Alumni Update: James Grama

Dr. James Grama is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow affiliated with the ARC Centres of Excellence at the Australian National University. He is working on the Sydney Speaks project, which is focused on language variation in Sydney, Australia. He has been with the project since January 2017.

James graduated from our department in 2015. You can read a copy of his dissertation (chaired by Dr. Katie Drager), Variation and Change in Hawai’i Creole Vowels, by clicking on the title. Utilizing similar acoustical analyses, he’s currently investigating features of Australian English and its function in regard to socioeconomic status, network affiliation, and ethnicity.

UH scholars describe local variety of English

Recent work by researchers from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Department of Linguistics and Georgetown University demonstrates that the pronunciation of vowels is a part of what makes Hawai‘i English unique compared with other varieties of English. Hawai‘i English, the name given to the English that is spoken in the islands, is commonly spoken alongside Pidgin/Hawai‘i Creole, and is an understudied variety. This work provides a stepping stone toward our knowledge of the ways that people from Hawai‘i speak. The results of this work were recently published in the Journal of the International Phonetic Association; the full citation is given below.

Kirtley, M. Joelle*, James Grama*, Katie Drager*, and Sean Simpson+ (2016) An acoustic analysis of the vowels of Hawai‘i English. Journal of the International Phonetic Association. doi:10.1017/S0025100315000456.

* The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
+ Georgetown University

Katie Drager’s New Book Published

About the Book:  Speakers use a variety of different linguistic resources in the construction of their identities, and they are able to do so because their mental representations of linguistic and social information are linked.

While the exact nature of these representations remains unclear, there is growing evidence that they encode a great deal more phonetic detail than traditionally assumed and that the phonetic detail is linked with word-based information. This book investigates the ways in which a word’s phonetic realisation depends on a combination of its grammatical function and the speaker’s social group. This question is investigated within the context of the word like as it is produced and perceived by students at an all girls’ high school in New Zealand. The results are used to inform an exemplar-based model of speech production and perception in which the quality and frequency of linguistic and non-linguistic variants contribute to a speaker’s style.

The book is published by Language Science Press and is freely downloadable from: http://langsci-press.org/catalog/book/75

Drager, Katie (2015) Linguistic Variation, Identity Construction, and Cognition. Berlin: Language Science Press.

About the Author:  Katie K. Drager is Associate Professor of Sociolinguistics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her research is located at the intersection of sociolinguistics and phonetics, combining qualitative and quantitative methodologies to examine the ways in which social factors influence the production and perception of linguistic variables, and vice versa. Her recent work has appeared in Language Variation and Change, Journal of Phonetics, and Language and Speech, and she is currently leading a project on the production and perception of linguistic variation in Hawai‘i.