A Pilot Study on Voice-Conditioned Vowel Raising Comparison in the Hockey Community of Practice
- Canadian English,
- sports linguistics,
This project investigates vowel raising in the hockey community of practice, specifically English-speaking athletes who are were born and raised in Central Canada or in the Northern Cities region of the United States. Research done on “Canadian raising” in North America looks at the type and location of use; I chose a narrow group of speakers based on the dominance of Canadian-born athletes in the community and the stereotype that they “sound Canadian.” The effect of the voicing of a post-vocalic consonant could have a deeper sociolinguistic connection regarding identity and speakers’ occupation. I compared their place of origin with their current place of residence to determine who has more contact with Canadian English speakers and would be influenced by their speech patterns to focus on the sociophonetic question.
My research question is about the cross-linguistic influence of English-speaking hockey players who are, through professional contact, exposed primarily to Canadian monolingual English speakers. The present study is motivated by sociophonetic considerations, and a focus on groups of athletes for sociolinguistic reasons influenced my choice to investigate this question. Because the raising can also be found in Inland North American English, I chose to include athletes from that region in this data. I recorded and measured examples of the athletes’ connected speech from video interviews and ran t-tests comparing the Canadian-born and American-born athletes together, and then dividing them by current place of residence for additional comparison. The results show promising preliminary results in line with speakers residing in Canada “sounding more Canadian” regardless of place of origin, however the t-tests are not significant. More data being collected in an appropriate setting would enhance these results and further study of multilingual athletes would further inform the sociophonetic aspect pertaining to sense of belonging and conformity in the hockey community of practice.