The sociolinguistic profiling of (r) in Middlesbrough English

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This paper outlines findings from an on-going study of Middlesbrough English, presenting the sociolinguistic profiling of /r/. Gender differences are demonstrated in the distribution of variants, and two processes of linguistic change are illustrated in the variation revealed over apparent time. The emergence of a current innovation, that of [¿], in Middlesbrough is presented in the data. The paper seeks to identify those speakers in the sample responsible for the adoption of the new variant, and also to speculate on the motivation for its introduction. As the spread of [¿] is concurrent with several other widespread changes in British English, a comparative analysis is offered of the emergence of another feature, that of (th) fronting. The motivation for speakers' adoption of the innovations is considered in light of more individual profiles of the speakers responsible for their use
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-139
Number of pages16
JournalEtudes et Travaux
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Innovation
  • Linguistic change
  • Motivation
  • Sexual differentiation
  • Language use
  • Consonant
  • Phonetic articulation
  • Pronunciation
  • Phonetic variation
  • Sociolinguistics

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