Word-initial [h]-drop variation in Nmbo: Change-in-progress in an egalitarian multilingual speech community of Papua New Guinea

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This paper presents a natural speech corpus-based study of word-initial [h]-drop from the Nmbo speech community of southern Papua New Guinea. It is a speech community within a traditional egalitarian multilingual language ecology sustained by a practice of virilocal exogamy, and there is strong intergenerational transmission of local vernacular languages. This study investigates the propensity of word-initial [h]-drop in nouns, based on Nmbo speech data of Kerake tribe people. The results from the Nmbo Sociolinguistic Corpus shows clear age-conditioned variation, with younger speakers showing a higher propensity for [h]-drop. Nmbo speakers residing both within and outside their Nmbo villages of origin appear to be partaking in the innovative [h]-drop. The origin of the [h]-drop appears to be from the village with a more multilingual profile, as would be predicted by the notion of a multilingual feature pool (Cheshire, Kerswill, Fox, & Torgersen, 2011, Mufwene 2001).
TidskriftAsia-Pacific language variation
Sidor (från-till)250-277
Antal sidor28
StatusPublicerad - 2020
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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