The fronting of the back vowel /u/is an ongoing sound change in many varieties of English. While /u/-fronting is argued to be primarily phonetically constrained, many studies report the significant role of various social factors, including ethnicity. This article investigates the linguistic and social conditioning of /u/-fronting in Toronto English. A sociophonetic analysis of /u/, extracted from spontaneous speech data of second-generation Filipinos and age-matched Anglos, was conducted to determine whether Filipinos exhibit /u/-fronting and to what extent coarticulatory and social factors affect degree of fronting. Results of a multivariate analysis show that male and female Filipinos produce fronted realizations of /u/as often as their Anglo peers. However, Filipinos exhibit greater fronting than Anglos in coronal and palatal contexts, which may be explained by cross-language influence from Tagalog. Taken together, this study suggests that, although Filipinos join other Torontonians in /u/-fronting, they nonetheless exhibit finer-grained differences when phonetic conditioning is taken into account.
Filipinos Front Too! A Sociophonetic Analysis of Toronto English /u/-Fronting
pocholo umbal is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. His research primarily focuses on phonetic variation in ethnic varieties of Canadian English as well as heritage languages in Toronto. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pocholo Umbal; Filipinos Front Too! A Sociophonetic Analysis of Toronto English /u/-Fronting. American Speech 1 November 2021; 96 (4): 397–423. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-9116273
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