As a well-documented variable that exhibits stable variation, (ING) (e.g. workin’ ~ working; Tamminga 2014) provides fertile ground for exploring the influences of social and cognitive factors in speech. In this study, we use (ING) to probe cross-speaker effects between an interviewer and an interviewee during a sociolinguistic interview. Our analyses are grounded in two theoretical explanations of cross-speaker behavior: (1) socially-mediated convergence, which describes how speakers will converge to or diverge from the speech of their interlocutor during an interaction (Giles & Ogay 2007); and (2) repetition priming, whereby speakers will repeat recently heard variants as they speak (Pardo 2013; Tamminga 2014, 2019). Our data come from 122 speakers of the Philadelphia Neighborhood Corpus (Labov & Rosenfelder 2011). We predict that our speakers will have higher mean [ɪŋ] rates immediately following instances of interviewer [ɪŋ], relative to their baseline mean [ɪŋ] rates, consistent with the effects of both convergence and priming. However, we find that interviewer [ɪŋ] primes have a null effect on speaker mean [ɪŋ] rate. While a linear regression reveals that female speakers use more [ɪŋ] relative to male speakers, we do not find significant evidence of cross-speaker convergence or priming. These results are surprising, and do not align with previous findings that attest to a strong repetition effect in speech production within individual speakers (Tamminga 2014). We suggest that cross-speaker convergence is different from such intraspeaker persistence, yet additional research with more data is needed before any conclusions can be drawn.
"Factors Involved in Limited Convergence in (ING) Variation,"
University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics: Vol. 27
, Article 11.
Available at: https://repository.upenn.edu/pwpl/vol27/iss1/11