Vol. 37:2 (2022) ► pp.357–394
Phonetic variation in Standard English spoken by Trinidadian professionals
This paper analyzes the speech of 27 Trinidadian professionals (lawyers, lecturers, and politicians), who are typical speakers of Standard Trinidadian English in formal contexts, where traditionally Standard English is targeted. We investigate phonetic variation in Trinidadian English speech with regard to the varying integration of Creole features. The paper presents the results of an acoustic study of 10 vowels and an auditory analysis of three consonantal variables, using data from the Trinidad and Tobago component of the International Corpus of English.
The analysis shows that exonormative influences do not play a role. Individual Trinidadian Creole features are integrated into standard speech (voiced TH-stopping, partial overlap of bath-start-trap, partial overlap of strut-lot) and some realizations are identical in both codes (face and goat), while others are avoided (voiceless TH-stopping, the realization of down with as a monophthong with a velar nasal, the cloth-thought merger, and the realization of mouth as [ɔʊ]). These results from Trinidad confirm the validity of Irvine’s (2004, 2008) model of load-bearing and non load-bearing variables for the distinction between English and Creole. The conclusion highlights methodological differences to Irvine’s study and discusses an extended conceptualization of Standard English that incorporates variation along the dimension of exo- versus endonormativity.
- 1.Standard Englishes in the Anglophone Caribbean
- 2.Variation in Trinidadian English/Creole
- 3.Data and method
- 5.Load-bearingness in Trinidadian English/Creole