A first look at declarative rises as markers of ethnicity in Sydney

Author(s): Anna Jespersen


This paper investigates the differing distributions and phonetic properties of declarative rises in the English of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal speakers from Sydney. Declarative rises in both varieties can be divided into 5 broad types of rises based on f0 trajectory. It is shown that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal speakers use very similar amounts of declarative rises, both overall and within the 5 rise types. However, there is a robust difference in the height of the rises, with Aboriginal speakers consistently producing lower rises than the standard speakers. This suggests that Aboriginal Sydneysiders use declarative rises for sociophonetic purposes, and highlights the need to look beyond linguistic features that are stereotypically associated with a variety when investigating the speech of minority communities.