Dialect Levelling And Accommodation Theory

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Although the phenomenon of Dialect Levelling does not centre its attention on people we can say that it is correlated to the phenomenon of accommodation theory. Dialect Levelling occurs when the differences between regional varieties of two languages over time are reduced. This causes the disappearance of distinctive features while new features that emerge are adopted by speakers over the regional area. So this phenomenon focuses mainly on the variation between two languages of specific areas. The accommodation theory has as its main subject speakers and the reason why these naturally converge (changing of speech) towards the people that are listening.

To understand the relationship between Dialect Levelling and Accommodation theory we
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Dialect and Levelling, slide 11}

2. Under this aspect, we have to consider the contact between different social classes. Every language varies according to social dimension so we can find a vast gap between working-class speakers and higher class ones. In fact from the way someone speaks we can detect social information finding out where someone comes from. There are different occasions in which these social groups come into contact with each other.
Starting with interaction between people of different classes because of the shifting of work opportunities. For example, during the two world wars, there was a major change in social roles since men went to war and women had to take their places at work. This created a wider range of social contacts, with both different geographical and social backgrounds {Kerswill,Paul 2001;}. This is one of the main causes of social language
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Dialect and Levelling, Slide 3}. This makes us understand why dialect levelling occurs, as there are so many different variations of languages sometimes making it difficult to understand each other. This creates a necessity to have a common language around a wide area of speakers.

A few examples of phonological language changes are the T-glottalisation, where we have the [?] sound instead of the [t]. This was initially used in the London and Glasgow areas but nowadays it is used in most of Britain. Also, the TH-fronting where the /Ɵ/ and /ð/ sounds are substituted by the /f/ and /v/ sounds. In the last couple of decades this type of change has spread throughout all of the UK and while it used to be considered unusual it is now one of the most common pronunciation errors {Smith, A. Dialects and Levelling, Slide 17-19}.

An example of a language that was born from the phenomenon of Dialect Levelling is “Estuary English” this is a levelled dialect in the areas around London. As John Wells, a British linguist, says it can also be called “London English” because it is an intermediate between RP or Standard English and Cockney

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