Emerging Hispanic English in the Southeast U.S.: Grammatical Variation in a Triethnic Community
This study investigates variable past tense marking patterns in an emerging variety of N.C. Hispanic English (n=44) spoken by language learners at three Length of Residency (LOR) groups in three schools in Durham, NC in terms of 1. lexical semantics (Andersen & Shirai 1996, Bayley 1999), 2. frequency (Guy & Erker 2012) 3. discourse structure (Bardovi-Harlig 1998) and 4. verb class and phonological environment (Wolfram 1985, Bayley 1994). Statistical results show significant effects of verb class, lexical aspect, and frequency and interacting effects of verb class and frequency (specifically, suppletives like copula are simultaneously highly frequent and highly phonetically salient). A subsample coded for the discourse factor shows some evidence for the correlation of copula and backgrounding function. A separate analysis of consonant cluster reduction patterns (CCR) demonstrates dialect acquisition of variable constraints (e.g. in terms of N.C. AAVE), namely phonological environment (_C > _V) and morphemic status (monomorpheme > bimorpheme). Pedagogical applications are discussed, including accurately identifying English Language Learners (ELLs) in the context of local/regional accommodation.
consonant cluster reduction
past tense variation
second language acquisition
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