Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

‘The rez accent knows no borders’: Native American ethnic identity expressed through English prosody

  • Kalina Newmark (a1), Nacole Walker (a2) and James Stanford (a3)
Abstract
Abstract

In many Native American and Canadian First Nations communities, indigenous languages are important for the linguistic construction of ethnic identity. But because many younger speakers have limited access to their heritage languages, English may have an even more important role in identity construction than Native languages do. Prior literature shows distinctive local English features in particular tribes. Our study builds on this knowledge but takes a wider perspective: We hypothesize that certain features are shared across much larger distances, particularly prosody. Native cultural insiders (the first two co-authors) had a central role in this project. Our recordings of seventy-five speakers in three deliberately diverse locations (Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, North/South Dakota; Northwest Territories, Canada; and diverse tribes represented at Dartmouth College) show that speakers are heteroglossically performing prosodic features to index Native ethnic identity. They have taken a ‘foreign’ language (English) and enregistered these prosodic features, creatively producing and reproducing a shared ethnic identity across great distances. (Native Americans, prosody, ethnicity, ethnic identity, English, dialects)*

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: James Stanford, Linguistics Program, Dartmouth College, 6220 Reed Hall, Hanover, NH 03755, USA James.N.Stanford@Dartmouth.edu
References
Hide All
AghaAsif (2003). The social life of a cultural value. Language and Communication 23:231–73.
AghaAsif (2006). Language and social relations. New York: Cambridge University Press.
AlfordDan (1974). The Cheyenne dialect of English and its educational implications. Box Elder, MA: Northern Cheyenne Bilingual Program.
AlimH. Samy, & Reyes Angela (2011). Complicating race: Articulating race across multiple social dimensions. Discourse and Society 22(4):379–84.
AllardSydney; Atcitty Kayla; Cooper Zachary; & Seawright Maggie (2014). The frybread recordings [audio recording]. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College.
AndersonBridget (1999). Source-language transfer and vowel accommodation in the patterning of Cherokee English. American Speech 74(4):339–68.
ArvanitiAmalia, & Garding Gina (2008). Dialectal variation in the rising accents of American English. In Cole Jennifer & Hualde Jose Ignacio (eds.), Laboratory phonology 9, 547–76. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
AstrucLluisa (2013). Prosody. In Jones Mark & Knight Rachael-Anne (eds.), The Bloomsbury companion to phonetics, 126–39. London: Bloomsbury.
AustinPeter (2008). One thousand languages: Living, endangered, and lost. Berkeley: University of California Press.
BakhtinMikhail (1981). Discourse in the novel. In Bakhtin Mikhail, The dialogic imagination (ed. by Holquist Michael, trans. by Emerson Caryl & Holquist Michael), 259422. Austin: University of Texas Press.
BallJessica, & Bernhardt B. May (2008). First Nations English dialects in Canada: Implications for speech-language pathology. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics 22(8):570–88.
BarteltH. Guillermo; SusanPenfield-Jasper; & Hoffer Bates (eds.) (1982). Essays in Native American English. San Antonio, TX: Trinity University.
BassoKeith (1970). ‘To give up on words’: Silence in Apache culture. Southwest Journal of Anthropology 26(3):213–38.
BaumanRichard (2000). Language, identity, performance. Pragmatics 10:15.
BaumanRichard (2011). Commentary: Foundations in performance. Journal of Sociolinguistics 15:707–20.
BaumanRichard & Sherzer Joel (eds.) (1989). Explorations in the ethnography of speaking. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
BearCharla (2008). American Indian boarding schools haunt many. May 12, National Public Radio. Online: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16516865.
BellAllan, & Gibson Andy (2011). Staging language: An introduction to the sociolinguistics of performance. Journal of Sociolinguistics 15(5):555–72.
BlommaertJan (2005). Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
BoersmaPaul, & Weenink David (2014). Praat: Doing phonetics by computer [computer program]. Online: http://www.praat.org/.
BowieDavid; Dannenberg Clare; & Kubitskey Katie (2013). ‘I'm not in the book’: Towards an understanding of authenticity in Alaska Native language. Paper presented at New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV-42), Pittsburgh.
BrandtJennifer, & Smith Raymond (2013). The American Indian and Alaska Native urban population. Columbia University Academic Commons. Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D8P55KJ2.
BrantCharles S. (1950). Peyotism among the Kiowa-Apache and neighboring tribes. Southwest Journal of Anthropology 6(2):212–22.
