Chapter published in:Acquiring Sociolinguistic Variation
Edited by Gunther De Vogelaer and Matthias Katerbow
[Studies in Language Variation 20] 2017
► pp. 305–341
Developmental sociolinguistics and the acquisition of T-glottalling by immigrant teenagers in London
This study examines the acquisition of T-glottalling among teenage migrants in London. Results show that constraint hierarchies based on native input begin to be approached after two years in England. Initially, variation is completely reallocated; however, as teenagers spend more time in England, constraints are becoming increasingly similar to those of native speakers. While some constraints are replicated completely, there is also evidence that, even after three years in the country, some are altered, some are rejected, and some are re-interpreted, resulting in new constraints. Three tentative generalisations are made, relating to the order of constraint acquisition, constraint complexity and the role of grammatical category and word frequency as interpretative frameworks. In addition, the progression of constraint acquisition interacts with the increasing use of (t) as a stylistic resource, which allows teenagers to express identities based on the variation in (t) and other linguistic features. While style (as in attention paid to speech) does not appear until after three years in England in this study, qualitative analysis of interview data reveals that (t) is already available for stylistic work and experimentation after two years in England.
Keywords: immigration, London, T-glottalling, teenagers, acquisition of variation
Published online: 30 September 2017
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