Upcoming

February 1, 2020

Foreign Loanwords and Pronunciation Choices in American English: Place Names and Other Proper Nouns

Mary Sepp (Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York)

Time: 11am - 12noon
Venue: Room S737, Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007


This study examines shifts and variation in the pronunciation of foreign place names and other proper nouns in American English, in the context of the present culture of globalization. Change or variation in the familiar American English pronunciation of country names such as Qatar and Niger to ostensibly more native-sounding pronunciations inspired this investigation. The talk will address some of the reasons or motivations for pronunciation variation and detail the specific findings of the study.

The research takes both a qualitative and a quantitative approach, based on observations of news broadcasts, survey data, and recordings of 77 speakers of American English. The quantitative analysis was performed, examining possible factors driving or resisting more native-like pronunciations, based on the 77 recordings. These factors include age, gender, education, occupation, news consumption habits, and language profile (monolingual, bi-, multi-lingual). The predictive effect of these variables was computed using a multiple regression analysis, which produced a model accounting for 38% (p < .001) of the variance in pronunciation choice.

Notes:

  • This is a different room from last semester!
  • All attendees will be asked to show some form of ID in order to enter the college.
  • Attendees are invited to join the speaker for lunch at a nearby restaurant afterward (at their own expense).
  • There will be a meeting of the ILA's Executive Board from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the same day (N499).
  • Monthly Lectures 2019-2020

    Date Title Speaker (Affiliation)
    Oct 5, 2019 Cordless or cordfree? What's the difference? Mark Aronoff (Stony Brook University)
    Nov 2, 2019 White Settler Colonialism, Integration and Language Eve Haque (York University, City University of New York)
    Dec 7, 2019 Integrating the History of Spanish and the History of New York: On the Political Nature of Linguistic Research José del Valle (CUNY Graduate Center)
    Feb 1, 2020 Foreign Loanwords and Pronunciation Choices in American English: Place Names and Other Proper Nouns Mary Sepp (Borough of Manhattan Community College)
    Mar 7, 2020 TBA Angela Reyes (CUNY Hunter College)
    Apr 4, 2020 TBA Tammy Gales (Hofstra University)
    All Rights Reserved @ ILA 2014-2019.
    This website is operated by The Halliday Centre for Intelligent Applications of Language Studies, City University of Hong Kong.