"We Pray for Our Nation an(d) Our Worl(d)"
The Influence of Race and Audience Attitude on Coronal Stop Deletion at the Inaugural Prayer Services, 2001–2013
This paper examines the effect of race, context, and white public space on the extent to which speakers articulate, hyperarticulate, hypo-articulate, or glottalize word-final English alveolar stops -/t/ and -/d/ in the controlled environment of the quadrennial US Presidential Inaugural Prayer. It shows that African-American speakers hyperarticulated and articulated /t,d/ more frequently than the white speaker, who hypo-articulated and glottalized /t,d/ consistently, especially on words like God, Lord, and Christ. These results suggest that the highly formal context required African-American speakers to perform /t,d/ to index themselves as authorities to an unfamiliar, white audience, while the white speaker did not consider race to influence listeners’ judgements of him, allowing him to index familiarity and trustworthiness.
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