Download the final program secol2018program.pdf (updated 04/10/18)
On-site check in is Thursday, April 19 from 11:00-3:00PM
The screening of "Talking Black in America will be held at the Lyric Theatre at 4:00PM on Thursday, with a reception following
|Thursday, April 19|
|11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.||Registration, Second Floor Foyer|
|1:00 - 4:00 p.m.||Session 1 Breakouts - (30 minute sessions)|
|1:00 - 1:30 p.m.||
|1:30 - 2:00 p.m.||
|2:00 - 2:30 p.m.||
|2:30 - 3:00 p.m.||
|4:00 - 5:30 p.m.||Talking Black in America Screening, Lyric Theatre (off campus)|
|6:00 - 7:00 p.m.||
Reception, Owens Banquet Hall (on campus)
Dinner (on your own)
|Friday, April 20|
|8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.||Session 2 Breakouts - (30 minute sessions)|
|8:30 - 9:00 a.m.||
|9:00 - 9:30 a.m.||
|9:30 - 10:00 a.m.||
|10:00 - 10:30 a.m.||Break, Upper Quad|
|10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.||Session 3 Breakouts - (30 minute sessions)|
|10:30 - 11:00 a.m.||
|11:00 - 11:30 a.m.||
|11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.||
|12:00 - 2:00 p.m.||
Lunch (on your own)
Executive meeting at Preston's Restaurant
|2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.||Session 4 Breakouts - (30 minute sessions)|
|2:00 - 2:30 p.m.||
|2:30 - 3:00 p.m.||
|3:00 - 3:30 p.m.||
|3:30 - 4:00 p.m.||Break, Upper Quad|
|4:00 p.m. - 5:30pm||Session 5 Breakouts - (30 minute sessions)|
|4:00 - 4:30 p.m.||
|4:30 - 5:00 p.m.||
|5:00 - 5:30 p.m.||
|5:30 - 6:00 p.m.||Break, Upper Quad|
|6:00 - 7:00 p.m.||
Plenary Talk, Solitude
Drawing the Line: Perceptual Dialectology, Borders, and Southernness
Dinner (on your own)
|Saturday, April 21|
|8:30 - 9:30 a.m.||Business meeting, Solitude|
|9:30 - 10:00 a.m.||Break, Upper Quad|
|10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.||Session 6 Breakouts - (30 minute sessions)|
|10:00 - 10:30 a.m.||
|10:30 - 11:00 a.m.||
|11:00 - 11:30 a.m.||
|11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.||
|12:00 - 2:00 p.m.||Lunch (on your own)|
|2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.||Session 7 Breakouts - (30 minute sessions)|
|2:00 - 2:30 p.m.||
|2:30 - 3:00 p.m.||
|3:00 - 3:30 p.m.||
|3:30 - 4:00 p.m.||
|4:00 - 4:30 p.m.||Break, Upper Quad|
|4:30 - 5:30 p.m.||
Plenary Talk, Solitude
What network structure can (and can't) reveal about linguistic variation: The loss of the Southern Vowel Shift in Raleigh
|6:00 - 8:30 p.m.||Reception (dinner provided), Hahn Horticulture Gardens (on campus - First shuttle leaves The Inn at 5:45 p.m.)|
Labels of Southern Identity
Susan Tamasi, Emory University; Paulina Bounds, Tennessee Tech University; Jennifer Cramer, University of Kentucky
Research in folk linguistics and perceptual dialectology has clearly shown that for many Americans the US South is a place embroiled in misinformation and mythologies (e.g. Preston 1996, Cramer 2016). With regard to the speech of this region, the negative views of "dumb but friendly," or "slow, uneducated, and uncultured" endure, even among Southerners themselves.
In this paper, we examine views of language, culture, and identity in the American South, as part of a larger study of the persistent stereotypes of Southern speech. Specifically, this analysis centers on the terms, or labels, used by Georgia residents in descriptions and discussions of local speech, general Southern speech, and Southern identities. The data examined in this study are from two projects in which long-term residents of North Georgia and the Atlanta metro area were interviewed. This geographic area is populated by approximately six million residents, and has seen unprecedented population growth in the last twenty years. Many new residents are from outside of the Southern United States, and this diversity has required many to question or reassess what a "Southern identity" means, for themselves as well as for the region as a whole.
