Age as a factor in ethnic accent identification in Singapore
Tan, Ying Ying
Date of Issue2012
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This study seeks to answer two research questions. First, can listeners distinguish the ethnicity of the speakers on the basis of voice quality alone? Second, do demographic differences among the listeners affect discriminability? A simple but carefully designed and controlled ethnic identification test was carried out on 325 Singaporean informants of the three major ethnic groups across three age groups in Singapore. The results show interesting age-related patterns in the identification of ethnicity in speakers of Singapore English. The results suggest that young Singaporeans may perhaps be deaf to ethnic variations. National policies and one's own ethnic consciousness (or lack thereof) may perhaps be responsible for creating this ‘deafness’.
Journal of multilingual and multicultural development