BucholtzMary (1999). ‘Why be normal?’: Language and identity practices in a community of nerd girls. Language in Society 28:203–23.
BucholtzMary (2009). From stance to style: Gender, interaction, and indexicality in Mexican immigrant youth slang. In Jaffe Alexandra (ed.), Stance: Sociolinguistic perspectives, 146–70. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
ChafeWallace (1994). Discourse, consciousness, and time. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
CheshireJenny; Kerswill Paul; Fox Sue; & Torgersen Eivind (2011). Contact, the feature pool and the speech community: The emergence of Multicultural London English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 15:151–96.
ChunElaine (2001). The construction of White, Black, and Korean American identities through African American Vernacular English. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 11:5264.
ClarkMaureen Ann (2012). The social construction of urban American Indian teen's identity: How to be an Indian. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota dissertation.
ClarkJohn, & Yallop Colin (1995). An introduction to phonetics and phonology. 2nd edn. Oxford: Blackwell.
CoggshallElizabeth (2008). The prosodic rhythm of two varieties of Native American English. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 14(2):19.
Colazo-SimonAntonia (2007). Les phénomènes glottaux en situation de contact linguistique: Espagnol-Maya du Yucatán, Mexique. Paris: Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris III dissertation.
CouplandNikolas (2001). Language, situation, and the relational self. In Eckert Penelope & Rickford John (eds.), Style and sociolinguistic variation, 185210. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
CouplandNikolas (2007). Style: Language variation and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
CraigBeth (1991). American Indian English. English World-Wide 12:2561.
CruttendenAlan (1997). Intonation. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
DannenbergClare (1999). Grammatical and phonological manifestations of null copula in a triethnic contact situation. Journal of English Linguistics 27(1):356–70.
DannenbergClare (2002). Sociolinguistic constructs of ethnic identity: The syntactic delineation of a Native American English. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
DannenbergClare, & Wolfram Walt (1998). Ethnic identity and grammatical restructuring: Bes in Lumbee English. American Speech 73:153–69.
EckertPenelope (2005). Variation, convention, and social meaning. Plenary address at the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Oakland, California, January 7.
EnfieldN. J., & Sidnell Jack (2014). Language presupposes an enchronic infrastructure for social interaction. In Dor Daniel, Knight Chris, & Lewis Jerome (eds.), The social origins of language, 92104. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ervin-TrippSusan (1973). Children's sociolinguistic competence and dialect diversity. In Ervin-Tripp Susan, Language acquisition and communicative choice: Essays, 262301. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
FaircloughNorman (2001). Language and power. 2nd edn. Harlow: Pearson.
FlaniganBeverly (1987). Language variation among Native Americans: Observations on Lakota English. Journal of English Linguistics 20:181–99.
FoughtCarmen (2003). Chicago English in context. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
FoughtCarmen (2006). Language and ethnicity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
GiddensAnthony (1979). Central problems in social theory: Action, structure, and contradiction in social analysis. Berkeley: University of California Press.
GiddensAnthony (1991). Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the Late Modern Age. Cambridge: Polity.
GoffmanErving (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Doubleday.
GreenLisa (2002). African American English: A linguistic introduction. New York: Cambridge University Press.
GrenobleLenore, & Whaley Lindsay (1998). Endangered languages: Current issues and future prospects. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
GuyGreg; Horvath Barbara; Vonwiller Julia; Daisley Elaine; & Rogers Inge (1986). An intonation change in progress in Australian English. Language in Society 15:2352.
HartJohan ’t; Collier René; & Cohen Antonie (1990). A perceptual study of intonation: An experimental-phonetic approach to speech melody. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
HazenKirk (2000). Identity and ethnicity in the rural south. Durham, NC: American Dialect Society and Duke University Press.
HertzbergHazel (1971). The search for an American Indian identity: Modern Pan-Indian movements. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
HillJane (1995). Junk Spanish, covert racism, and the (leaky) boundary between public and private spheres. Pragmatics 5(2):197212.
HintonLeanne, & Hale Kenneth (2001). The green book of language revitalization in practice. San Diego: Academic Press.
HornbergerNancy, & McKay Sandra (2010). Sociolinguistics and language education. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
HymesDell (1974). Foundations of sociolinguistics: An ethnographic approach. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
JaffeAlexandra (2009). The sociolinguistics of stance. In Jaffe Alexandra (ed.), Stance: Sociolinguistic perspectives, 228. New York: Oxford University Press.
