Variation and change in the short vowels of Delhi English

Raphaël Domange
2020 Language Variation and Change  
Although the sound system of Indian English has been the object of numerous publications over the years, there has been a remarkable scarcity of variationist sociolinguistic research carried out on the topic. The present study addresses this gap by describing the short front vowels of 22 lifelong English-speaking Delhi residents born between 1948 and 1992. Focusing more specifically on variation in the relative configuration of trap /æ/, dress /ɛ/, and kit /ɪ/, the study provides apparent-time
more » ... ides apparent-time evidence for a series of interrelated changes affecting the system. Those include an ongoing lowering of /æ/ and /ɛ/, as well as age-related variation in a previously unreported allophonic split of /ɪ/. I argue that these apparent-time patterns are amenable to an analysis in terms of chain shift, and I discuss the implications of such a claim, linking the phenomenon described to similar patterns reported in various other parts of the English-speaking world.
doi:10.1017/s0954394520000010 fatcat:tdxuhofzmfhjboera3etfbkj3m