3 1 2-9 2017

The Young and the Old: (t) Release in Elderspeak

James Michaelov


Elderspeak refers to a speech style used when talking to the elderly. The aim of this study was to find out whether a higher rate of standard phonetic variants of phonemes is a feature of elderspeak. To test this, the (t) release in the speech of the radio presenter Kirsty Young was analysed, comparing her speech towards younger and older guests. A significant correlation was found between her rate of (t) release and the age of the guests. After analysing the results, an alternative account of elderspeak is presented as well as possible avenues of future research.


style shifting; intraspeaker variation; sociophonetics; UK English; elder-directed speech

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.2218/ls.v3i1.2017.1823


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