JaffeAlexandra; MichèleKoven Perrino Sabina; & Vigouroux Cécile (2015). Introduction: Heteroglossia, performance, power, and participation. Language in Society 44:135–39.
JohnstoneBarbara (2004). Place, globalization, and linguistic variation. In Fought Carmen (ed.), Sociolinguistic variation: Critical reflections, 6583. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
JohnstoneBarbara (2011). Dialect enregisterment in performance. Journal of Sociolinguistics 15(5): 657–79.
JohnstoneBarbara; JenniferAndrus; & Danielson Andrew (2006). Mobility, indexicality, and the enregisterment of ‘Pittsburghese’. Journal of English Linguistics 34:77104.
KerswillPaul, & Williams Ann (2000). Creating a New Town koine: Children and language change in Milton Keynes. Language in Society 29:65115.
KieslingScott (2009). Style as stance: Stance as the explanation for patterns of sociolinguistic variation. In Jaffe Alexandra (ed.), Stance: Sociolinguistic perspectives, 171–94. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
KwatchkaPatricia (2013). Alaskan Englishes. In Hopkins Tometro (ed.), World Englishes, vol. 2, 187–54. London: Bloomsbury.
LaddD. Robert (2008). Intonational phonology. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
LadefogedPeter (2006). A course in phonetics. 5th edn. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth.
LanehartSonja (ed.) (2001). Sociocultural and historical contexts of African American English. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
LeapWilliam L. (1974). Ethnics, emics and the ‘new’ ideology: The identity potential of Indian English. In Fitzgerald Thomas (ed.), Social and cultural identity, 5162. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
LeapWilliam L. (ed.) (1977a). Studies in Southwestern Indian English. San Antonio, TX: Trinity University Press.
LeapWilliam L. (1977b). Two examples of Isletan English syntax. In Leap (1977a), 6578.
LeapWilliam L. (1993). Native American English. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
LeechmanDouglas, & Hall RobertJr. (1955). American Indian Pidgin English: Attestations and grammatical peculiarities. American Speech 30(3):163–71.
Liebe-HarkortMarie-Louise (1983). A note on the English spoken by Apaches. International Journal of American Linguistics 49:207–8.
LlamasCarmen (2007). A place between places: Language and identities in a border town. Language in Society 36(4):579604.
MalanconRichard, & Jo Malancon Mary (1977). Indian English at Haskell Institute. In Leap (1977a), 141–54.
McDonoughJoyce, & Lachler Jordan (2012). The toy game: A technique for collecting natural conversation and prosody in the field. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester, ms. Online: http://www.sas.rochester.edu/lin/DeneSpeechAtlas/dene-language-groups/dene-suline/cold-lake/conversation-toy-game.html.
MeekBarbra (2006). And the Injun goes ‘How!’: Representations of English in white public space. Language in Society 35(1):93128.
Mendoza-DentonNorma (2002). Language and identity. In Chambers J. K., Trudgill Peter, & Schilling-Estes Natalie (eds.), The handbook of language variation and change, 475–99. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Mendoza-DentonNorma (2008). Homegirls: Language and cultural practice among Latina youth gangs. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
MeyerhoffMiriam (2003). Claiming a place: Gender, knowledge, and authority as emergent properties. In Holmes Janet & Meyerhoff Miriam (eds.), The handbook of language and gender, 301–26. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
MufweneSalikoko; Rickford John; Bailey Guy; & Baugh John (eds.) (1998). African American Vernacular English. London: Routledge.
NagelJoane (1996). American Indian ethnic renewal: Red power and the resurgence of identity and culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
NewmarkKalina; Walker Nacole; Allard Sydney; Atcitty Kayla; Cooper Zachary; & Seawright Maggie (2014). More than frybread: English prosody and Native American ethnic identity. Paper presented at New Ways of Analyzing Variation 43, October 23–26, Chicago.
NolanFrancis (2003). Intonational equivalence: An experimental evaluation of pitch scales. In Solé Maria Josep, Recasens Daniel, & Romero Joaquin (eds.), Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences, 771–74. Barcelona: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.
PenfieldSusan (1977). Some examples of Southwestern Indian English compared. In Leap (1977a), 2344.
