1.1 Introduction.

The purpose of this thesis is to identify some of the phonetic characteristics of the speech of radio newsreaders in the first fifty years of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Selected aspects of vowel quality, voice quality settings, and voice dynamics are used to demonstrate changes over time. The description of "CBC English" is presented as a model of an implied standard for formal spoken Canadian English. A brief history of CBC Radio news is included. This study also contains the first history of the CBC Office of Broadcast Language.

Academic interest in Canadian broadcasting has grown greatly in recent years, particularly in the area of broadcast news. Studies have been done from a number of viewpoints, such as cultural, historical, political, technological, and editorial (see, for example, Papers from the "Beyond the Printed Word" Symposium, forthcoming). Interest in news language has generally focused on the language content of television news, and the relationship of visual image to word choice, sentence structure, and length of utterance. Comments on broadcaster style have been made in passing, but there have been no long-term studies from a linguistic perspective. This paper draws together sociolinguistic information pertinent to the CBC and Canadian English, yet it remains centrally a diachronic phonetic investigation of radio newsreading. Documentaries and news commentaries are not included, nor are announcers from affiliated stations. Brief reference only is made to program hosts and news reporters. The focus is the voice of the male CBC studio newsreader.

Newsreading is a specialized, formal function within CBC Radio. In the earliest decades, women tended to be excluded from newsreading because the CBC model called for "clear Canadian voices with a distinctly masculine quality" (CBC Annual Report, 1943, p. 7). Women now regularly read local and national newscasts but, because of the historically low ratio of men to women in the CBC News Service, few recorded samples are available for study.

Throughout this paper, CBC Radio refers to any of the CBC radio systems. The Trans-Canada Network began in 1936, and in 1944 the Dominion Network was added. In 1962, the two merged to become the CBC Radio Network. Since 1970, the CBC has again operated two systems. Newscasts are currently broadcast on both CBC Stereo (FM) and CBC Radio (AM) simultaneously.

1.2 Voice and accent.

Radio is the medium of the spoken word. For both listeners and speakers, removal of all visual clues increases sensitivity to the phonetic features of voice. (The term voice here includes both the vibrations of the vocal cords, i.e. the narrow definition, and the supralaryngeal features.) Voice dynamics and voice quality are interwoven with the articulation of the phonetic segments -- vowels, consonants, and diphthongs. Voice dynamics refer to the fluctuations in pitch, tempo, rhythm, and loudness that signal variations in word and sentence meanings. Voice quality is the long-term auditory effect resulting from a speaker's habitual way of holding the larynx and the muscles of the vocal tract. Short-term changes in the quality and dynamics of a voice can create paralinguistic registers of mood or emotion. Individually, each of the three phonetic strands of speech -- voice dynamics, voice quality, and segments -- can differ greatly from speaker to speaker. The voice also carries inherent and acquired indices that can identify the speaker individually, and which also combine to identify the speaker as a member of a group. The basic dimensions and shape of a speaker's anatomy and vocal apparatus produce idiosyncratic indices. Extralinguistic information such as the age, size, and sex of the speaker is inferred from anatomically-based clues. The affective indices are the results of changes to the physical or mental state of a speaker (e.g. illness, grief, intoxication). The regional index within a language is heard as broad, systematic similarities in pronunciation among groups of speakers. The use of particular forms within the regional varieties is often, and certainly in English, recognized as an index of status. Taken together, the regional and social status indices comprise a technical definition of a speaker's accent (Abercrombie, 1967, p. 8).

1.3 General Canadian and the CBC.

Canadian English is recognized as the widest-spread regional dialect of World English (Priestley, 1951; Woods, 1979). Canadian English (CE) has been described as a

hybrid which resembles American English in some respects and British English in others while exhibiting much that is singularly Canadian. It is, in fact, the composite of these characteristics which gives Canadian English its unique identity (Avis, 1973, p. 43).

The evaluation of a standard within Canadian English is still a matter of linguistic discussion (v. Lougheed, 1986), but the aspects of CE which resemble British English are generally regarded as the prestige forms (Warkentyne, 1986, p. 171). Previous research in status clues in speech (Harms, 1961, p. 168) has shown that listeners "find high status speakers to be the most credible and low status speakers to be the least credible." Several features mark the speech of CBC newsreaders as a prestige-status form of Canadian English. One of the more apparent is the use of the palatalized form (y sound) of words like Tuesday, duty, and news [u -> ju / {t d n}]; another is the invariable use of the velar [*] variant of the -ing particle.

A survey of broadcast language studies throughout the world (Bell, 1983, p. 37) states that "informants have cited broadcast speech as a standard" and that "broadcast news style is evaluated as the most prestigious." In Britain, BBC English is synonymous with Received Pronunciation (RP), the prestige accent of administration and education. In the United States, there exists a Network English described as that spoken by "network newscasters and news commentators who have trained themselves to speak an English devoid of any regionalisms" (Hackenberg, 1972, p. 3). Network English has been ranked highest among six American social dialects (Tucker & Lambert, 1969). In Canada, the regional and urban variations of CE that have been studied (e.g. de Wolf, 1988; Gregg, 1984; Nylvek, 1984; Scargill & Warkentyne, 1972; Woods, 1979) are recognized to occur within the pattern of a General Canadian that has been described as

the type of English used in the conduct of educational, cultural, governmental, and commercial affairs by leaders of the English-speaking community. It is moreover, the type of English used in national radio and television broadcasting and, for the most part, by local stations as well. Furthermore, it is the type of English aspired to by those who wish to take part in the country's affairs above the local level. And, perhaps, most significantly, it is the type that, with minor variations, marks the educated, non-regionalized Canadian (Avis, 1986, pp. 215-216).

Canadian language attitudes toward broadcast speech are similar to those found in other countries. Eighty-three percent of respondents polled in Ottawa consider the CBC news language to be the best (Questionnaire item #661 - Woods, 1979). The statement "The language of CBC announcers should be the standard for spoken English" met with disagreement from only one quarter of the informants in the Survey of Vancouver English (Questionnaire item #1050 - Gregg, Murdoch, Hasebe-Ludt, & de Wolf, 1984). French-speaking Quebec represents a special case within the country, but even there the speech of Radio-Canada, the Francophone affiliate of CBC, has been identified as the prestige standard by its listeners (d'Anglejan and Tucker, 1973, p. 12).