The patterns of changing rhoticity in Trinidadian English among students of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine campus



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Although there are several studies that have been conducted within the Caribbean with regard to varieties of English, on an international scale, compared to the Caribbean in general, Phonological studies of other varieties of English are far more numerous. As a result, linguistic profiles have been built among these varieties. Generally speaking, the feature of rhoticity has been well documented with respect to rhotic and non-rhotic dialects. After previous conclusions were made that the Trinidadian variety of English is clearly non-rhotic, the argument now is that Trinidadian English is showing inconsistent levels of semi-rhoticity. Consequently, an investigation is needed to assist in determining whether Trinidadian English is or is not displaying more frequent patterns of rhoticity. This study aims to examine the patterns of rhoticity that occurs in Trinidadian English using a tertiary level population. This target population is gathered by use of stratified sampling, complimented by convenience sampling. The framework used to guide this study is based on the theory that /r/ is realized pre- and intervocalically, the former when preceded by the non-high vowels ([ɜ] [ə] [ɑ] [ɔ]) in particular. A variety of elicitation tasks is used along with an open dialogue of conversation which provides adequate opportunities for the occurrence of the rhotic features linking r, intrusive r and r-colouring. Conversely, this study also examines natural speech versus artificial speech. Therefore, a mixed methodology is used in order to provide an adequate analysis of the occurrences. The findings of this study fill the gap among this age group as no previous study has been conducted since Trinidadian English has recently begun to develop semi-rhoticity.


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