Friday, March 22, 2019 - 3:55pm to 4:40pm
103 Oxley Hall
Throughout its short history Miami-Dade County has experienced waves of migration from throughout the Southern US and Caribbean. As such, the region’s history of language contact has no doubt influenced the varieties of English spoken here. In light of past and current language contact, I explore variation in prosodic rhythm in the varieties of English spoken by two ethnic groups, African Americans and Haitian Americans.
Prosodic rhythm, or the durational variation of syllable, consonant, or vowel sequences, has been shown vary between English varieties, especially those with a history of language contact (e.g. Chicano English: Fought 2003). Miami African Americans have primarily moved from Georgia and Northern Florida, but the history of intimate contact with Bahamian immigrants and the Cuban influence over the region may have affected their varieties of English. Miami Haitian Americans are new to the region; many members of this ethnic group still speak Haitian Kreyol at home. Given this contact, Haitian American English prosodic rhythms would be expected to differ from that of their monolingual English-speaking peers, however societal pressures to assimilate towards African Americans has had past researchers proposing no difference between these two ethnic groups (e.g. Stepick et. al 2003). As such, I aim to answer the questions: (1) Does Miami African American English have similar prosodic rhythms to African American English in other US regions? and (2) How does the prosodic rhythm of Miami Haitian American English compare to the rhythms of the English varieties spoken by other Miami ethnicities?