Selected Papers from NWAV 42

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 23
  • Publication
    Dimensions of Rhythm: the multi-layered nature of rhythmic style
    (2014-10-01) Calder, Jeremy; Popova, Daria; Calder, Jeremy; Popova, Daria
    The paper motivates a new, musical, view on rhythmic variation that focuses on accent and pause distributions on the intonational phrase level and views accenthood broadly as an interplay between relative duration, relative intensity and pitch accentuation. The musical approach to rhythmic variation integrates the study of rhythm into the study of the rest of the prosodic landscape and aims to emphasize the importance of syntagmatic rhythmic variables: rhythmic patterns. The musical approach highlights dramatic contrasts in the use of rhythmic and prosodic resources on the part of Melody, a jock, and Judy, a burnout (Eckert 1989, 2000), two stylistic opposites and the stars of our investigation. Melody’s IPs are characterized by a single accented syllable which often corresponds to the focal accent, while Judy’s IPs contain multiple accented syllables and IP-internal pauses which together comprise a rhythmic pattern. In addition, ‘disfluencies’ in Judy’s speech perform a rhythmic function. Judy’s use of rhythmic patterns and the diversity in the phonetic realization of her accents suggest that she is more expressive in her use of prosodic resources, while Melody’s rhythmic strategies reflect information structure.
  • Publication
    Comparative Complementizers in Canadian English: Insights from Early Fiction
    (2014-10-01) Brook, Marisa
    There are five verbs in present-day English that indicate the apparentness of a subsequent finite subordinate clause: seem, appear, look, sound, and feel. These verbs can be linked to the lower clause by one of five comparative complementizers: as if, as though, like, that, and null. Although like is the newest of these variants (López-Couso and Méndez-Naya 2012:177), it is overwhelmingly the predominant one in vernacular Canadian English and as if and as though have become negligible (López-Couso and Méndez-Naya 2012:185). I investigate this rapid lexical replacement with the use of two corpora: the Toronto English Archive (Tagliamonte 2003-2006) and an earlier collection of Canadian writing, drawn from Project Gutenberg Canada, primarily representing the decades between 1860 and 1930. The Toronto data shows a change in apparent time whereby like is overtaking the two remaining variants, that and null. In the earlier written materials, there are only 18 tokens of like, but all of these are in fictional dialogue written to come across as nonstandard; this suggests that like was known as a highly colloquial comparative complementizer until it started catching on across registers. The literality of the subordinate clause proves to be a key aspect of the change: in the earlier material, as if and as though are more likely with fully metaphorical subordinate clauses, that and null more often introduce the concrete ones, and like does not exhibit a clear preference. This semantic conditioning is stable over real time between 1860 and 1930, implying that one advantage that like has had over its moribund competitors is its versatility as far as literality is concerned.
  • Publication
    Perhaps we used to, but we don’t anymore: The Habitual Past in Oregonian English
    (2014-10-01) McLarty, Jason; Farrington, Charlie; Kendall, Tyler; McLarty, Jason; Farrington, Charlie; Kendall, Tyler
    From a dialectological perspective, the Pacific Northwest has been massively understudied in comparison to other areas of the U.S. Recent years have seen a growing attention to expanding our knowledge of regional dialects in this part of the country, with a number of research projects and publications beginning to address speech and variation within the Pacific Northwest. However, the vast bulk of this recent work has focused on the (socio)phonetics of the region and very little recent work has examined regional variation in morphosyntax in the Pacific Northwest. Motivated by work in York, England by Tagliamonte and Lawrence (2000, “I used to dance, but I don’t dance now: The habitual past in English,” Journal of English Linguistics 28.4), the present study examines variability in the realization of past habituality in Oregonian English. Unlike previous studies, we find extremely low rates of the form used to relative to would and preterit forms. We explore the internal and external constraints that influence the realization of these forms, and, more broadly, consider possible reasons that account for these rates of use.
