The acquisition of Bradford English dialect features by adult speakers of Pakistani heritage

  • NAS Ghamdi

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


This thesis examines the multiple linguistic and social factors that condition dialect acquisition in second-language speakers of English living in Bradford, UK. More specifically, it provides a quantitative analysis of non-standard, regional features in a sample of 34 adult second-language speakers from Pakistan. Speech data were gathered through sociolinguistic interviews (free conversation) and a spot-the-difference task, and demographic and attitudinal data were gathered through a questionnaire. Auditory and statistical analysis was carried out for three linguistic features: T-glottalling, the STRUT vowel, and H-dropping. The results of this study show that second-language speakers do acquire local norms of variation, but that the extent of acquisition varies greatly between speakers and variables. While Northern STRUT and T-glottalling are acquired at relatively high rates, speakers are more conservative in the acquisition of H-dropping. Additionally, some constraints are replicated in similar patterns to those exhibited by native speakers, while others are not. The results indicate that second-language variation is systematic and conditioned by a number of various factors, such as gender, level of English, and attitude towards the local community. Crucially, these factors interact to inform the speaker’s second-language identity, which affects dialect acquisition. Overall, the results replicate those of previous second-language studies of migrant communities in contact with a non-standard dialect while living in a native-speaking country.
Date of Award30 Nov 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorOrhan Elmaz (Supervisor)


  • Sociolinguistics
  • Dialect acquisition
  • L2 variation
  • T-glottalling
  • Northern British English STRUT
  • H-dropping
  • Immigration
  • Adults
  • Bradford

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 17 August 2023

Cite this