A paper entitled “Unity and diversity in Asian American language variation: Data from Chinese, Filipino, Korean, and Vietnamese Americans” (Chang & Dionne, 2022) has been published in the open-access journal Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics.
Abstract: The present study examined sociophonetic variation in a small sample of Asian Americans in Boston, Massachusetts representing four ethnic groups: Chinese, Filipino, Korean, and Vietnamese. Analyzing these speakers’ English production in tasks eliciting both casual and careful speech, we focused on four linguistic features comprising features observed in Eastern New England and in certain Asian American groups. Three features (R-DELETION, L-VOCALIZATION, L/R-CONFLATION) were coded auditorily and one (LOW BACK RAISING of /ɑ/ to /ɔ/) acoustically. Overall, results showed low use of Eastern New England features (R-DELETION, LOW BACK RAISING), high use of L-VOCALIZATION, and no use of L/R-CONFLATION, but also significant differences in specific patterns of use according to ethnicity and speech style. Ethnicity was a significant predictor of the occurrence of R-DELETION and L-VOCALIZATION, and also a significant predictor of first formant (F1) values in the low back vowels, although no clear vowel merger was found. Careful speech showed lower rates of R-DELETION and L-VOCALIZATION and less overlap of the low back vowels as compared to casual speech. These findings reveal similarities and differences in speech production among ethnically diverse Asian Americans and highlight the need for further investigation of phonetic variation within this community.