Since the turn of the millennium, the emergence of so-called (multi-)ethnolects has been observed in different cities of German-speaking Switzerland. This way of speaking differs significantly from traditional Swiss German dialects. However, a sociophonetic investigation of these varieties is lacking for the time being.
The present study provides an acoustic analysis of plosive voicing in two groups of Zurich German speakers. Traditional Swiss German dialects are reported to show a contrast between two categories of homorganic plosives (fortis vs. lenis) which is based
on closure duration, but not on voicing. We compared the proportion of voicing in lenis plosives of 20
speakers with a multicultural and of 10 speakers with a monocultural background. Our results support the
view that multicultural speakers of Zurich German do indeed use voiced lenis plosives as a sociophonetic
marker, whereas monocultural speakers adhere to the traditional fortis-lenis pattern.