Article published in:World Englishes – Problems, Properties and Prospects: Selected papers from the 13th IAWE conference
Edited by Thomas Hoffmann and Lucia Siebers
[Varieties of English Around the World G40] 2009
► pp. 125–140
Finding one’s own vowel space
An acoustic analysis of the speech of Niuean New Zealanders
This paper compares the vowel system of five New Zealand Niuean children to that of speakers of New Zealand English (NZE), via an acoustic analysis. The Niuean children’s vowel systems show a vowel inventory, triangular vowel space, and front vowel raising characteristic of New Zealand English. However, the analysis also found differences. In the monophthongs, the Niuean speakers retain the qualitative and quantitative distinction between /%/ and /a:/, whereas NZE retains only a quantitative distinction. Diphthongal differences are found in the degree and direction of movement, as well as the monophthongisation of /ei/ and /ou/. Such differences may be markers of NZ Niuean or a broader pan-Pasifika English.
Published online: 23 September 2009