Article in:Variation in the Pacific
Edited by Eri Kashima and Miriam Meyerhoff
[Asia-Pacific Language Variation 6:2] 2020
► pp. 222–249
(h) in Marshallese English
This paper explores the sociolinguistic patterning of glottal choices in the English spoken in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), a variety that variationist research has thus far eschewed. The analysis suggests that the schooling background of the speaker is the most crucial determinant for both /h/-dropping and /h/-insertion. These findings are not surprising given the dramatic social inequalities regarding access to educational opportunities that characterise the RMI. The locally-specific contact situation, in conjunction with the constraints on /h/-insertion, suggest that the English spoken in the Marshall Islands is typologically distinct from the Southern British dialect root described for other parts of the Pacific by Schreier (2019).
Keywords: Marshallese, English, h-dropping, h-insertion, h-epenthesis, education
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