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Regional diversity in social perceptions of (ing)

  • Erik Schleef (a1), Nicholas Flynn (a2) and William Barras (a3)

Abstract

This article examines the perception of the (ing) variants, [ɪŋ] and [ɪn], in three regionally distinct localities in Britain: London in the South of England; Manchester in the North; and Edinburgh in Scotland. Data was gathered in perceptual tests in which respondents from each location rated stimuli doublets, each containing only one of the variants of (ing), on multiple social attribute scales. In London and Manchester, the perception of [ɪŋ] and [ɪn] broadly matches findings made for the United States in that speakers using [ɪŋ] are considered more articulate and hardworking, and less casual than speakers using [ɪn]. In Edinburgh, results are markedly different. We argue that these differences are due to a combination of factors that include the historical development of (ing) in a particular locale, which led to differences in production, variations in language ideology and, as a result, class-specific evaluations that appear to be regionally dependent.

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