The concept of the accent continuum is widely accepted in the study of new Englishes, yet relatively little is known about how distinctions such as educated versus broad accents are related to the presence or absence of accent features. This study applies the technique of implicational scaling to show how six key consonantal features are distributed across the HKE accent continuum. The basic principle is that the presence of certain features implies the presence of others, giving rise to clusters of features with regular patterns of co-occurrence. Using a standardised reading passage and a sample of 17 HKE speakers, the six features were found to follow such an implicational pattern in a statistically significant manner. The article discusses the possible explanations for these patterns, drawing on perspectives from second language acquisition and sociolinguistics, and concludes by considering the possible contributions of implicational scaling to the study of new Englishes.
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- Hong Kong English accent
- accent variation
- implicational scaling
- accent continuum
- consonantal phonology