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  1. Sociolinguistics October 27, 2008

  2. Sociolinguistics: Methods • Observation • Observation of a small group over a period of time • Interview • Surveys and questionnaires • Accent Judgment Test • Language attitude studies • Role-playing • Discourse Completion Tests

  3. 1. Observations, interviews Pronunciation of /r/ in Labov’s New York City Study:

  4. the absence or presence of consonantal /r/ in postvocalic position reason for that type of pronunciation. Hypothesis: --There is a certain social significance in the way of producing this sound, that there is a distinct difference in the social environment of the people with or without deletion of postvocalic /r/. Ex 1: Labov: /r/ in New York City

  5. Labov did his research in three New York stores. • Three stores: • Saks 5th Avenue (upper middle class) • Macy’s (lower middle class) • S. Klein (working class) informants---employees

  6. To get comparable results Labov asked for a department on the fourth flour. • “Fourth floor.” • “Excuse me?” a more careful pronunciation of “Fourth floor” • transcription of the pronounciation of /r/ in ``fourth'' and ``floor'' both in the first response and in the careful pronunciation

  7. Results of the New York City interviews

  8. 1. Observations The preferred dialect of pop music (social situation) Trudgill Peter. 1983. ‘Acts of Conflicting Identity. The Sociolingistics of British Pop-Song Pronunciation’. In 1960s British pop songs were usually sung with what was perceived as an American accent: - flap for intervocalic /t/ - /æ/ instead of /a:/ in dance, last, half, can’t etc. - rhotic /r/ - [a:] instead of diphthongs for /life/, /my/ etc. - words like love with a long schwa - body, top etc.. with unrounded vowel. (No single British variety has all these features, although all can be found somewhere in Britain.)

  9. Historical analysis: The percentage of potential postvocal /r/s actually realized was 36% in 1950-60, and 4% in late 1970s (?). Same pattern for /t/ and /æ/ instead of /a:/ (can’t, half)… except for Mick Jagger, who always uses /æ/. Why? Because the need to imitate became weaker: Britain dominated the field from the mid 1960s.

  10. 3. Interviews -g dropping Trudgill (1983)

  11. 5. Accent Judgment Tests In these tasks, listeners hear speakers of different dialects and attempt to determine whether or not the speaker is or is not from a certain location.

  12. 5. Accent Judgment Tasks Study: Perceptions of Utah English In this study, listeners were asked to determine whether or not a speaker was from Utah

  13. Utahisms! What do these signs have in common?

  14. 5. Accent Judgment Tests Research Questions: part 1: dialect recognition • can native English speakers recognize the difference between two very similar varieties of English? • what factors influence this ability (linguistic, listener, speaker characteristics)? part 2: dialect prejudice 3. for stigmatized varieties, can/do listeners distinguish between non-standard features and dialect specific features?

  15. method • participants: Adult American English Speakers (n=63) • demographics:online test • judging: scale from 0(no Utah accent)to 6(strong Utah accent)

  16. Linguistic items noted as part of variety

  17. stimuli: part 1 • 12 speakers, 6 from Utah, 6 from other Western states • differed in age (20, 40, or 60 years old) and gender • read paragraph full of Utahisms • Man, tests really stress me out. I think they’re giving me ulcers. My mom says the calcium in warm milk really helps, but I think she’s full of it. Sometimes I just feel rotten like there’s no pleasure in life. a. b. c.

  18. stimuli: part 1 • 12 speakers, 6 from Utah, 6 from other Western states • differed in age (20, 40, or 60 years old) and gender • read paragraph full of pronunciations of Utahisms • Man, tests really stress me out. I think they’re giving me ultcers. My mom says the caltcium in warmmelk really helps, but I think she’s foll of it. Sometimes I just fillro??en like there’s no playzure in life.

  19. research question 1 • can native English speakers recognize the difference between Utah and non-Utah speakers?

  20. Utah vs. non Utah YES! * 3.39 2.72 p<.0001

  21. research question 1 (cont.) • are native speakers of the variety (Utah speakers) better at recognizing their variety than are non speakers (Westerners and Non-Westerners)? • are the aspects used to recognize speakers of Utah English the same for participants regardless of their native variety of English (Utahans, Westerners, Others)

  22. place of origin and dialect recognition kind of . . . * * Non-Westerners, people from places other than Utah and the West could not recognize the Utah from non-Utah speakers p<.05

  23. research question 2 • what factors influence dialect recognition? • linguistic factors • phonological aspects that differ from other surrounding varieties • speaker demographic factors • age • gender

  24. 1. linguistic factors • fail/fell merger • deal/dill merger • pool/pole merger • cord/card merger • bowl/bull merger • intrusive ‘t’ (else as eltse) • glottal stop (mountain as moun’ an) • intrusive glottal stop (conference as con?ference) • singing as singkingk • pronounced ‘l’ (in words like folk) • Sunday as Sundee

  25. 1. linguistic factors • fail/fell merger • deal/dill merger • pool/pole merger • cord/card merger • bowl/bull merger • intrusive ‘t’ (else as eltse) • glottal stop (mountain as moun’ an) • intrusive glottal stop (conference as con?ference) • singing as singkingk • pronounced ‘l’ (in words like folk) • Sunday as Sundee combined: r2 = .98

  26. linguistic factors • are the aspects used to recognize speakers of Utah English the same for participants regardless of their native variety of English (Utahans, Westerners, Others)

  27. linguistic factors Yes!

  28. 2. demographic factors: speakers • specific features examined: • age • gender

  29. speaker’s age 3.9 3.5 * 2.7 *p<.001

  30. speaker’s gender * 3.94 3.16 *p<.001

  31. part 2: research question 3 • can/do listeners distinguish between non-standard features and dialect specific features?

  32. part 2: stimuli • 4 female speakers (average age: 22) • none of speakers were from Utah • read sentences with typical lexical and syntactic characteristics of either Utah English or non-standard American English

  33. part 2: procedure • judged whether the speaker was or was not from Utah on same 6 point Likert scale • typical Utah: And oh my heck! You can’t believe how many people were trying to get through it at the same time. Well, it’s been at least a year that we haven’t talked to each other. • typical non-standard: She just said that I might could be on the team. I told her we was going to the game.

  34. typical characteristics of Utah and non-standard American English Utahisms • ‘boughten’ • ‘sluff’ • ‘my heck’ • ‘reservoir’ • ‘for cute’ • propredicate do (‘I used to do’) • time that • compass directions • ‘moisture’ • ‘tend’ for babysitting • ‘frontage road’ Non Standard Features • focuser/quotative ‘like’ • ‘you bet’ • ‘might could’ • ‘pop’ • positive ‘anymore’ • ‘there’s’ • comparative ‘way’ • ‘come with’ • ‘what’s that?’ • ‘ain’t’ • double negatives • ‘we was’

  35. typical characteristics of Utah and non-standard American English Utahisms • ‘boughten’ • ‘sluff’ • ‘my heck’ • ‘reservoir’ • ‘for cute’ • propredicate do (‘I used to do’) • time that • compass directions • ‘moisture’ • ‘tend’ • ‘frontage road’ Non Standard Features • focuser/quotative ‘like’ • ‘you bet’ • ‘might could’ • ‘pop’ • positive ‘anymore’ • ‘there’s’ • comparative ‘way’ • ‘come with’ • ‘what’s that?’ • ‘ain’t’ • double negatives • ‘we was’

  36. non-standard items vs. Utah items • do listeners identify the same non-standard items as properties of Utah English regardless of their native variety of English (Utahans, Westerners, Others)?

  37. non-standard items vs. Utah items

  38. non-standard items vs. Utah items