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(r) we Americanised?: The emerging rhoticity features in China English

  • Jian Li

“Spa(R) … Could you tell me where I can find a spa(r)?” “Are you sure you want to find a spar?” A Chinese traveller, inquiring about the nearest spa while on a tour in South Africa, left the local hotel receptionist confused. This anecdote involved the overuse of the R-colouring sound and aroused my interest in rhoticity in China English. Rhoticity in English refers to ‘the production of historical or orthographic /r/ in the syllable coda of words such as father and card” (Becker, 2014: 141). However, since the R-colouring sound in English, a simple allophone feature, does not distinguish word meanings, its pronunciation features and phonological environments have seldom been taught in EFL classes in China.

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