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The voice of Polan[t]: The acquisition of English (t,d) variation by Polish migrants in Edinburgh

Issue: Vol 14 No. 1-2 (2020)

Journal: Sociolinguistic Studies

Subject Areas: Gender Studies Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/sols.34960


We use the methods of variationist sociolinguistics to explore the acquisition of variable deletion of the final stop in /-Cd/ and /-Ct/ clusters in English. Our speakers are Polish teenagers who migrated to Edinburgh (UK). We compare the frequency of (t,d) deletion in Edinburgh- and Polish-born teens, and compare the constraints on variable (t,d) deletion. We find evidence that the Poles’ acquisition of (t,d) deletion is shaped by phonetic universals. We also consider the impact of L1 transfer – specifically final stop devoicing in Polish – on the acquisition of English (t,d) deletion and find that largely (t,d) deletion is acquired independently of Polish devoicing. The exception may be learners who have been learning English for a very short time, or who are less confident in their target language skills.

Author: Agata Daleszynska-Slater, Miriam Meyerhoff

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