Original Research

Segmental Phonology and Black South Mrican English Speakers: Communicative Success with Standard Dialect Listeners

Michelle Pascoe, Seppo Tuomi
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 47, No 2 | a983 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v47i2.983 | © 2023 Michelle Pascoe, Seppo Tuomi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 March 2023 | Published: 31 December 2000

About the author(s)

Michelle Pascoe, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Seppo Tuomi, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Abstract

The study investigated the nature of the listener confusion that occurs when Black South African English (BSAE) speakers communicated a list of common English words to speakers of Standard South African (StdSAE) English. Specific difficulties with vowels, diphthongs and consonants are discussed in terms of their effect on intelligibility. It is suggested that all segmental features of BSAE relate to two distinct levels: a functional (meaning) level and an aesthetic level. This study focused on the functional level, and aimed to describe the segmental features of BSAE speech that affect meaning. Such a distinction has particular relevance for speech and language therapists who need to have a clear rationale for their work with BSAE-speaking clients. Treatment of speech problems due to first language transfer, is discussed in terms of this emerging client group within South Africa, and more generally.

Keywords

phonology; Black South African English; Standard South African English; South Africa; language transfer; functional; aesthetic

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