Trill maintenance and replacement in Chichewa : a study on newsreaders' speech from three radio stations in Malawi

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This is a sociolinguistic study that investigates whether style is associated with the varying use of allophones [I] and [r] in the environment of normative [r] in Chichewa. Normative [r] here refers to the traditional realisation of III after front vowels in contrast with the traditional [I] elsewhere. Labov's sociolinguistic theory and Bell's audience design theory form the basis of this study. Fifteen participants whose speech was recorded for analysis are news readers of both genders, belonging to the young and middle age groups, and are either first or second language users of Chichewa. Data was collected from three radio stations in both formal and informal settings. Each radio station has different types of audience, from top government officials, to businessmen, and to the youth. The formal setting is news bulletin reading, while interviews made up a more informal setting where open-ended questions pertaining to the newsreaders' biography were asked. The dependent variables are [r] and [I] which are allophones in Chichewa, while the independent variables include: type of radio station, setting, gender, age and type of acquisition. In every normative [r] environment, tokens were assigned to represent both dependent and independent variables. A total of 820 tokens were analysed using the GoldVarb software, a 2001 version of Varbrul, which is used to analyse multivariate data. GoldVarb validates the data and generates percentages and ratios that are readily available for evaluation.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 120-127).