Unlike perceptual studies that use traditional draw-a-map tasks (Preston 1989), the labels given by our respondents are elicited through sociolinguistic interviews, pile sort tasks, and a modified matched-guise test. A total of 47 respondents were interviewed. Seventeen of the interviews followed a traditional sociolinguistic interview structure. Utilizing the pile sort technique, thirty respondents were asked to sort index cards with the names of US states on them into piles of groups that the speakers perceived as having similar speech. Then they were instructed to describe their self-created dialect regions using 23 pre-determined linguistic and social characteristics. Additionally, they listened to and were asked to described the speech of four female voices, one of which was from a long-term Southern resident.
Using these data, we present the descriptive labels that respondents use to talk about Southern speech and Southern identities, and compare these with the labels that have been elicited using draw-a-map tasks. We also investigate the views of Southern speech that respondents discuss in direct contrast to the non-Southern varieties that they hear spoken locally. Finally, we use this information to talk about the complex nature of language attitudes and highlight the cohesive system of linguistic, regional, and social information that underlies linguistic perceptions.
Cramer, Jennifer. 2016. Contested Southernness: Contested Southernness: The linguistic production and perception of identities in the borderlands. Publication of the American Dialect Society 100. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Preston, Dennis R. 1989. Perceptual Dialectology: Nonlinguists' Views of Areal Linguistics.
Preston, Dennis R. 1996. Where the worst English is spoken. In Edgar W. Schneider (ed.), Focus on the USA. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 297–369.
The vernacular style frowned upon by contemporary American language purists crept vigorously into Southern literature of the first half of the nineteenth century (Newton 1993: 7-8). More specifically, a dramatic increase of literary dialect representation of Southern speech was witnessed between the 1830s and 1860s, especially in works by authors native to the region (Ellis 1994: 13, in Dylewski 2013: 167). Some of these works have been used by students of earlier American regional dialects to gain linguistic information.
Nonetheless, unearthing other, more reliable sources suitable for linguistic scrutiny and – more importantly – the doubtful reliability of written simulation of regional vernacular in literature contributed to the diminishing popularity of literary dialect portrayals amongst historical dialectologists. Indeed, there are a number of fundamental reasons for the rejection of local-color fiction as a primary source cut for dialectal research; to name but a few, the basic aim of writers employing dialect in their fiction was not philological (Giner and Montgomery 1997: 168) but stylistic (to give the characters realistic texture). Next, since in the majority of cases dialect writers were not linguists, they tended to be selective and picked traits which were "easily understood by the reader and associated with the region and social class presented in a given piece of literature" (Dylewski 2013: 83). These traits would often be vernacular shibboleths rather than region-specific characteristics. Some writers, in turn, tended to employ features which were simply deemed archaic in order to represent earlier version of a speech they wanted to portray. Finally, it was a common practice of the nineteenth century writers to borrow literary dialect from earlier works.
Taking all these issues into account, representations of local speech in literature should not be treated as sources of linguistic data per se. On the contrary, the faithfulness of rendering local speech by a given author might be studied against data gleaned from more reliable material (vernacular letters, church and town records, etc.). Accordingly, in the present paper the faithfulness of Southern dialect depicted in Fisher's River (North Carolina) scenes and characters by Hardin Edwards Taliaferro is verified against existing linguistic data gathered from mid-nineteenth century vernacular letters written by members of the underprivileged strata of Southern society.
The choice of the material is by no means accidental – in order to assure maximum accuracy of comparison, the data recorded in fiction written by Taliaferro, a native to North Carolina, and published shortly before the outbreak of the American Civil War are compared to the linguistic data for both Carolinas culled from Civil War correspondence written by less literate Confederates (from Dylewski 2013 and Ellis – Montgomery 2012). The focus of the study are morphosyntactic and syntactic traits: subject-verb concord, variation in past tense be forms, and forms of both regular and irregular verbs. It is assumed that such an approach, based on empirical data, might shed some new light on the usefulness of literary dialect representation for students of earlier Southern American English.
Dylewski, Radosław. 2013. Vernacular grammar(s) of mid-nineteenth century Northwestern South Carolina: A study of Civil War letters. Poznań: Adam Mickiewicz University Press.
