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Dialect Contact and Social Networks

Language Change in an Anglophone Community in Japan


Keiko Hirano

This book explores a dialect contact situation in a second language setting – native speakers of English coming to Japan from different parts of the world as English teachers. It focuses on an Anglophone community in which speakers are socially and geographically mobile and have loose-knit networks with speakers of different languages and dialects. This longitudinal sociolinguistic study aims to investigate the relatively short-term linguistic changes induced by frequent face-to-face interaction with speakers of different dialects and to illustrate the impact of social network effects. Statistical analyses reveal that the individual speakers’ interpersonal ties are important factors that influence the linguistic behaviour of the speakers in a dialect contact situation in an L2 setting.


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7 Results


7.1 Introduction In this chapter, the results of linguistic data analysis are presented separately ac- cording to the relevant variable and informant nationality—English, American or New Zealander—with each result focussing on the effects of the informants’ social networks. Results of five consonants—word-final intervocalic (t) (7.2), word-medial intervocalic (t) (7.3), postvocalic (t) (7.4), non-prevocalic (r) (7.5) and /-t,d/ deletion (7.6)—and three vowels—TRAP (7.7), BATH (7.8) and THOUGHT (7.9)—will be reported in the following sections respectively. Other linguistic variables—intrusive (r), START, LOT and CLOTH vowels—which have not shown any statistically significant results will be briefly mentioned later (7.10). The results of combined variables of vowels (e.g., TRAP and BATH, BATH and START, CLOTH and LOT/THOUGHT) will be presented in the relevant sections. The presentation of results for each linguistic variable consists of four parts: a brief introduction; a discussion of real-time change in the choice of variants; the social network effects on the linguistic changes; and, a discussion of the re- sults. First of all, the number of tokens and percentage rate for each variant of the linguistic variable will be presented. The percentage shown with the token num- ber is simply calculated from the total number of tokens obtained from all the informants from each country and, therefore, is not going to be used for statisti- cal analyses in sections to follow because the percentage scores of individual informants will be used instead for statistical analyses using SPSS. In the section on...

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