Edited by Jonathan R. Kasstan
[Asia-Pacific Language Variation 8:2] 2022
► pp. 150–173
This paper details a study investigating sociophonetic variation in Ende, a language spoken in Papua New Guinea. The study examines speech produced by 30 individuals, investigating what social and linguistic factors are linked with the variable alternation between stopped and affricated realizations of Ende retroflex obstruents [ʈ͡ʂ~ʈ] and [ɖ͡ʐ~ɖ].
Our analysis provides evidence that the obstruents in question are more likely to be realized as stops when they are voiced and when the speakers are orators. Orators are people who practice kawa, a long-standing practice whereby select individuals perform regular public orations. Among orators, the speaker’s age also appears to play a role in retroflex stopping. The link between the stop variant and social factors can be understood within the context of the distribution of power in the community, even in the absence of any explicit standard.