3 1 20-27 2017

Goin’ Home: The Role of Vowel Raising in Indexing an Ethnic Identity

Suzey Ingold


Vowel height can be seen as a feature indexing a particular ethnic identity or indicating a style shift between two such identities. This paper focuses on Bradford-born South Asian musician Zayn Malik, an interesting subject given his prominent status as one of the most influential Asians in Britain today (Parveen 2016). I consider the role of vowel raising in the GOAT lexical set (Wells 1982) over the period of 2010 to 2016 and in style-shifting between casual, interview, and performative styles. The results of my study indicate significant differences in F1 and F2 values between particular years, and differences in F1 values between performative and interview speech. I explore these shifts in relation to the hostility Malik has faced and study the causes of his shifting, particularly in terms of speaker agency and audience design (Bell 1984).


style shifting; lifespan change; intraspeaker variation; sociophonetics; sociolinguistics; ethnicity; UK English

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.2218/ls.v3i1.2017.1825


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