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Extrinsic indexical characteristics of Varaždin and Osijek dialect speakers


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Varošanec-Škarić, Gordana and Kišiček, Gabrijela. (2009). Extrinsic indexical characteristics of Varaždin and Osijek dialect speakers. Suvremena lingvistika, 35(67). pp. 109-124. ISSN 1847-117X

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The aim of the study was to find out which stereotypical extrinsic indexical characteristics are ascribed to the speakers from two Croatian cities: Varaždin (Kajkavian origin) and Osijek (Shtokavian origin). The question was whether negative indexical characteristics depend on the geographical region or are they simply referred to as regional speech, as well as how much of this regional accent is tolerated among the listeners. Altogether there were 40 subjects, same number of male and female subjects, 20 from each town. According to 40 randomly played 20–second samples of spontaneous speech, 28 listeners tried to make an evaluation of social and psychological indexical characteristic on the linear seven–degree scale. The final T–test results for all listeners haven’t shown any difference in evaluation of Varaždin and Osijek speakers’ regional quality. On the other hand, listeners of Kajkavian origin from Northwest Croatia rated all speakers significantly less regional than the listeners of Shtokavian origin from East Croatia did. However, the latter rated speakers from Osijek significantly better (p<0.0001), which is a sign of greater certainty due to the fact Croatian standard pronunciation is based on Shtokavian dialect. Procedure VARIMAX rotation of main components showed four factors: speech acceptability vs. unacceptability, psychological acceptability vs. unacceptability, liberal vs. conservative and likeable vs. not likeable. The factor of speech acceptability is highly significantly correlated with occupation (r = 0.957, p<0.0001), intelligence, education, higher social status, speech acceptability in public use and interest for becoming friendly with the speaker. It is in middle positive correlation with the evaluation of character and degree being liberal and in middle significant negative correlation with inferiority, degree of being conservative and being meek. Psychological acceptability factor is in high significant correlation with inferior, meek and underestimating character, and in middle negative correlation with occupation, education, speech acceptability in public use and higher social status. Psychological acceptability factor is in high significant correlation with inferior, meek and underestimating character, and in middle negative correlation with occupation, education, speech acceptability in public use and higher social status. The results have shown that speaker’s indexical information based on their city speech are notable and important to evaluators. It is interesting that there were no statistically significant differences concerning the regional determination of cities in factors of speech acceptability, psychological social empathy, liberality, conservativeness and likeability. Speakers from Osijek were evaluated as slightly better in the factor that refers to speech acceptability (social status, etc.), while speakers from Varaždin were evaluated as better in the factor of psychological– social empathy. Speakers who were evaluated as maximum confident, intellectual and cultivated were at the same time considered to be somehow aggressive, dominant and not to likeable. Their speech had characteristics of generally received Croatian pronunciation. Two speakers (one from Varaždin and the other from Osijek) whose speech was indexically evaluated as non–regional and acceptable for public use, have some common pronunciation characteristics: one–syllable pronunciation of long yat that they pronounce as half–long, middle pronunciation of affricate [t$], i. e. there is no difference between »soft« and »hard« affricate as codified language system proscribes, although it is a common thing in Croatian Received Pronunciation. The speaker from Varaždin regularly uses short dynamic stress instead of short–rising stress which is a noticeable tendency in Croatian widely accepted pronunciation. The speaker from Osijek uses four stresses which characteristic for codified standard and possible pronunciation in Croatian widely accepted pronunciation. Both of them use half–long–falling stress instead of the proscribed long–falling stress and don’t move the falling stresses onto the prefix, but leave the stress on the word that carries the meaning which is also a tendency in widely accepted pronunciation. It is noticeable that both of them have a good pronunciation of five cardinal proscribed vowels in Croatian codified and generally received pronunciation. The way vowels are pronounced is obviously a strong indicator of regional and non–regional pronunciation and speech acceptability in public use as it seems more important than the suprasegmental level of stress pronunciation. One can conclude that Croatian evaluators make difference between the prestigious speech in public use and emotional attitude towards the speakers. On the other side, that shows that they are sure of what are today characteristics of Croatian generally received pronunciation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sociophonetic research, indexical data, urban speakers, Croatian language
Subjects: Phonetics
Departments: Department of Phonetics
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2016 10:28
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2016 10:28

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