A Sociophonetic Analysis of Islander Creole Rhotics


  • Falcon Restrepo-Ramos University of Florida


This study uses a combination of phonetic predictors and sociolinguistic factors to examine the variable production of rhotics in an English-based Creole in the Island of Old Providence, Colombia. Speech data were collected from five informants by means of sociolinguistic interviews and other-speech elicitation tasks, while 328 Praat-annotated tokens were extracted from a transcribed corpus of approximately 5,700 words. Rhotic production was examined according to several acoustic correlates (i.e., formant frequencies and segmental duration) and linguistic (i.e., word position and stress) and social (i.e., sex) factors. Formant frequencies in the form of F3 and F2 revealed a post-alveolar production, while F4 and F5 values suggested retroflex and bunched-tip realizations conditioned by sociolinguistic factors (Zhou et al, 2008). Mainly, it was found that postvocalic contexts significantly favor a bunched-tip realization. In addition, female informants favored a bunched variant by means of F3 and durational cues. This study sheds light on the relationship of sociolinguistic variables and acoustic predictors in the variable production of approximant rhotics in an English-based Creole in the Western Caribbean.