ROLLS 30 Sept: Tom Devlin: Coalmining vocabulary & Durham English

Please join us at the Research on Language & Linguistics at Sussex seminar series:

Wednesday, 30 September 2015, 13.00
Fulton 214, University of Sussex 

The influence of coalmining vocabulary on variant usage in Durham English

Tom Devlin, University of Sussex
This research investigates the influence of coalmining vocabulary on variant usage by testing the claim that mining communities preserve distinctive and conservative phonological patterns (Wales 2006: 124). The study explores the degree of advancement of vowels belonging to the START lexical set (Wells 1982) in mining and non-mining words in the speech of sixteen older male speakers from former colliery villages in East Durham in the North East of England. The results show that regardless of the speaker's relationship to coalmining, START vowels are shifted to significantly backer realisations in mining words than in non-mining vocabulary, close to traditional pronunciations noted in historical dialect literature. This outcome is upheld even in identical lexical items with different meanings in mining and non-mining speech.

Wales, K. 2006. Northern English: A Social and Cultural History. Cambridge: CUP.
Wells, J. 1982. The Accents of English. Vol. 2: The British Isles. Cambridge: CUP.


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