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The Manchester Polish STRUT: dialect acquisition in a second language

Drummond, R. (2013) The Manchester Polish STRUT: dialect acquisition in a second language. Journal of English linguistics, 41 (1). pp. 65-93. ISSN 0075-4242

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Abstract

This study investigates the acquisition of a local variant of the STRUT vowel in the speech of Polish migrants living in Manchester, United Kingdom. While the local accent has no distinction between STRUT and FOOT, the incoming Polish speakers arrive using something close to the standard pedagogical model of British English pronunciation, which clearly separates the two. Measuring the change in production toward the local variant along with corresponding social factors suggests that, in addition to the experiential factors of length of residence and having a native-speaker partner, attitude toward Manchester also affects the degree of vowel change, with a more positive attitude encouraging a greater degree of acquisition. The results are discussed in the context of individuals’ attitudes and use of the STRUT vowel as part of the process by which they position themselves in relation to the target community.

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