Selected Papers from NWAV 40

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 18
  • Publication
    The Acquisition of Variable Coda (r) in the Speech Community of Rio de Janeiro
    (2012-09-01) de C. F. Menezes, Vanessa; Gomes, Christina A.
    This paper addresses the emergence of complex syllables with coda consonant (r) in the acquisition of Brazilian Portuguese in the speech community of Rio de Janeiro. Acquisition of words containing complex syllabic types implies the diminishment or abandonment of the CV pattern, but what happen when the competing variable forms alternate different syllable shapes? Since variants are competing forms of the same word, in some cases, they also reflect competing phonological patterns and sociophonetic variation plays a role in abstracting mental representation. Studies about the speech community showed that the coda is variably realized alternating a phonetic velar/glottal variant with its absence and that internal codas are much more realized than final ones (Callou, 1987; Votre, 1978). There is no stigma related to the zero variant in final coda (noun and verbs). The study is based on a cross-sectional sample of 11 typically-developing children (from high and low middle class) distributed in age levels but not in relation to gender or class. The age grading ranges from 2;1 to 5;0. The analysis showed different distributions of frequency of variants as a reflex of the structured variation observed in the speech community. The results reveal that (r) is almost categorically absent in final verbs in all age levels, which can be taken as evidence that children are developing the CV pattern as the main representation of infinitives. Children’s behavior for medial codas is more consistent with a CV(r) pattern as the central representation than word final coda in all ages. The results obtained in this study for final verb coda is consistent with a final stage of a change in the direction of the loss of the infinitive morpheme in the speech community.
  • Publication
    The Long Tail of Language Change: Québécois French Futures in Real Time
    (2012-09-01) Sankoff, Gillian; Wagner, Suzanne Evans; Jensen, Laura
    Since at least the mid 19th century, the inflected future (IF) in affirmative clauses has steadily declined in Québécois French (Poplack & Dion 2009). Indeed, Wagner and Sankoff (2011) reported that in the Montreal French 1971 corpus (Sankoff & Cedergren 1972), decreasing age was correlated with decreasing use of affirmative IF. However, they also found that a panel of 59 speakers had significantly increased their use of IF between 1971 and 1984. They proposed that this be interpreted as a case of age grading rather than retrograde community change. The current paper reports on a trend study undertaken to test Wagner and Sankoff's proposal. 34 speakers recorded in 1971 were matched for social characteristics with 34 speakers recorded in 1984 (N=68 unique speakers). There was no significant difference (p < 0.5) in the rate of IF use between the two years (for affirmative uses only, 13.2% [N=112/847] in 1971 and 15.6% [N=194/1247] in 1984). Since this finding effectively rules out the "retrograde change" interpretation of the panel results, our trend study confirms Wagner & Sankoff's proposal.
  • Publication
    Future Temporal Reference in Hexagonal French
    (2012-09-01) Roberts, Nicholas S.
    This article is the first quantitative investigation of future temporal reference in spoken Hexagonal French. The two variants under examination are the inflected future (e.g. je partirai ‘I will leave’) and periphrastic future (e.g. je vais partir ‘I am going to leave’). The present study will determine the distribution of future verb forms in Hexagonal French and investigate whether the constraint systems reported for varieties of Canadian French also hold in a European context. By contrasting variable usage with Canadian speech communities, this paper contributes to our understanding of the linguistic factors that unite and divide la francophonie. It also adds a French perspective to the existing literature on global linguistic trends. Results suggest that the strategies of encoding future time in Hexagonal French mirror to a certain degree the findings reported in the extant Canadian literature. Chi-square and fixed/mixed-effects logistic regression models furthermore highlight the complex set of constraints governing the expression of future temporal reference in mainland France. Crucially, they indicate that the inflected form is still highly productive, with a frequency distribution comparable to the conservative Acadian French varieties. Nevertheless, the constraint hierarchy patterns like Laurentian French, with sentential polarity identified as the greatest determinant of variant choice.
