Vaughn, Charlotte

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Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    The Development of Indexicality: Perceptual evidence from 4- to 18-year-olds
    (2022-09-19) Vaughn, Charlotte; Becker, Kara
    Despite the importance of the pre-adult developmental period to sociolinguistic theory (Labov 1972, Eckert 2000), children and teens remain understudied when it comes to understanding how indexicality develops. The present study seeks to bring the existing scholarship on child and teen evaluation of language varieties into a clearer dialogue with contemporary theories of indexicality focusing on the social meaning of individual variables. We conducted a matched guise task with listeners from age groups across the lifespan. From a larger dataset, we focus here on comparing the status ratings of adult listeners with those of children and teens, for six American English sociolinguistic variables. Listeners heard short audio stimuli containing unmarked or marked variants and were asked “Do you think this person would be a good teacher?”. Our results show that listeners as young as 4 years old can differentiate variants for status, and that teenagers aged 13-18 tend to pattern with adults in rating unmarked variants more positively for status. In addition, we identify a range of developmental patterns across variables: some, like creaky voice and /r/-insertion, show a unidirectional pattern, suggesting a linear development of status differentiation. For other variables, only listeners in middle childhood differ significantly from adults – for example, 10-12 year olds do not differentiate (ING) variants for status – highlighting the need for further research exploring the social meanings of variants in this developmental period in particular. Finally, 4-6 year olds differed from adults most often, but in varied ways, highlighting this period as one of transitions in which children begin to shift from a caregiver model to a peer-oriented one. In all, the results serve to bolster our call for increased attention to the indexical systems of children and teens, whose rich social-semiotic landscapes deserve further study.
  • Publication
    Dialect on Trial: Raciolinguistic ideologies in perceptions of AAVE and MAE codeswitching
    (2022-09-19) King, Sharese; Vaughn, Charlotte; Dunbar, Adam
    It is known that listeners map speakers’ voices to racial categories and that such identification can have harmful social, political, and economic consequences for African American Vernacular English (AAVE) speakers (Baugh 2003, Grogger 2009, Rickford and King 2016). While this work has focused on the production of linguistic cues used to perceive speakers’ race, recent research on the white listening subject (Flores and Rosa 2015) has advocated investigating listeners’ raciolinguistic ideologies, regardless of whether speakers command standardized or stigmatized varieties (Rosa and Flores 2017). This paper explores social perceptions of a bidialectal African American speaker when he uses African American Vernacular English (AAVE) compared to Mainstream American English (MAE). The speaker, a 32-year-old African American professor from California, recorded AAVE and MAE versions of a (2 minute) passage accounting his weekend activities, made to resemble an alibi in a criminal justice proceeding. Utilizing a matched-guise design, 116 undergraduate participants were randomly assigned to hear the account spoken in either AAVE or MAE, without background information about the speaker. A majority of participants identified the speaker as Black, as having less than a college degree, and as coming from a lower/working-class background, though listeners hearing the AAVE guise were more likely to perceive the speaker as Black and less educated than those in the MAE guise. Further, participants in the AAVE condition perceived the speaker as more likely to be involved in a gang compared to the MAE condition. That the speaker’s codeswitching resulted in racialized differences in some ratings (e.g., race, education, gang status), but not in others (e.g., class, credibility, trustworthiness) raises questions about whether codeswitching can ameliorate the well-established consequences of anti-Black stereotypes for AAVE speakers. Regardless of the presence or absence of AAVE features, ideologies attached to Black voices can still yield associations with legible Black tropes.