This paper examines the indexical value of /s/-fronting in White Afrikaans and in White South African English (WSAfE). Prior research on this feature has shown that fronted articulations of /s/ in WSAfE serve as a regional and social indicator of the wealthy northern suburbs of Johannesburg, and anecdotal evidence suggests that the feature carries a similar meaning in White Afrikaans. This study therefore aims to examine whether the variable carries similar meanings across the two languages. Data are based on the evaluative reactions toward different experimental stimuli that were presented to 214 Afrikaans-English bilinguals in South Africa during a modified matched-guise task. The results indicate that /s/-fronting in a man’s voice is perceived in similar terms in White Afrikaans and WSAfE though it carries somewhat different meanings across the two languages when it occurs in a woman’s voice, a difference related in turn to different approaches to gender across the two speech communities. The results of this research, and the indexical value of /s/-fronting in the two languages, are therefore only understandable in terms of certain sociohistorical and sociological differences between the two speech communities. The article ends with some discussion relating to the possible source of the relevant similarities and differences, i.e., parallel innovation or sociophonetic transfer.
The authors would like to thank Kara Schultz, Deon du Plessis, Bertus van Rooy and Andries Coetzee for reading earlier versions of this article and for offering valuable commentary and suggestions.
Stimulus Passage – Afrikaans (Matthee 1984)
Vandat hy kan onthou, is Oupoot die mees gevreesde olifant in die Bos. Geen houtkapper het sonder respek van hom gepraat of sy spoor gekry en nie onmiddellik gekyk watter kant die wind waai nie.
Hy was veertien toe hy Oupoot vir die eerste keer gesien het. Baie dinge het met hom gebeur toe hy veertien geword het.
Die godsiekte het twee maande voor sy verjaarsdag deur die Bos getrek: masels, kinkhoes en plek-plek waterpokke. Magdalena moes eerste gaan lê. Toe Sara inval, het hul ma ook siek geword. Masels. Hy en sy pa en Jozef en ou Anneries het ver van die huis af kalander vir dwarslêers gewerk en van niks geweet nie.
Stimulus Passage – English (Matthee 2005)
As long as he could remember, Old Foot had been the most feared elephant in the Forest. No woodcutter spoke of him without respect or found his tracks without immediately looking to see which way the wind was blowing.
Saul was fourteen when he saw Old Foot for the first time. Many things happened to him when he was fourteen.
Two months before his birthday the godsickness came through the Forest: measels, whooping-cough and even chickenpox in some places. Magdalena was the first to go down with it. When Sara caught it their mother became ill, too. Measels. He and his father and Jozef and old Arno were working kalander for sleepers far from home and knew nothing of what was going on.
B Rating scales
English translations appear in parentheses. Only Afrikaans was used during the experiment.
|Baie intelligent (very intelligent)||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||Glad nie intelligent nie (not at all intelligent)|
|Baie vriendelik (very friendly)||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||Onvriendelik (not at all friendly)|
|Baie oneerlik (very dishonest)||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||Baie eerlik (very honest)|
|Baie manlik(very masculine)||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||Glad nie manlik nie (not at all masculine)|
|Bly in ʼn stad (lives in a city)||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||Bly op die platteland (lives in the country)|
|Beslis gay/lesbies(definitely gay/lesbian)||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||Beslis nie gay/lesbies nie(definitely not gay/lesbian)|
|Baie geleerd (very educated)||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||Glad nie geleerd nie (not at all educated)|
|Baie gemoedelik (“laid-back”) (very laidback)||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||⃞||Glad nie gemoedelik (“laid-back”) nie (not at all laidback)|
Du Plessis, Deon. 2016. Regionality in White South African English: An acoustic dialectometric investigation. Potchefstroom: North-West University MA thesis.Search in Google Scholar
Giliomee, Hermann. 2003. The Afrikaners: Biography of a people. Cape Town: Tafelberg.Search in Google Scholar