Ellis, Michael. 1994. "Literary dialect as linguistic evidence: Subject-verb concord in nineteenth-century Southern literature." American Speech 69: 128-144.
Ellis, Michael – Michael B. Montgomery. 2012. "LAMSAS, CACWL, and the South-South Midland dialect boundary in nineteenth century North Carolina." American Speech 87: 470-490.
Giner, María F. García-Bermejo – Michael Montgomery. 1997. "Regional British English from the nineteenth century: Evidence from emigrant letters." In: Thomas, Alan R. (ed.), 167-183.
Newton, David W. 1993. Voices along the border: Cultural identity, social authority, and the idea of language in the antebellum South, 1830-1860. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Emory University, Atlanta.
Taliaferro, Hardin E. 1859. Fisher's River (North Carolina) Scenes and Characters. New York: Harper & Brothers.
Thomas, Alan R. (ed.). 1997. Issues and methods in dialectology. Bangor: University of Wales Press.
Crossing Ideological Borders: The Case of the "Liberal Redneck" and the Deployment of Southern Stereotypes in Political Comedy
Catherine Davies, The University of Alabama
This presentation analyses the political comedy of Trae Crowder as "The Liberal Redneck." Born in 1986 in rural Tennessee in extreme poverty, Crowder identifies as a "redneck" and is also the first in his family to complete college (and then an M.B.A.).
He performs stand-up on the WellRED Comedy Tour and creates YouTube videos on his own channel. After his Liberal Redneck videos went viral he received wider recognition through appearances on The View, Real Time with Bill Maher, and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. In 2016 he co-authored The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Outta the Dark. Using the book and media interviews in which Crowder talks about his goals and his style, the multimodal analysis will focus on a prototypical YouTube video. It will examine how he uses his native dialect (Wolfram & Christian 1976, Nagle & Sanders 2003, Montgomery & Hall 2004, Thomas 2005, Reed 2014) and deploys southern stereotypes (Billings et al 2000, Clark & Hayward 2014) within his political comedy, which is a form of parody that functions as satire but that is oriented to multiple audiences with potentially different effects.
Unlike the host of the Colbert Report, Crowder is expressing his actual liberal views that he developed while growing up; he says that to the extent he is taking on a "character," it is an in-your-face style of expressing opinions that is not the way he personally interacts but that is a familiar male style in redneck culture. Also in contrast with Colbert, whose character appears to be addressing an audience of fellow conservatives, but is in fact addressing a liberal audience that gets the satire, Crowder seems to be addressing his fellow rednecks to try to persuade them, through humorous arguments, to change their attitudes. Presumably there could be such audiences for his YouTube videos and stand-up, if not for his book, and a significant dimension of Crowder's stance is his understanding of and empathy with the people that he is addressing. As can be seen from the subtitle of his book, he believes that the South could change in ways that would benefit citizens at the bottom of the economic and social ranking. In terms of theoretical orientations, for the complex multiple voicing of the Liberal Redneck persona I draw on Bakhtin (1981) and Goffman (1974, 1981), along with Simpson (2003) for the discourse of satire. The conceptualization of audience in relation to media is provided by Bell's (1984, 1991) work, and for the idea of a media community I draw on Heller (2010). Giroux's work (2006) provides a framework for understanding the role of The Liberal Redneck in "public pedagogy."
My basic critical discourse analytical approach is interactional sociolinguistic (Gumperz 1982, 1992)--integrating linguistic pragmatics for relevant aspects of speech acts, as well as Goffmanian notions of frame, footing, and as elaborated in stance (Ochs 1992, Jaffe 2009); together with aspects of conversation analysis to consider the sequencing of the spoken/written utterances; and multimodal techniques (Constantinou 2005, Machin 2013).
Bakhtin, M. M. 1981. Speech genres and other late essays. Translated by Vern W. McGee, edited by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Baym, Geoffrey. 2009. Stephen Colbert's parody of the postmodern. In Jonathan Gray, Jeffrey P. Jones, and Ethan Thompson (eds.), Satire TV: Politics and comedy in the post-network era, 124-144. New York: NYU Press.
