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Dialect stabilization and speaker awareness in non‐native varieties of English

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Abstract:

Research on indigenized non‐native varieties of English has aimed to distinguish these varieties from individual second language learning in structural and social terms ( B. Kachru 1983; Platt, Weber and Ho 1984; Cheshire 1991) ; however, quantitative evidence of this divergence remains scarce. Through an analysis of a range of Indian English speakers in a contact situation in the United States, this study distinguishes developing dialect features from second language learning features and explores the concomitant emergence of dialect consciousness. First, an implicational analysis shows that some non‐standard variables (past marking, copula use, agreement) exhibit a second language learning cline while others (articles) form a more stable, incipient non‐standard system shared to some extent by all speakers; a multivariate analysis suggests that both sets of variables are governed by proficiency levels. Next, the explanatory scope of proficiency is assessed by examining the use of selected phonological variants (rhoticity, l‐velarization, aspiration). The use of these features resembles native‐like style‐shifting, as it appears to be more sensitive to speakers’ attitudinal stances than to proficiency levels. This points to the importance of understanding emerging speaker awareness and perceptions of stigma, risk, and value in new varieties of English.

Keywords: Indian English; consciousness; ideology; implicational scaling; language attitudes; non‐native speaker; proficiency

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-6441.2005.00290.x

Affiliations: King's College London

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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