Canadian English in Saskatchewan: a sociolinguistic survey of four selected regions




Nylvek, Judith Anne

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The objective of this study is to provide detailed information regarding Canadian English as it is spoken by English-speaking Canadians who were born and raised in Saskatchewan and who still reside in this province. A data base has also been established which will allow real time comparison in future studies. Linguistic variables studied include the pronunciation of several individual lexical items, the use of lexical variants, and some aspects of phonological variation. Social variables deemed important include age, sex, urban/rural, generation in Saskatchewan, education, ethnicity, and multilingualism. The study was carried out using statistical methodology which provided the framework for confirmation of previous findings and exploration of unknown relationships. Before data collection, 17 a priori hypotheses were formulated and comprise the confirmatory aspect of the study. Two thousand postal questionnaires were distributed to residents in two urban (Saskatoon and Regina) and two rural (west of Saskatoon and east of Regina) areas primarily through high schools and senior citizen organizations. Of those returned, a total of 661 were included in this study. In addition, 75 residents were directly interviewed and tape recorded. The data were subjected to statistical analyses using a loglinear procedure which detects, in association with the dependent variable, the existence of main effects or interactions related to one or more independent variables. The resulting information was then examined in order to determine whether the data confirmed the assertions of the various a priori hypotheses and to identify any potentially significant but unhypothesized relationships. The analyses confirmed 13 of the 17 hypotheses and provided marginal support for the other four. In all, age was found to be the most important social factor being associated with 80% of the linguistic variables. The following percentages indicate the portion of linguistic variables with which the other social factors were associated: urban/rural 40%; sex 35%; education 20%; and generation 15%. No important associations were found to be related to ethnicity or multilingualism, a finding which in itself parallels results of other researchers. On the basis of the findings, 24 a posteriori hypotheses were formulated which may be subjected to confirmation in the future.



English language, Saskatchewan, phonology, Phonetics, Dialects, Saskatchewan, Social aspects, Saskatchewan