  • Publication
    The Lowering of Raised-THOUGHT and the Low-Back Distinction in New York City: Evidence from Chinese Americans
    (2012-09-01) Wong, Amy Wing-mei
    This paper examines the production of the thought and lot vowel classes by New Yorkers of Chinese heritage. Sixteen New York-born Chinese American males between the ages of 11 and 61 were sampled. About 600 thought and lot tokens were instrumentally measured and normalized for statistical analyses and plotting. A linear regression analysis and a correlation test find evidence of the reversal of thought-raising. The height (normalized F1) of thought lowers as speaker’s year of birth increases. In other words, older Chinese New Yorkers are more likely to produce thought-raising than the younger ones. The finding corroborates Becker’s (2010) results from European New Yorkers. To determine how the lowering of thought may have affected the low back distinction in New York City English, this study utilized the Pillai-Bartlette trace and the Euclidean distance between lot and thought as measurements of the magnitude of the low back distinction, along with visual examination of individual vowel plots. Despite the lowering of thought across apparent-time, most, if not all, speakers continue to maintain the low back distinction. However, the lot and thought classes for a few younger speakers are very close in the vowel space with some overlapping tokens. Their low back vowels configuration resembles the patterns exhibited by the “transitional speakers” in the Midland area in Labov et al. (2006), whose thought and lot classes are neither completely merged nor completely distinct. These results call for further work on the low back vowels of speakers of other social and ethnic groups in order to investigate the future trajectory of the thought vowel vis-à-vis the robustness of the low back distinction in the English of New York City.
  • Publication
    Finding Needles in the Right Haystack: Double Modals in Medical Consultations
    (2012-09-01) Hasty, J. Daniel; Hesson, Ashley; Wagner, Suzanne Evans; Lannon, Robert
    In this paper we present a case study of a syntactic sociolinguistic variable that has resisted previous attempts at quantitative analysis of usage, the double modal construction of Southern United States English (e.g., You know what might could help that is losing some weight). While naturally-occurring double modals have been exceedingly rare in sociolinguistic interviews, our study represents the very first corpus investigation of double modals through a search of the right ‘haystack’: the nationwide Verilogue, Inc database of recorded and transcribed physician-patient interactions (~85 million words). As a vast source of potentially face-threatening negotiations, the Verilogue corpus provides the ideal speech situation in which to search for low frequency, non-standard syntactic features like the double modal. A quantitative analysis of the 76 tokens extracted from doctor-patient consultations in the US South revealed that double modals are favored by doctors, especially women and those with many decades of professional experience. Among patients, those not currently in employment use double modals more frequently than the employed. We interpreted these findings with reference to the literature on the pragmatics of physician-patient talk, arguing that the double modal is used to negotiate the imbalanced power dynamic of a doctor-patient consultation. In general, the greater use of double modals by doctors shows that the construction is an active part of a doctor’s repertoire for mitigating directives. Collectively, we present a complex socio-pragmatic picture of double modal use that could not be seen without a corpus of naturally-occurring speech in a potentially face-threatening speech situation.
  • Publication
    Sociophonetic Markers Facilitate Translation Priming: Maori English GOAT – A Different Kind of Animal
    (2012-09-01) Szakay, Anita; Babel, Molly; King, Jeanette
    This study investigates whether socio-indexical labelling operates under a shared or a separate system across the two languages of a bilingual talker-listener. We argue for a shared system, showing that L1 indexical labels interact with L2 indexical labels during speech perception. In particular, we investigate the effect of ethnic dialect on bilingual speech processing by using a novel cross-language/cross-dialect auditory priming paradigm in the New Zealand context, where Maori (TR) and English are both official languages, and English has two main ethnic varieties: Maori English (ME) and Pakeha English (PE). Fifty-four English-Maori bilinguals participated in a short-term auditory primed lexical decision task, where bilingual prime and target pairs were made up of English-to-Maori and Maori-to-English translation equivalents. Half of the English words were pronounced by a PE speaker, and half by a ME speaker, creating four test conditions: TR-ME, TR-PE, ME-TR, PE-TR. The results reveal a significantly larger priming effect between ME and TR than between PE and TR. We argue for a direct activation link between the "Maori" indexical labels within the English language set of representations and the "Maori" indexical labels within the Maori language set of representations. The results suggest that socio-indexical labels can facilitate translation priming. In particular, recent, more innovative variants appear to be processed as special in short-term memory.