  • Publication
    How Conservatism and Normative Gender Constrain Variation in Inland California: The Case of /s/
    (2014-10-01) Podesva, Robert J; Van Hofwegen, Janneke; Podesva, Robert J; Van Hofwegen, Janneke
    Sociophonetic research on /s/ has revealed that sex, gender identity, sexuality, and regional identity can significantly structure the variation found in the production and perception of its acoustic signal. Relative /s/ frontness has been associated with femininity (e.g., Stuart-Smith 2007) and gay-sounding speech (e.g., Munson et al. 2006), while relative /s/ retraction has been associated with masculinity (e.g., Zimman 2013) and a Southern or country identity (e.g., Campbell-Kibler 2011). However, much of the work to date has been experimental in nature or conducted in urban centers. This paper analyzes the acoustic realization of /s/ in one inland non-urban community in Northern California, where speakers carry strong antiurban (and antiliberal) sentiment. Our acoustic analysis examines sociolinguistic interviews with 42 speakers, diverse in terms of gender, sexuality, and attitudes toward rurality (townoriented versus countryoriented). In this community, the data show a stronger polarization between men and women than found in urban settings (e.g., Hazenberg 2012, Zimman 2012), likely due to social conservatism prevalent in the community. These prominent gender norms seriously constrain the production of /s/ by gay men, who pattern much more like straight men in this community than to urban gay speakers. At the same time, variants of /s/ prevalent among straight country-oriented speakers serve as resources for sexual minorities (i.e., lesbians) to construct non-heteronormative identities without transgressing gender norms.
  • Publication
    Network Embeddedness and the Retreat from Southern Vowels in Raleigh
    (2014-10-01) Dodsworth, Robin; Dodsworth, Robin
    This paper introduces the social network procedure of cohesive blocking (Moody & White 2003) as a strategy for fine-grained quantitative network analysis in sociolinguistics. In Raleigh, North Carolina, the Southern Vowel Shift is reversing, due in part to large-scale migration from outside the South since the mid-20th century. Acoustic analysis of the five front vowels from a 140-speaker subset of the conversational Raleigh corpus reveals steady change across apparent time. The community's network structure is considered via a bipartite, or two-mode, network of schools and individuals. Cohesive blocking generates a network hierarchy in which individuals are "nested" at different levels. Nestedness is then tested as a predictor of linguistic variation in linear mixed effects models, which reveal significant nestedness effects for three of the five vowels, net of age, sex, and occupation. Speakers with higher nestedness lead the retreat from the Southern Vowel Shift.
  • Publication
    Reanalysis and Hypercorrection Among Extreme /s/ Reducers
    (2014-10-01) Chappell, Whitney; Chappell, Whitney
    Western Nicaragua is an immensely understudied region, and it also represents one of the most advanced coda /s/-weakening dialects of Spanish. Coda /s/ is reduced nearly categorically before a following consonant, vowel, or pause, e.g. cesta ‘basket’ becomes [sehta], más ajo ‘more garlic’ becomes [mah aho], and misas ‘masses’ becomes [misa], respectively. These reductions result in a “breathy Spanish” with rates of reduction similar to extreme Caribbean varieties (Lipski 1994: 291). Given the nearly absolute weakening, this work investigates the present status of coda /s/ in the dialect through an exploration of (i) diachronic data to determine how [s] production has changed over time, (ii) synchronic comparisons with other /s/-reducing dialects, and (iii) [s] hypercorrections. I conclude that /s/-weakening has advanced over the past thirty years as rates of coda sibilance decrease and rates of deletion rise; that [s] in Nicaragua is not a linguistically conditioned, local variant due to its deviant behavior; and that [s] hypercorrections do occasionally emerge in formal tasks, suggesting a loosening of the association between underlying coda /s/ and surface sibilance. Based on these conclusions, I argue that sibilance serves as a social strategy to index education, power, and precision on a global scale, while linguistically, many Nicaraguan speakers are operating with underlying coda /h/ instead of /s/, which helps to account for the innovative behavior of the glottal stop. Not only does this work document a highly understudied language variety, it also elucidates the complex linguistic and social motivations for selecting a particular variant in a radical dialect.
