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School of English, The University of Hong Kong
Bermuda on the Move: Origins and Typological Affinities of Bermudian English

In this presentation, I discuss results from both a qualitative and quantitative analysis of Bermudian English, which form part of a research project on the origins, dialect contact history and typological relationships of this “lesser-known variety of English” (Schreier et al. 2010). In an attempt to explore the origins and typological status of Bermudian English, I rate selected morphosyntactic features adapted from Baker and Huber (2001) on the basis of the electronic World Atlas of Varieties of English (Kortmann and Lunkenheimer 2011) and compare these ratings to those of other varieties in the wider geographical region. Such a comparative approach allows to draw conclusions on traces of input varieties and structural affinities and provides a framework for the typological assessment of Bermudian English on morphosyntactic grounds.

The qualitative analysis is complemented by a presentation of selected results from a quantitative analysis of consonant cluster reduction. Based on a distributional and multivariate statistical analysis, the total frequency of reduction as well as internal and external constraints rankings for this variable are discussed and the results compared to those established for other English varieties. Since consonant cluster reduction is one of the most studied variables, it is possible to further contextualize the status of Bermudian English on the basis of these results, so as to assess the amount of dialect and language contact when it formed (compare Schreier 2008).

Such a combination of analyses allows to anchor Bermudian English within the canon of other varieties in the wider geographical region and provides the framework to typologically assess and classify Bermudian English; it also aims to further our understanding of one of the most under-researched varieties of English and highlight its comparative potential.


Dr. des. Nicole Eberle joins the School of English at HKU from January to June 2018. She completed her Ph.D. studies in English linguistics with a successful viva at the University of Zurich in December 2017; her dissertation focuses on Bermudian English, provides a first description of morphosyntactic features and traces the origins and development of this variety as well as typological affiliations with contact-derived varieties in the wider geographical region.

Prior to starting work at HKU, she was employed as a teaching and research assistant at the English Department of the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Since June 2013, she is also working as an editorial assistant for English World-Wide.

Her research interests include sociolinguistics, language variation and change, contact linguistics, lesser-known varieties of English, English varieties in the Caribbean, dialect typology, as well as sociolinguistics of mobility.