  • Publication
    A Transatlantic Cross-Dialectal Comparison of Non-Prevocalic /r/
    (2012-09-01) Piercy, Caroline
    The presence or absence of non-prevocalic /r/, also known as rhoticity, has been frequently examined in studies of language variation and change with some varieties gaining rhoticity e.g., New England (Nagy and Irwin 2010), New York (Becker 2009) and the Southern United States (e.g., Feagin 1990) and others losing it e.g., southwest England. However, there have been few attempts to look at the linguistic constraints on non-prevocalic /r/ use cross-dialectally. This paper attempts to do this, introducing new data from the southwest of England, to see to what extent the linguistic constraints on /r/ use can be said to be universal and to see whether they are the same in varieties gaining and losing rhoticity. Do those dialects losing rhoticity follow the same linguistic path as those gaining it? If so, are the linguistic constraints which most strongly favour /r/-loss in southwest England the same ones that promote the acquisition of /r/ in the US? Taking Nagy and Irwin (2010), as a point of comparison this paper examines the paths of change and finds that there are commonalities in the environments most promoting of /r/ regardless of whether the variety is losing or gaining rhoticity. This paper also shows the steep decline in non-prevocalic /r/ use in both real and apparent time and provides a multivariate analysis of the linguistics constraints of this change.
  • Publication
    What Happened to the Honorifics in a Local Japanese Dialect in 55 years: A Report from the Okazaki Survey on Honorifics
    (2012-09-01) Matsuda, Kenjiro
    This paper reports the analysis of the three trend samples from the Okazaki Honorifics Survey, a longitudinal survey by the National Language Research Institute on the use and the awareness of honorifics in Okazaki city, Aichi Prefecture in Japan. Its main results are: (1) the Okazakians are using more polite forms over the 55 years; (2) the effect of the three social variables (sex, age, and educational background), which used to be strong factors controlling the use of the honorifics in the speech community, are diminishing over the years; (3) in OSH I and II, the questions show clustering by the feature [±service interaction], while the same 11 questions in OSH III exhibit clustering by a different feature, [±spontaneous]; (4) the change in (3) and (4) can be accounted for nicely by the Democratization Hypothesis proposed by Inoue (1999) for the variation and change of honorifics in other Japanese dialects. It was also pointed out, however, that the complete picture of the changes in the honorifics system in Okazaki requires the analysis of the panel samples of the survey.
  • Publication
    Loss of Agreement between Hungarian Relative Pronouns and their Antecedents
    (2012-09-01) Szeredi, Daniel
    Prescriptive and descriptive grammars of Hungarian frequently discuss variation in the choice of relative pronoun in Hungarian. This paper presents quantitative data about some long standing questions raised by prescriptivists, and a phenomenon that has not been explored: the lack of agreement between the pronoun and the antecedent in Colloquial Hungarian. The study presented here is based on the Budapest Sociolinguistic Interview (Varadi 1998). This corpus consists of 50 sociolinguistic interviews, conducted in 1987 and 1988, totaling approximately 240,000 words. A database was created comprising all nominal relative pronouns from the corpus (N=1714), coded for relevant semantic, syntactic and morphological variables. Two issues, the loss of the relative pronoun amely for specific antecedents, and the spread of the selective relative pronoun amelyik was confirmed. It is also a clear pattern in the corpus, that the plural form of the most frequent relative pronoun ami is avoided, while number agreement is intact everywhere else in Hungarian.
  • Publication
    (2012-09-01) Prichard, Hilary
    The University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics (PWPL) is an occasional series published by the Penn Linguistics Club. 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 Colloquium. This volume contains selected papers from NWAV 40, held from October 27-30, 2011 in Washington, D.C. at Georgetown University. Alphabetic thanks go to Chris Ahern, Akiva Bacovcin, Aaron Ecay, Sabriya Fisher, Aaron Freeman, Soohyun Kwon, Marielle Lerner, Kobey Shwayder, and Meredith Tamminga for help in editing. Since Vol. 14.2, PWPL has been an internet-only publication. Since Vol. 13.2, PWPL has been published both in print and online gratis via ScholarlyCommons@Penn. Due to the large number of hits these online papers have received, and the time and expense of managing a back catalog of PWPL volumes, the editorial committee decided in 2008 to cease print publication in favor of wider-scale free online dissemination. 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: Brown, LeAnn, and Sali A. Tagliamonte. 2012. A Really Interesting Story: The Influence of Narrative in Linguistic Change. U. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 18.2: Selected papers from NWAV 40, ed. H. Prichard, 1-10. Ultimately, the entire back catalog will be digitized and available on ScholarlyCommons@Penn. 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 619 Williams Hall University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104–6305 Hilary Prichard Issue Editor