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Let's tink about dat: Interdental fricatives in Cajun English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2008

Sylvie Dubois
Affiliation:
Louisiana State University
Barbara M. Horvath
Affiliation:
University of Sydney

Abstract

The English of bilingual Cajuns living in southern Louisiana has been pejoratively depicted as an accented English; foremost among the stereotypes of Cajun English is the use of tink and dat for think and that. We present a variationist study of /θ/ and /ð/ in the speech of bilingual Cajuns in St. Landry Parish. The results show a complex interrelationship of age, gender, and social network. One of the major findings is a v-shaped age pattern rather than the regular generational model that is expected. The older generation use more of the dental variants [t, d] than all others, the middle-aged dramatically decrease their use, but the young show a level of usage closer to the old generation. The change is attributed to both language attrition and the blossoming of the Cajun cultural renaissance. Interestingly, neither young men in open networks nor women of all ages in open networks follow the v-shaped age pattern. In addition, they show opposite directions of change: men in open networks lead the change to [d], whereas women in open networks drop the dental variants of [t, d] almost entirely.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1998

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