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Journal Articles (Book Review) Journal of Language Contact Year : 2016

Compte-rendu de English in the Indian Diaspora


The volume deals with the linguistic aspects of the Indian Diaspora, the regional spread ranging here from Singapore, via Africa and the uk to the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Both primary and secondary diaspora contexts (in the uk and New Zealand) are covered. Apart from Mesthrie (1991) and Wiebesiek (2011), very little research has been produced on the local contact variety of Indian English. This selection of articles brings together scholarly research on the use of English in the Indian Diaspora posing the following theoretical and methodological questions (Different dia-sporic situations for different outcomes?/Similarity of contact features and processes across diasporic situations/Types of responses to dialect contact relating to the degree of endonormative stabilisation of Asian Englishes?/The relations between the differences and our understanding of community structures, atti-tudinal orientations/Identity development and the link between the rate of change, adaptation, and the degree of transnational network maintenance). Linguistic features such as phonetics, syntax and lexis are tackled. Within variationist linguistics, four articles first deal with phonetic variation. First, Leung and Deuber, in 'Indo-Trinidadian speech: an investigation into a popular sytereotype surrounding speech' , question whether the fundamental frequency (F0) is a cue to distinguish ethnicity. Indo-Trinidadians are perceived as having high-pitched voices whereas Afro-Trinidadians are said to have low-pitched voices. Samples of both communities are modified and tested on listeners. It is thereby suggested that there exists an Indo-Trinidadian suprasegmental ethnolect and it is proven that Trinidadians rely on F0 to distinguish ethnicity. This can especially be applied to Indo-Trinidadian women whose pitch-range is clearly different. It is less obvious on male samples. Farhana Alam and Jane Stuart-Smith present a sociophonetic study of /t/ in their article entitled 'Identity, ethnicity and fine phonetic detail'. They deal with the phonological processes by which features are passed on through generations. In keeping with the research framework of Lawson (2011), Docherty and Foulkes (1999), they are concerned with phonetic characteristics being salient for a community. More precisely, they present an acoustic phonetic analysis of /t/ when used as the syllable-initial, in the speech of Pakistani heritage Glaswegian girls in inner-city secondary schools. Through an acoustic phonetic analysis, tokens of syllable-initial /t/ are extracted into Praat and four measures (the mean, the spread, the skew and the kurtosis) of the spectral energy are considered on a statistical level: they prove that fine phonetic variation is indexical of local ethnic identity.


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hal-01738657 , version 1 (26-04-2019)



Isabelle Gaudy-Campbell. Compte-rendu de English in the Indian Diaspora. Journal of Language Contact, 2016, pp.393-395. ⟨10.1163/19552629-00902009⟩. ⟨hal-01738657⟩
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