Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Linguistics

An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences

Editor-in-Chief: Gast, Volker


IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.644
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.878

CiteScore 2017: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.418
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 1.386

Online
ISSN
1613-396X
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 55, Issue 5

Issues

The embedded indexical value of /s/-fronting in Afrikaans and South African English

Ian Bekker
  • School of Languages, North-West University, Internal Box 493, Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom Campus, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Erez Levon
Published Online: 2017-09-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2017-0022

Abstract

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.

Keywords: /s/-fronting; Afrikaans; White South African English; perception; South Africa

References

  • Bekker, Ian. 2003. Using historical data to explain language attitudes: A South African case study. AILA Review 16. 62–77.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Bekker, Ian. 2007. Fronted /s/ in General White South African English. Language Matters 38(1). 46–74.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Campbell-Kibler, Kathryn. 2007. Accent, (ING), and the social logic of listener perceptions. American Speech 82(1). 32–64.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Campbell-Kibler, Kathryn. 2011. Intersecting variables and perceived sexual orientation in men. American Speech 86(1). 52–68.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Coupland, Nikolas & Hywel Bishop. 2007. Ideologised values for British accents. Journal of Sociolinguistics 11(1). 74–93.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Davies, Rebecca. 2009. Afrikaners in the new South Africa: Identitypolitics in a globalised economy. London: Taurus Academic Studies.Google Scholar

  • Du Plessis, Deon. 2016. Regionality in White South African English: An acoustic dialectometric investigation. Potchefstroom: North-West University MA thesis.Google Scholar

  • Gaudio, Rudolf. 1994. Sounding gay: Pitch properties in the speech of gay and straight men. American Speech 69(1). 30–57.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Giliomee, Hermann. 2003. The Afrikaners: Biography of a people. Cape Town: Tafelberg.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.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.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle 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.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Lanham, Len W. & Carol A. Macdonald. 1979. The standard in South African English and its social history. Heidelberg: Julius Groot Verlag.Google Scholar

  • Levon, Erez. 2006. Hearing “gay”: Prosody, interpretation and the affective judgments of men’s speech. American Speech 81(1). 56–78.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Levon, Erez. 2007. Sexuality in context: Variation and the sociolinguistic perception of identity. Language in Society 36(4). 533–544.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Levon, Erez. 2014. Categories, stereotypes and the linguistic perception of sexuality. Language in Society 43(5). 539–566.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle 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.Google Scholar

  • Matthee, Dalene. 1984. Kringe in ’n bos. Cape Town: Tafelberg.Google Scholar

  • Matthee, Dalene. 2005. Circles in a forest. Johannesburg: Penguin.Google Scholar

  • McClintock, Anne. 1993. Family feuds: Gender, nationalism and the family. Feminist Review 44. 61–80.CrossrefGoogle 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.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle 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.CrossrefGoogle 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.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle 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.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.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle 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.CrossrefGoogle 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.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle 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.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.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.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.CrossrefGoogle 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.Google Scholar

  • Starks, Donna & Scott Allan. 2003. What comes before t? Nonalveolar s in Auckland. Journal of English linguistics 31(3). 273–280.CrossrefGoogle 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.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.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Zimman, Lal. 2013. Hegemonic masculinity and the variability of gay-sounding speech. Journal of Language and Sexuality 2(1). 1–39.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2017-09-06

Published in Print: 2017-09-26


Citation Information: Linguistics, Volume 55, Issue 5, Pages 1109–1139, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2017-0022.

Export Citation

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in