Working Papers


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 3065
  • Publication
    (University of Pennsylvania, 2023-09-28) Li, Aini; Hildebrandt, Gwendolyn
    The University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics (PWPL) is an occasional series published by the Penn Graduate Linguistics Society. The series has included volumes of previously unpublished work, or work in progress, by linguists with an ongoing affiliation with the Department, as well as volumes of papers from NWAV and the Penn Linguistics Conference. This volume contains selected papers from New Ways of Analyzing Variation 50 (NWAV 50), held by Stanford University October 13-15, 2022. Thanks go to George Balabanian, May Pikyu Chan, Xin Gao, Annika Heuser, Daoxin Li, Karen Li, Héctor Vazquez Martinez, and Christine Soh Yue for their help in editing. Since Vol. 14.2, PWPL has been an internet-only publication. As of September 2014, the entire back catalog has been digitized and made available on ScholarlyCommons@Penn. Please continue citing PWPL papers or issues as you would a print journal article, though you may also provide the URL of the manuscript. An example is below: Duncan, Daniel. 2023.Computationally Deriving Language-Internal Factors with Bipartite Networks. In University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 29.2, ed. Aini Li and Gwendolyn Hildebrandt, 79-88. Available at: Publication in the University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics (PWPL) does not preclude submission of papers elsewhere; copyright is retained by the author(s) of individual papers. The PWPL editors can be contacted at: U. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, 3401-C Walnut Street, Suite 300, C Wing, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6228 and Aini Li and Gwendolyn Hildebrandt, Issue Editors
  • Publication
    Polyphonous and Meaningful: Pitch Variation in Stylistic Performances
    (University of Pennsylvania, 2023-09-28) Robert Xu
    This paper examines the stylistic performances of character types in Beijing Mandarin, to understand how pitch functions as a meaningful sociolinguistic resource at different linguistic levels. Character types are abstractions of salient and performative social images of personhood enregistered with linguistic and embodied features. This study focuses on three such types - Angry Woman, Bureaucrat, and Childish Girl - in Beijing. 62 Beijing Mandarin speakers participated in an interactive game where they performed these types without scripts. They also participated in a focus group discussion for meta-discursive analysis. The results show that pitch operates as a complicated inventory of sociolinguistic features. At the intonation level, Angry Woman has significantly higher F0 register, while Bureaucrat has low F0 register and limited pitch variation. At the lexical tone level, speakers shift the registers of their lexical tone spaces across character types in correspondence to the types' intonational registers. But the tone space for each type has its own idiosyncratic range. In addition, speakers performed Childish Girl with full tones in place of neutral tones, and using a melodic template of L-H*L%, overriding the intonation and modifying the lexical tones. Based on these results, I propose that global F0 features at the melody and intonation levels evoke the signature qualia of these character types, and constrain the realization of lexical tones, especially their register. However, the pitch range and shape of individual tones can still be used to stylize specific aspects of the types. Pitch is an inventory of resources that has an order of accessibility in the construction of styles.
  • Publication
    The Social Meaning of Unbound Reflexives
    (University of Pennsylvania, 2023-09-28) Brianna Wilson
    This paper contributes to the growing interest in the social meaning of syntactic variation (Moore 2021) by investigating the social meaning of unbound reflexives (e.g. "Amber and myself are the logical next leaders"). Unbound reflexives are socially marked in syntactic contexts where the nominative or accusative pronoun are possible alternatives. I demonstrate, based on observational data and a survey-style experiment, that unbound reflexives are associated with professionalism and used to perform professional-like personae. I argue that the unbound reflexive directly indexes meanings like objective, legitimate, credible, and serious, which are indirectly indexical of professionalism (Ochs 1993). Analysis of metalinguistic commentary demonstrates that this is an enregistered feature associated with a formal and professional genre of speech. Furthermore, I analyze the prescriptive and classist ideologies that arise in the metalinguistic commentary and how these ideologies reveal a perception of this register as involving excessive effort and concealed intentions (Acton 2022).
  • Publication
    Oh Yeah, That Was Super Sincere: Social Meanings of Congratulatory Speech Acts
    (University of Pennsylvania, 2023-09-28) Anna-Marie Sprenger
    This paper explores the under-theorized social meanings of speech acts. I investigate how social meaning attaches to speech acts and how this differs from other kinds of social meanings, which have largely been studied in terms of phonetic, non-denotational variables in sociolinguistics. Further, I examine the extent to which the perceived validity of a speech act performed by two different speakers varies depending on their social categories. I test these questions with a matched guise experiment in a workplace setting where the speech act type, speaker and listener gender, and scenario are varied. I find that the speech act of congratulating has distinct social meanings for all speakers, as well as gendered results which I explain by drawing on broader discussions around which people may legitimately produce certain kinds of speech.
  • Publication
    Language Contact and Word Order Variation in Chanka Quechua
    (University of Pennsylvania, 2023-09-28) Natalie Povilonis
    This paper highlights the systematic nature of word order variation in Chanka Quechua. In the Peruvian Andes, social norms require Western practices for formal situations, while traditional Andean customs suggest familiarity, even inadequacy. These ideologies transfer onto language use: Spanish, the majority language, is standard speech and Quechua, the minority language, is non-standard (Zavala 2014). Rapidly increasing urban migration and assimilatory pressure in the city have thus led to a widespread shift to Spanish for economic and social gain. This means that urban Quechua has more contact with Spanish than rural speech. The diglossia nonetheless disregards possible Quechua-internal variation, and the dearth of variationist studies on Quechua propagates this perception. The quantitative analysis found that less educated speakers (often older, female, rural, and/or nonfluent in Spanish) have higher rates of preverbal objects (SOV). Case marking is almost always present, while an innovative use of determiners is increasingly found for younger, more educated speakers. Linguistically, a preverbal object is more likely to appear if the phrase has an overt subject, a pronoun or nominalized verb object, an object phrase of two or more words, an object with an overt determiner, or an object marked for topic or focus. These results indicate a contact effect of Spanish on Quechua usage: speakers with more education and Spanish systematically show more Spanish-like syntactic productions, namely post-verbal objects, and use of determiners. Recognition of this variation in education will encourage language maintenance by Quechua speakers who utilize non-canonical forms.