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Dialect levelling and Cockney diphthong shift reversal in South East England: the case of the Debden Estate

Cole, Amanda and Strycharczuk, Patrycja (2022) 'Dialect levelling and Cockney diphthong shift reversal in South East England: the case of the Debden Estate.' English Language and Linguistics. pp. 1-23. ISSN 1360-6743

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This paper explores an instance of dialect levelling in South East England, the reversal of Cockney diphthong shift. We trace this reversal through an apparent time analysis of 52 speakers from Debden, a community in Essex with East London heritage. Dynamic vowel analyses of word-list and passage data suggests a reversal of the diphthong shift towards SSBE targets which has occurred most abruptly in those born after 1992 potentially as a result of increased social mobility in this generation. We compare the results in Debden to previous findings in the south-eastern towns of Milton Keynes and Reading where apparent-time change was also observed away from a shifted vowel system and towards SSBE targets (Kerswill & Williams 2000, 2005). In diverse areas of South East England, a common process of levelling towards the pan-regional standard is present which is not occurring exclusively as a result of dialect contact or face-to-face interaction. Nonetheless, each community exhibits a distinct trajectory and timing of language change which can be attributed to different patterns of movement and resettlement and in particular, access to social mobility and the retention of community networks.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cockney; vowel shift; dialect levelling; dynamic changes; language change
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2021 15:21
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2022 09:44

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