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/h/ insertion as a 'camouflaged archaism'?: dialect contact, colonial lag and the feature pool in South Atlantic English.


Schreier, Daniel (2019). /h/ insertion as a 'camouflaged archaism'?: dialect contact, colonial lag and the feature pool in South Atlantic English. Diachronica, 36(1):37-65.

Abstract

This article documents the historical development and synchronic variation of so-called “/h/ insertion” (/h/ before vowel-initial words such as apple, under, etc.). It argues that the maintenance of /h/ insertion in post-colonial English varieties around the world provides an ideal opportunity for research on language change under dialect contact scenarios involving British donors and other dialects. After an assessment of regional distribution patterns in current World Englishes, I present some first findings from a large-scale quantitative analysis of Tristan da Cunha English, where /h/ insertion, firmly attested yet nearing obsolescence in British English, has survived into the 21st century. The quantitative analysis provides important insights into donor attribution and competition-selection processes that accompany dialect contact and koinéization, with special reference to theoretical concepts such as colonial lag, feature pool formation and founder effects. A holistic application of the concept of colonial lag to post-colonial English varieties needs to be refined and critically assessed. I argue that entire linguistic systems (in the form of koinés) are not conservative as such but that arrested language (and dialect) change operates on a feature-specific level instead.

Abstract

This article documents the historical development and synchronic variation of so-called “/h/ insertion” (/h/ before vowel-initial words such as apple, under, etc.). It argues that the maintenance of /h/ insertion in post-colonial English varieties around the world provides an ideal opportunity for research on language change under dialect contact scenarios involving British donors and other dialects. After an assessment of regional distribution patterns in current World Englishes, I present some first findings from a large-scale quantitative analysis of Tristan da Cunha English, where /h/ insertion, firmly attested yet nearing obsolescence in British English, has survived into the 21st century. The quantitative analysis provides important insights into donor attribution and competition-selection processes that accompany dialect contact and koinéization, with special reference to theoretical concepts such as colonial lag, feature pool formation and founder effects. A holistic application of the concept of colonial lag to post-colonial English varieties needs to be refined and critically assessed. I argue that entire linguistic systems (in the form of koinés) are not conservative as such but that arrested language (and dialect) change operates on a feature-specific level instead.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Uncontrolled Keywords:/h/ insertion, camouflage archaisms, colonial lag, dialect contact, koinéization, language change in English and Tristan da Cunha English
Language:English
Date:5 April 2019
Deposited On:10 Apr 2019 15:11
Last Modified:10 Apr 2019 20:16
Publisher:John Benjamins Publishing
ISSN:0176-4225
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.17030.sch

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