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The Spoken English of Hong Kong: A study of Co-occurring Segmental Errors

By Richard Stibbard


<p>There is broad agreement as to many of the segmental features of the Hong Kong accent of English: neutralisation of vowels which contrast in Standard Southern British English or General American, non-release of final stops, simplification of consonant clusters and devoicing of coda consonants. However, while it is apparent that there is no reason why these features should not co-occur within single words, such co-occurrences have not been identified in previous studies, perhaps because treatments of HK pronunciation have generally used lists of words and have thus elicited atypically careful pronunciation. The connected speech data used in the present study indicates that findings from word lists may not apply to more naturalistic speech. In this study, speakers produced many words with more than one segment sounding like another English phoneme, sometimes affecting all the segments of a word. Although overt signs of misunderstanding hardly arose, this indicates merely that the lack of such overt signals is no sign of acceptability. Arguments that Hong Kong English pronunciation should be viewed as 'phonological' in its own right are rejected as inappropriate, both on grounds that this interpretation is not supported by the phonetics of the data, and more conclusively on sociolinguistic grounds.</p

Publisher: Multilingual Matters
Year: 2004
OAI identifier:

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