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This paper presents a study of pulmonic ingressive speech, a severely understudied phenomenon within varieties of English. While ingressive speech has been reported for several parts of the British Isles, New England, and eastern Canada, thus far Newfoundland appears to be the only locality where researchers have managed to provide substantial evidence from audio recordings. The present investigation is based on a digital speech corpus consisting of over 40 hours of interviews, recorded between 1980 and 1985 throughout the entire Shetland archipelago, including the most remote isles; speech samples from 49 men and 47 women are included in the corpus. Ingressive speech was found throughout the Shetland Isles, and occurred on discourse particles representing ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses, such as ‘yeah’, ‘aye’, ‘no’, and ‘mmm’. It was attested for 27 per cent of males and 32 per cent of females, although significantly more tokens were contributed by females. Both voiced and voiceless ingressives were encountered, which revealed further clues to potential gender marking: 72 per cent of all tokens from males were voiceless, and 65 per cent of tokens from females were voiced. While the paper provides firm evidence for ingressive speech in Shetland, it also discusses recent observations indicative of a decline in ingressive speech within the isles.
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