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You are here: Home / News & Events / CLS Speaker Series / Li-Fang Lai (Penn State) - Intonation in Contact: Socioprosodic Variation Among Yami-Mandarin Bilinguals

Li-Fang Lai (Penn State) - Intonation in Contact: Socioprosodic Variation Among Yami-Mandarin Bilinguals

When Sep 20, 2019
from 09:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Where Moore 127
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Intonation in Contact: Socioprosodic Variation Among Yami-Mandarin Bilinguals

In contact settings, imbalanced intergroup relations and socioeconomic pressure play critical roles in determining the trajectory of language change. Yami, a moribund indigenous language spoken in Taiwan, is displaying rapid language loss and variation under cultural-economic pressure from Mandarin. In this talk, Lai will present a study that investigated socioprosodic variation in Yami-Mandarin bilingual speech, with a particular emphasis on Yami question intonation. The results show that younger bilingual speakers exhibited convergence toward Mandarin intonation. The declining use and prosodic changes of Yami, however, are not easily interpreted as a weakened Yami identity. Rather, it seems likely that younger speakers no longer use Yami to fulfill their communicative needs but instead lean on its socio-indexical functions to voice their ethnocultural identity. Lai will also describe her current project exploring regional prosodic variation in American English, examining potential links between prosodic distinctiveness and a speaker’s regional and social identities.