  • Publication
    Variation in Fricative Production in Malagasy Dialects
    (2014-10-01) Howe, Penelope; Howe, Penelope
    The development of phonological tone has been linked in many languages to consonant voice quality contrasts that impart pitch differences to preceding or following vowels. In particular, modal voicing on a syllable-initial consonant has been shown to correlate with low pitch on a following vowel in both tone and non-tone languages (Hombert et al. 1979). In the Austronesian language Malagasy, a strong relationship between consonant voicing and vowel pitch has been observed in the literature; previous studies state, however, that Malagasy does not have phonological tone. In contrast with these previous descriptions, the results presented in this paper from a production study of homorganic fricative pairs in several different dialects of Malagasy suggest that in certain dialects in the center of the country, in and around the capital city, pitch has replaced modal voicing as the primary phonetic cue to fricative voicing category. Based on word list data from 11 Malagasy speakers, this study finds that the homorganic fricatives of speakers of the Central dialects are best classified based on the pitch of the following vowel, while those of speakers of non-Central dialects are best classified based on the duration of modal voicing on the fricative. Secondary phonetic cues typically associated with a voicing distinction (i.e., duration, frication intensity) appear to be undergoing neutralization among the Central speakers.
  • Publication
    Iconization and the Timing of Southern Vowels: A Case Study of /æ/
    (2014-10-01) Koops, Christian; Koops, Christian
    With reference to Irvine and Gal's (2000) model of how language ideologies are constructed, this study examines the linguistic basis for the iconization of Southern American English vowels. The specific focus is on the spectral and temporal properties of the low front vowel /ae/ (TRAP). The paper proposes a unified analysis of this vowel’s seemingly inconsistent behavior as part of the Southern Vowel Shift and as part of the Southern drawl. In the proposed model, the latter is an extension of the former. The link is an internal timing feature, a delayed initial vowel target. This case study of /ae/ serves as the basis for a broader re-consideration of Southern Anglo vowel phonetics.
  • Publication
    On the (In)Significance of English Language Variation: Cherokee English and Lumbee English in Comparative Perspective
    (2014-10-01) Wolfram, Walt; Daugherty, Jaclyn; Cullinan, Danica; Wolfram, Walt; Daugherty, Jaclyn; Cullinan, Danica
    The Eastern Band of Cherokee in the western mountains of North Carolina and the Lumbee Indians in the eastern sand hills of North Carolina represent two of the most significant American Indian groups east of the Mississippi River, but the symbolic role of English language variation differs dramatically. Descriptive sociolinguistic and perceptual studies demonstrate the uniqueness of Lumbee English as an ethnolinguistic repertoire. The English spoken by the Cherokee is strongly influenced by vernacular Southern Appalachian English, complemented by some substrate features from Cherokee that results in a variety of “Cherokee English.” The narrative analysis of more than 20 hours of video footage in terms of space, place, and identity indicates that the groups share the construct of “Talking Indian” but in contrastive ways. For the Lumbee, an ethnicized repertoire of English is embraced as “Indian Talk” whereas the Eastern Band of Cherokee define this construct exclusively as a discrete, endangered heritage language that erases variation in English. The analysis indicates that “place as location” and “place as meaning” are integrated and interactive. Meaning may be emplaced in physical region but it can also supersede it. The comparison further illustrates that a dynamic, critical historical perspective and interactive discourse are critical to the perspective of Heimat in language variation, and that interpretive forms of ethnographic study are complementary to the quantitative study of language variation.
  • Publication
    Borrowing in Apparent Time: With some comments on attitudes and universals
    (2014-10-01) Meyerhoff, Miriam; Meyerhoff, Miriam
    Borrowing is often seen as a threat by speakers of minority or endangered languages (King 2008, Dubois and Melançons 1997) but linguists may be more likely to see it as a natural, and potentially revealing, resource of bilingual speakers. This paper uses the sociolinguistic construct of apparent time to explore borrowing in an endangered language further. If borrowing is an index of communal language shift, we might expect to find differences in apparent time (cf. Labov 2008, Meakins 2011). Data comes from Hog Harbour, a community in Vanuatu, where the 1000 speakers are concerned about the continued vitality of their local language and point to the borrowing of Bislama words as a sign of its decline. We show that there is no clear sociolinguistic evidence that borrowing is increasing over time in the community: it is possible that younger speakers’ use of Bislama words may be a developmental phenomenon, not communal change in progress. We suggest that Matras’ (2012) analysis of interactional and cognitive pressure points in conversation accounts very well for the patterns observed.