The Phonological Effect of Iraqi Arabic as a Heritage Language on Cardiff English as a Majority and Native Language for Adult Heritage Speakers of Arabic in Cardiff, the UK – Hamed Aljemaily

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Abstracts page

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  • Alison Wray

    Hamed, this is a nicely designed study. I’ll be interested to hear what you find out. I’m guessing that you havesome reason for thinking there will be an effect on the Cardiff English of your Iraqi Arabic heritage group – that you have observed this phenomenon informally.
    I have two questions, or things you might think about.
    1. Assuming you do find an effect, would you want to explain it primarily in terms of phonological transfer by each individual person who has the features, or as a more sociolinguistic phenomenon?
    In the former case, it would be like when we hear tourists speaking English. They have phonological patterns reflecting their mother tongue, but they are not particularly intending to signal their identity that way, it just happens.
    In the latter, speakers would adopt or sustain features in their English that signal their identity with the heritage group, and we could think of it as a sub-variety of English in its own right. In that case, in theory, their non-Arabic speaking friends might also adopt the same phonological featurs if they felt affiliated to that group.
    What do you think?
    2. Do you think that Cardiff English is a special case in any way? It is a quite marked variety phonologically, but also one that is potentially undergoing change anyway. I just wondered if some varieties are inherently more fluid and amenable to modification than others. There are specialists who know this sort of thing – I don’t. It just occurred to me to raise it, because it might help you comment on whether you’d expect that your findings in Cardiff would or wouldn’t be likely to be generalisable to other locations in the UK.

  • Hamed Aljemaily

    Thank you for your comments and for raising these questions, Dr. Wray.

    Although I have not reported the findings nor completed the analysis yet, I might speculate that:
    1- with respect to the first question, althoughl the focus of the study is to find out whether there is an effect and to try to pinpoint any possible interference; it is still a good idea to look at the interpretations or reasons behind this effect, if it exists. It could be attributed to sociolinguistic aspects (identity), interference from the heritage language in the production of English, or my be other reasons.

    2- when it comes to the second question, as far as I know, Cardiff English is phonologically a different variety regardless of how big the difference is from other Varieties (accents) spoken in the UK or other Englishes.
    Although Some studies have lumped all English varieties spoken in South Wales under one variety, others have pinpointed a number of slight phonological distinctions in Cardiff English (e.g. Wells, 1982).

    Thank you again for raising these points; and apologies if I couldn’t make my points very clear.

  • Mashael Assaadi

    Hi Hamed, this is very interesting topic. I have one question regarding to the methodology. I wonder why did you choose to have the participants read texts rather than having them express themselves spontaneously? For example, asking them general questions!

  • Kate Kavanagh

    Hi Hamed, thanks for your poster! The study is explained clearly but I wondered, like Alison, what made you pick this topic? Do you have a particular application in mind for your findings? Cheers!

  • Zeen Al-Rasheed

    Hi Hamed, the poster explicates your research topic very well; thank you! I would suggest that you could investigate further about the influence of the phonological pattern outcomes specifically on the people surrounding the Iraqi Arabic group and as Dr Wary has thankfully mentioned their influence could be considered “as a sub-variety of English in its own right”. Also, I wonder if it’d be helpful to choose another younger group within the same background in order to explore whether the phonological features found within the adult group can affect those in the younger group or not? All best wishes.

  • Katharine Young

    Hi Hamed, this is a really interesting poster, thanks for sharing your research! I had a question about how you defined the Cardiff English accent. I know Coupland (1998) has a detailed summary of phonological and prosodic features of CE, have you used this? I have a colleague in the School of Welsh currently looking at Welsh language phonology in Cardiff, and I think he’s found some overlap between Cardiff English and new speaker varieties of Welsh here. It’s a fascinating topic, what are you expecting to find?

  • Hamed Aljemaily

    Hi all and thank you all for your feedback, questions, comments, and suggestions. All your points are valuable and useful.

    Mashael, Yes, some studies have investigated spontaneous speech. However, in my study, I have focused only on reading texts as stimuli which has been adopted from Flege (2006).

    Kate, one of the reasons behind the investigation of this topic is to find out how this distinctive category of bilinguals produces their majority language, namely English). In other words, this study mainly aims to look auditorily and relying on the accentedness ratings to see whether the heritage language interferes in the articulation of English segments resulting in any possible accented or deviated articulations. Furthermore, departing from the literature review and the outcomes of the accentedness ratings, I will acoustically attempt to pinpoint any possible affected segments; and to investigate whether the outcomes of accentedness ratings correspond to the acoustic measurements.

    Zeen, I appreciate your suggestions, what you have pointed out is very helpful and worth consideration, thank you.

    Katharine, thank you for pointing out Nikolas Coupland’s works (1998 and others) that discuss the phonology of Cardiff English. Generally, some studies (e.g. Wells (1982)) have indicated the influence of Welsh language on English in Wales in general and in Cardiff in particular even though an individual does not speak Welsh (Hickey 2004).

    Again, Thanks all

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