Intra-ethnic differentiation and cross-ethnic English

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Schilling-Estes, Natalie. “Intra-ethnic differentiation and cross-ethnic English.” Paper presented at NWAVE 26 Conference, October 1997. 32 pages.


Summarizes the results of a synchronic and diachronic analysis of patterning of the /ay/ diphthong among Lumbee speakers. Studies these variants of /ay/; (1) monophthongal or glide-shorted ([a:]); (2) backed or back-raised; and (3) [aI]. Discovers a good deal of heterogeneity in use of the diphthong. Data came from over 70 sociolinguistic interviews conducted by the North Carolina Language and Life project since 1994 and from interviews Adolph Dial conducted with 50 speakers between 1969 and 1971. Divided speakers into four generational groups and three locational subgroups (whether the speaker grew up in Prospect, Union Chapel, or another Lumbee community). 

The author presents detailed analysis of the results. She determined, for instance, that [*^I] correlates with isolation for speakers in the Prospect community between World War I and World War II; it also acts as a marker of membership in an intra-ethnic group. The overall decline of this older variant could be occurring due to increased Lumbee contact with non-Lumbees and pressures for them to show internal cohesiveness (linguistic diversity might be seen by non-Lumbees as lack of unity). She concludes that “the heterogeneity is orderly and, in this case, can be explained in terms of (1) importance of intra-ethnic community affiliation within the larger Lumbee community, (2) the different sources and different social meanings of backed/raised /ay/ and in terms of increasing and decreasing levels of contact, and in terms of an ever-increasing need for the Lumbee to demonstrate a highly focused image of the true Indian....” (p. 8)

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7 notes, 19 references
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