Bell, Allan. 1984. Language style as audience design. Language in Society 13:145-204.
--------. 1991. The language of news media. Oxford: Blackwell.
Billings, Dwight B., Gurney Norman, & Katherine Ledford (eds.). 2000. Back talk from Appalachia: Confronting stereotypes. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press.
Clark, Amy D., & Nancy M. Hayward (eds.). 2014. Talking Appalachian: Voice, Identity, and Community. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky
Constantinou, Odysseas. 2005. Multimodal discourse analysis: Media, modes and technologies. Journal of Sociolinguistics 9/4: 602-618.
Giroux, Henry. 2006. The Giroux Reader. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers. Goffman, Erving. 1974. Frame analysis. New York: Harper & Row.
-------------. 1981. Footing. In Forms of talk, 124-159. Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press.
Gumperz, John J. 1982. Discourse strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
-------------. 1992. Contextualization cues. In Alessandro Duranti & Charles Goodwin (eds.), Rethinking context: Language as an interactive phenomenon, 229- 252. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press..
Heller, Monica. 2010. Media, the state, and linguistic authority. In Sally Johnson and Tommaso M. Milani (eds.), Language ideologies and media discourse: Texts, practices, politics, 277-282. London: Continuum
Jaffe, Alexandra (ed.). 2009. Stance: Sociolinguistic perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Machin, David. 2013. What is multimodal critical discourse studies? Critical Discourse Studies 10:4, 347-355.
McClennen, Sophia A. 2011. Colbert's America: Satire and democracy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan
Montgomery, Michael B., and Joseph S. Hall. 2004. Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.
Nagle, Stephen J., and Sara L. Sanders (eds.). 2003. English in the Southern United States. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Ochs, Elinor. 1992. Indexing gender. Language as an interactive phenomenon, 335- 358. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Reed, P. E. (2014). Inter- and intra-generational monophthongization and Southern Appalachian Identity. Southern Journal of Linguistics 38(1), 159–193.
Simpson, Paul. 2003. On the discourse of satire: Towards a stylistic model of satirical humour. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins
Thomas, Erik R. 2005. "Rural White Southern Accents." In Varieties of English: The Americas/Caribbean, ed. Edgar W. Schneider. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 87-114.
Wolfram, Walt, and Donna Christian. 1976. Appalachian Speech. Arlington, VA: Center for Applied Linguistics.
This research study investigates phonological differences between interviews and songs in the Southern accented speech of a country music artist, Alan Jackson. This investigation focused on two representative Southern dialect features - the Southern Vowel Shift (SVS) and back vowel fronting. The work hypothesized that Jackson might use Southern dialect features more when singing country music than when being interviewed, but in fact found the opposite. Examined features appeared stronger during interviews, and weaker in songs. In recent singing, some Southern hallmarks do not occur, despite being consistently maintained in interviews. The observed change in interviews could be motivated by artist's strong identification with Southern culture both on stage and in speaking. Since none of these situations is a natural setting this factor should be considered when researchers interview artists or people to understand how they maintain strong ties with a certain society through language.
The Atlas of North American English (ANAE) (Labov, Ash, & Boberg, 2006) describes the SVS as the lowering of tense front vowels combined with the raising of lax front vowels. Fronting of back vowels /uw/ and /ow/ has also been observed as a Southern dialect marker. To examine these features in Jackson's speech, eleven interviews and fifteen songs were acoustically analyzed, spanning a time period from 1985 to 2015. Since Jackson is originally from near Atlanta, Georgia, his formant measurements were then compared to another ANAE Atlanta speaker.
Data analysis showed Jackson demonstrates a stronger Southern accent in all interviews. The interviews show a consistent reversal of /e/ and /ɛ/ vowels, with both /uw/ and /ow/ always fronted. Jackson even once makes a reversal of /i/ and /ɪ/ vowels – atypical for an Atlanta speaker. However, Jackson reverses /e/ and /ɛ/ in only 9 of 14 songs, and no reversal between /i/ and /ɪ/ vowels was observed. Songs always showed fronted /uw/, however, /ow/ was fronted in only 11 of 15 songs. Comparison of Jackson's interview vowels with the Atlanta speaker shows the artist using Southern features more strongly than would be expected – but his accent while singing is a much closer match to the Atlanta plot.
