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Volume 55, Issue 5


On the influence of coronal sibilants and stops on the perception of social meanings in Copenhagen Danish

Nicolai Pharao
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen, Emil Holms Kanal 2, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark
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  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Marie Maegaard
  • Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen, Emil Holms Kanal 2, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark
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Published Online: 2017-09-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2017-0023


Previous studies have shown that the same sociolinguistic feature can be used as a sociolinguistic resource with different indexical potentials in different linguistic as well as social contexts. In this paper we present the results of a perceptual study of indexical meanings of fronted and palatalized variants of /t/ in combination with fronted /s/ in different registers of Copenhagen Danish. The data consist of responses to male speakers’ use of the two variants of /t/ in two different registers that we label “modern Copenhagen speech” and “street language.” Results show that the palatalized /t/ affects the indexicality of fronted /s/ with respect to perceived femininity and gayness when it occurs in “modern Copenhagen,” where fronted /s/ has previously been shown to index these traits. However, the variation has a different and less significant effect when occurring in “street language.” Furthermore, the effect is only found in “modern Copenhagen” if the speaker has not previously been heard to produce a fronted /s/. We discuss the implications for theories of the relation between features and clusters of features in listeners’ perceptions.

Keywords: phonetic variation; social meaning; perception of indexical features


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-09-07

Published in Print: 2017-09-26

Citation Information: Linguistics, Volume 55, Issue 5, Pages 1141–1167, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2017-0023.

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