The Garstang Accent

Hindley, Barbara (2009) The Garstang Accent. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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There has been little research done into the Lancashire accent, particularly at a descriptive level but also from a soeiophonetic standpoint. The aim of this study is to identi& and describe the accent of Garstang as it exists now. This was
done by conducting a study of twenty people, aged between twenty and over eighty and living in a four mile radius of the centre of Garstang. The data consists of recorded interviews, informal conversation, and some formal tasks. Auditory and
acoustic analysis was performed on the data in order to provide a phoneme inventory and aspects such as rhoticity, glottaling and plosives were examined in greater detail.
A further element of the research was to investigate whether a language change was taking place, and, if so, which sociophonetic influences were responsible for the changes. Groups were therefore divided according to age, gender and location (rural or urban). In recent years, Garstang has experienced a steady rise in inhabitants from the more urban and industrial areas, and opportunities for contact-induced leveling have increased. Transport to cities and large areas of population is easily accessible and both diffusion and regional identity issues may have an effect on language outcome.
Results showed considerable variation in the accent, and also that many features that may have been commonplace in the area, such as rhoticity, have now disappeared, with the younger group showing no evidence of them. Other features
of a 'broad accent', if not an accent unique to Garstang, such as lack of diphthonging, are also limited to older speakers, with younger speakers appearing to opt for a wider-based general northern accent. Sociophonetic analysis suggests
that the older, more rural group use more traditional dialect forms and the younger group, particularly the urban inhabitants, use forms such as glottaling, which are widespread throughout the country.

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