sentence is uttered in one breadth breaking usually in a grammatical structure. The AQI has a unique questioning tone, usually at the end of a sentence. This sentence will not be a question. This innovation can also be described as the High Rising Tone or HRT. This intonation encourages interaction between the listener and the speaker as the listener is made to think or prepare an answer for the questioning tone. But the speaker may not require an oral response. The speaker monitors the listener¡¦s attentiveness via this tone too.

In their findings, Guy and Vonviller did a series of surveys to note certain trends among the people in the way they use AQI. In their report, they categorised their findings according to age groups, class and sex distributions.

¡§This intonation clearly predominates among the young, with a maximum in the older teenagers who use the intonation at ten times the rate found for speakers over the age of forty.¡¨

They based this finding from the way they categorised speakers. The groups are divided into four categories. They are 11-14, 15-19, 20-39 and 40 and those above that age. Of these there were 306 instances of AQI among 15-19 age groups. The closest to this figure was from 11-14 age groups. Their instances of AQI were 79. They realised that teenagers used the form much more than the other age groups. This helped that to deduce later to come up with the hypothesis that the high rising tone in the young¡¦s declaratives is a new development in Sydney English. It seems to be very predominant in the young. The adults, especially those who fell in the twenty and above group, used much lesser of the high rising tone in their declaratives. This indicates that AQI is a recent phenomenon. It should have begun in the last 20-30 years.

Interestingly, teenagers in 1960 did not do this. This is provided by Mitchell and Delbridge (1965a and b) at three Sydney high schools. They recorded a 0.3% AQI usage among teenagers in 1960. This can be juxtaposed quite appropriately to the 0.2% AQI usage among those who are 40 and above in Guy and...

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