Hammond, Nicol. 2010. The gendered sound of South Africa: Karen Zoid and the performance of nationalism in the New South Africa. Yearbook for Traditional Music 42. 1–20.Search in Google Scholar
Johnstone, Barbara & Scott F. Kiesling. 2008. Indexicality and experience : Exploring the meanings of /aw/-monophthongization in Pittsburgh. Journal of Sociolinguistics 12(1). 5–33.10.1111/j.1467-9841.2008.00351.xSearch in Google Scholar
Lambert, Wallace E., Richard C. Hodgson, Robert C. Gardner & Stanley Fillenbaum. 1960. Evaluational reactions to spoken languages. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 60(1). 44–51.10.1037/h0044430Search in Google Scholar
Levon, Erez & Sophie Holmes-Elliott. 2013. East end boys and west end girls : /s/-fronting in southeast England. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 19(2). 111–120.Search in Google Scholar
Matthee, Dalene. 1984. Kringe in ’n bos. Cape Town: Tafelberg.Search in Google Scholar
Matthee, Dalene. 2005. Circles in a forest. Johannesburg: Penguin.Search in Google Scholar
Mesthrie, Rajend. 2010. Socio-phonetics and social change: Deracialisation of the GOOSE vowel in South African English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 14(1). 3–33.10.1111/j.1467-9841.2009.00433.xSearch in Google Scholar
Munson, Benjamin, Elizabeth C. McDonald, Nancy L. DeBoe & Aubrey R. White. 2006. The acoustic and perceptual bases of judgments of women and men’s sexual orientation from read speech. Journal of Phonetics 34(2). 202–240.10.1016/j.wocn.2005.05.003Search in Google Scholar
O’Grady, Cathleen & Ian Bekker. 2011. Dentalisation as a regional indicator in General South African English: An acoustic analysis of /z/, /d/ and /t/. South African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 29(1). 77–88.10.2989/16073614.2011.583161Search in Google Scholar
Ohala, John. 1994. The biological bases of sound symbolism. In Leanne Hinton, Johanna Nichols & John Ohala (eds.), Sound symbolism, 222–236. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar
Pharao, Nicolai, Marie Maegaard, Janus Møller & Tore Kristiansen. 2014. Indexical meanings of [s+] among Copenhagen youth: Social perception of a phonetic variant in different prosodic contexts. Language in Society 43(1). 1–31.10.1017/S0047404513000857Search in Google Scholar
Pienaar, Kiran & Ian Bekker. 2006. Invoking the feminine physical ideal: Bitch-slapping, she-men and butch girls. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 24(4). 437–447.10.2989/16073610609486432Search in Google Scholar
Pienaar, Kiran & Ian Bekker. 2007. The body as a site of struggle: Oppositional discourses of the disciplined female body. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 25(4). 539–555.10.2989/16073610709486480Search in Google Scholar
Pisani, Kobus, Du. 2001. Puritanism transformed: Afrikaner masculinities in the apartheid and post-apartheid period. In Robert Morrell (ed.), Changing men in Southern Africa, 157–176. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Books.Search in Google Scholar
Pleck, Joseph, Freya Sonenstein & Ku. Leighton. 1993. Masculinity ideology and its correlates. In Stuart Oskamp & Mark Constanzo (eds.), Gender issues in contemporary society, 85–110. London: Sage.Search in Google Scholar
Poplack, Shana & Stephen Levey. 2010. Contact-induced grammatical change: A cautionary tale. In Peter Auer & Jürgen Erich Schmidt (eds.), Language and space: An international handbook of linguistic variation, 391–419. Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter.10.1515/9783110220278.391Search in Google Scholar
Pretorius, Deirdre. 2013. The visual representation of masculinities in Huisgenoot Tempo magazine. Communicatio: South African Journal for Communication Theory and Research 39(2). 210–232.10.1080/02500167.2013.788532Search in Google Scholar
Sharma, Devyani. 2012. Shared features in New Englishes. In Raymond Hickey (ed.), Areal features of the Anglophone world, 211–232. Berlin & Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.10.1515/9783110279429.211Search in Google Scholar
Stuart-Smith, Jane. 2007. Empirical evidence for gendered speech production: /s/ in Glaswegian. In Jennifer Cole & Jose Hualde (eds.), Laboratory Phonology 9: Phonology and phonetics, 65–86. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.Search in Google Scholar
Vorster, Jan & Leslie Proctor. 1976. Black attitudes to “white” languages in South Africa: A pilot study. The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and applied 92(1). 103–108.10.1080/00223980.1976.9921341Search in Google Scholar
© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston