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Sociophonetic variation in Stoke-on-Trent's pottery industry

Leach, Hannah (2018) Sociophonetic variation in Stoke-on-Trent's pottery industry. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis presents a sociophonetic analysis of two dialect variables in twenty-six speakers from Stoke-on-Trent; specifically, speakers who worked in the city’s pottery industry. The recordings used come from an oral history archive, and much of the analysis presented considers the impact of the social and spatial structures of the pottery industry on dialect variation. The analysis presented also combines quantitative and qualitative methodologies in order to examine both broader patterns of dialect variation in the selected speakers, and how the same variables may be used in the construction of meaning-in-interaction. Finally, I consider the impact of using oral history data in this kind of sociophonetic analysis. I use literature on the social structures of the industry and the content of the recordings themselves to model an internal hierarchy for the industry, which I then examine alongside auditory and acoustic data from two linguistic variables: /h/-dropping, and the (i) vowel. /h/-dropping is particularly sensitive to industrial role, with speakers in mass production roles more likely to drop /h/ and those in administrative, managerial and design roles less likely to. I demonstrate how this links to the established social meanings of /h/-dropping as a historical dialect feature of English. The (i) vowel is less sensitive to this internal hierarchy quantitatively, but I describe how its realisation is particularly conditional on linguistic factors. Both variables are also examined qualitatively in discourse moments, and according to topic. /h/-dropping (and retention) appears to be associated with meaning on micro-, meso- and macro-social levels, allowing me to design an indexical field (Eckert, 2008) of its potential social meanings in this dataset. Variation in the (i) vowel appears to be less motivated by topic, but I demonstrate that some speakers do use more extreme acoustic tokens in particularly expressive talk.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: linguistics, sociolinguistics, phonetics, sociophonetics, stoke-on-trent, dialectology
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Hannah Leach
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2018 13:27
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2018 13:27
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21547

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