PhilipsSusan (1974). Warm Springs ‘Indian time’: How the regulation of participation affects the progress of events. In Bauman & Sherzer, 92109.
PierrehumbertJanet (1980). The phonology and phonetics of English intonation. Cambridge, MA: MIT dissertation.
PodesvaRobert (2007). Phonation type as a stylistic variable: The use of falsetto in constructing a persona. Journal of Sociolinguistics 11:478504.
PrestonDennis (2015). The silliness of the standard. Representaciones 11(2):5980.
ReyesAngela (2002). ‘Are you losing your culture?’: Poetics, indexicality, and Asian American identity. Discourse Studies 4(2):183–99.
RickfordJohn (1999). African American Vernacular English. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
RicoeurPaul (1978). Structure, word, event. In Reagan Charles & Stewart David (eds.), The philosophy of Paul Ricoeur, 109–19. Boston: Beacon Press.
RossElliot; Edmondson Jerold; & Seibert Burton (1986). The effect of affect on various acoustic measures of prosody in tone and non-tone languages: A comparison based on computer analysis of voice. Journal of Phonetics 14:283302.
RowickaGrazyna (2005). American Indian English: The Quinault case. English World-Wide 26(3):301–24.
Schilling-EstesNatalie (2004). Constructing ethnicity in interaction. Journal of Sociolinguistics 8(2):163–95.
SchneiderEdgar (ed.) (1996). Focus on the USA. Philadelpha: John Benjamins.
ScollonRonald, & Wong-Scollon Suzanne (1990). Athabaskan-English interethnic communication. In Carbaugh Donal (ed.), Cultural communication and intercultural contact, 259–86. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
SharmaDevyani (2011). Style repertoire and social change in British Asian English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 15(4):464–92.
ShoemakerNancy (1988). Urban Indians and ethnic choices: American Indian organizations in Minneapolis, 1920–1950. The Western Historical Quarterly 19(4):431–47.
SilversteinMichael (1996). Monoglot ‘standard’ in America: Standardization and metaphors of linguistic hegemony. In Brenneis Donald & Macauley Ron K. S. (eds.), The matrix of language: Contemporary linguistic anthropology, 284306. Boulder, CO: Westview.
SilversteinMichael (2003). Indexical order and the dialectics of sociolinguistic life. Language and Communication 23(3/4):193229.
StanfordJames N. (2008). A sociotonetic analysis of Sui dialect contact. Language Variation and Change 20(3):409–50.
StanfordJames N. (2015). Sociotonetics R scripts July 13 2015.txt [software]. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College.
TannenDeborah (2009). Abduction, dialogicality and prior text: The taking on of voices in conversational discourse. Plenary address at the 84th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Baltimore, Maryland, January 8.
ThomasRobert (1965). Pan-Indianism. Midcontinent American Studies Journal 6(2):7583.
TorgersenEivind, & Szakay Anita (2012). An investigation of rhythm in London English. Lingua 122(7):822–40.
TurkewitzJulie (2015). A Navajo inauguration, minus a new leader. The New York Times, January 16.
WolframWalt (1984). Unmarked tense in American Indian English. American Speech 59:3150.
WolframWalt, & Dannenberg Clare (1999). Dialect identity in a tri-ethnic context: The case of Lumbee American Indian English. English World-Wide 20(2):179216.
WolframWalt; Dannenberg Clare; Knick Stanley; & Oxendine Linda (2002). Fine in the world: Lumbee language in time and place. Raleigh: North Carolina State Extension Publications.
WolframWalt, Dannenberg Clare; Knick Stanley; Oxendine Linda & Schilling-Estes Natalie (2006). American English. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
WolframWalt, Dannenberg Clare; Knick Stanley; Oxendine Linda; Schilling-Estes Natalie & Thomas Erik (2002). The development of African American English. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
XuYi (1999). Effects of tone and focus on the formation and alignment of F0 contours. Journal of Phonetics 27:55105.
Yaeger-DrorMalcah, & Fagyal Zsuzsanna (2011). Anayzing prosody: Best practices for theanalysis of prosody. In Di Paolo Marianna & Yaeger-Dror Malcah (eds.), Sociophonetics: A student's guide, 119–30. London: Routledge.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Language in Society
  • ISSN: 0047-4045
  • EISSN: 1469-8013
  • URL: /core/journals/language-in-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 46
Total number of PDF views: 321 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 2238 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 9th September 2016 - 21st October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.