05 June 2012

sort of / kind of

I was just reading that sort of is three times more common in British English than American English, while kind of is five times more common in American English.

So what about Brunei English? In my data of 53 five-minute recordings of UBD undergraduates, sort of occurs just four times, while kind of occurs 44 times. This seems to reflect a clear American influence on Brunei English.

One thing remains a mystery, though. We might expect rhotic speakers (those who have an [r] at the ind of four and car) to be more likely to use kind of than non-rhotic speakers, if we assume that rhoticity is also partly influenced by the American accent. But, in fact, 27 out of the 44 instances of kind of are produced by non-rhotic speakers. I find this hard to explain.