Speech Prosody 2004

Nara, Japan
March 23-26, 2004

Prosody Variation in English: Geographical, Social, Situational

T. I. Shevchenko, T. S. Skopintseva

Chair of English Phonetics, Department of Humanitarian and Applied Sciences, Moscow State Linguistic University, Russia

The paper looks at a system of socially significant factors and the ways they affect prosody variation in British and American English. The data are based on a number of doctoral research projects carried out under the first author’s supervision in the years 1995-2003. The aim is to overview new data in search of distinguishing prosodic features which can diagnose regional and social identity. The major findings are concerned with 3 out of the total of 21 parameters in the overall prosodic analysis: Fo-range, Fo-stability and temporal characteristics. Regional affiliation in the British group of young men representing 6 regions and 2 urban centers correlates with the dialect group data. However in the middle-aged group the distinction is lost due to a change in status. In the U.S.A. geographical distribution of relevant prosodic features along the North-South axis of the Eastern Coast shows a specific pattern of regional tempo variation. A microcosm of all interrelated factors and their prosodic correlates is presented in one-city data. Stylistic variance is revealed in two modes, reading and speaking. Public speaking offers a choice of social roles and social situations of varying formality.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Shevchenko, T. I. / Skopintseva, T. S. (2004): "Prosody variation in English: geographical, social, situational", In SP-2004, 139-142.