A Speaker-focussed Study of Bristol English

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Abstractpeer-review


This thesis analyses the diversity, limits and extension of Bristol dialect areas based on the speakers’ own perception of their individual linguistic variety, as well as, providing academic evidence on Bristolians’ conviction that a north-south division of Bristol English exists. In this way, this study contributes to fill the existent gap of perceptual dialectological studies in the south of the UK (Montgomery, 2007: 352-3), and expands sociolinguistic research on Bristol English (Coates, 2016: 1; Wakelin, 1986: 197). The use of a tripartite approach, involving the ‘draw-a-map’ task (Preston, 1999), the ‘ranking and voice placement’ method (Preston, 1999), and the use of the acoustic analysis PRAAT software, will enable speaker-focussed’ evidence to be obtained for viability of different Bristol English categories. Moreover, a final acoustic scrutiny of voice samples from the perceptual dialect areas, will help to perform an empirical check on the veracity of local perceptions. This paper discusses the decision to use the draw-a-map task as the pivotal method to obtain the perceptual location and assessment of the dialect areas of Bristol, if any are proven, was based on Preston’s (1999) and Niedzielski & Preston’s (2000) approach to attitudinal fieldwork. According to these scholars, getting people to draw maps is arguably one of the best ways to find out opinions, prejudices and beliefs about specific areas, particularly about local speech (Niedzielski & Preston, 2000: 46). Therefore, this paper aims to point out the empirical foundations and the elaboration process of the map used in this study, as well as the practical implementation of the mapping activity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventLanguage and Borders: Rethinking Mobility, Migration and Space - University of Bristol
Duration: 27 Mar 201828 Mar 2018


ConferenceLanguage and Borders: Rethinking Mobility, Migration and Space


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