The results suggest that artist's accent change could be motivated by linguistic insecurity. In his work, "The Social Stratification of /r/ in NYC Department Stores" Labov (1972) defines "linguistic insecurity" as a change of language features that speakers usually use depending on a context. In our case, Jackson uses his habitual accent in singing as in an informal situation, which is why this accent was similar to the one of Atlanta speaker. "Southernness" in singing on stage is already supported by his performance of country music. However, in formal settings as in interviews, his Southernness in speech is intensified by using Southern dialect markers.
Use of a stronger Southern accent in interviews could also be explained by artist's desire to maintain a connection with the culture he belongs to. So, speaking and singing in musical industry with the Southern accent means that artist maintains his cultural identity.
Let Us Plead With Our Government: Rights, Responsibilities, and the First-Person Plural in Letters to the Editor in Sri Lankan and Kenyan Englishes
Theresa McGarry and Martha Michieka, East Tennessee State University
Letters to the editor (LTEs) are an insufficiently described and theorized genre of argument. These open letters in which the writers position themselves with regard to community issues, help to shape the discourses of the community (Magnet and Carnet 2006, Richardson 2001) and vary culturally as well as linguistically across speech communities (Pounds 2005, inter alia). From a discourse-pragmatic perspective, LTEs overlap with the genre "troubles talk" in addressing problematic issues in society. Writers can mitigate utterances by distributing responsibility for troubles across participants in both the story world where the trouble occurred and the interactional world in which they are recovered, and speakers can distribute it to entities along a cline of attributable agency, from persons to groups and institutions, to events and situations (Hill and Zepeda 1992; McGarry 2004). Moreover, Rachfał (2014) shows that linking degrees of ambiguity to the first-person plural can be a crucial strategy in writings where assigning blame and responsibility is of central importance.
Our present research investigates the interaction of first-person-plural strategies with the rhetorical and discourse structure of LTEs in Sri Lankan and Kenyan Englishes. Our corpus for analysis consists of the letters that appeared in the Colombo Daily News in 2006 and in the Nairobi Daily Nation in 2008. Preliminary results are based on analysis of 115 letters from the Colombo Daily News and 213 from the Nairobi Daily Nation.
The results indicate that a major strategy for assigning responsibility is an explicit call for action, a structural element that indicates what the writer would like to happen. This element is explicit in 81% of the Sri Lankan letters and 42% of the Kenyan ones. Further variation appears in whether the call explicitly designates an actor being called on. Again, the Sri Lankan data indicate more expectation of explicitness, with 80% of the letters that contain an explicit call also explicitly referencing an actor, compared to 45% for the Kenyan letters. On the other hand, the data show strong similarities with regard to the actors named in the calls. In the Kenyan letters and, to a lesser degree, the Sri Lankan letters, the president is also frequently called on.
Therefore, the data suggest that explicit assignment of responsibilities to groups is seen as more appropriate than to individuals, and possibly the highness of the office of president lends some impersonality, making the assignment to this particular individual more acceptable.
Further, the writers use first-person pronouns throughout the letters with implicit, often vague, reference, inviting the readers to participate in constructing the relevant communities involved in the situations. In this way, the mitigation is effected in the interactional world, supporting the findings of Hill and Zepeda (1992) and extending those of Rachfał (2014). In the context of the LTEs, we demonstrate that the positions taken on necessary and appropriate actions also serve to position the writers as active parts of the national community and to help construct the national identity.
HILL, JANE, and OFELIA ZEPEDA. (1992). Mrs. Patricio's trouble: the distribution of responsibility in an account of personal experience. Responsibility and evidence in oral discourse, ed. by Jane Hill and Judith Irvine, 197-225. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
MAGNET, ANNE, and DIDIER CARNET. 2006. Letters to the Editor: Still vigorous after all these years? English for Specific Purposes 25.173-199.
MCGARRY, THERESA. 2004. It was because of that that I spoke: Self-justification in Wijesinghe's "Roots". Text 24. 31–58.
POUNDS, GABRINA. 2005. Writer's argumentative attitude: A contrastive analysis of 'letters to the editor' in English and Italian. Pragmatics 15.49-88.
RACHFAŁ, EDYTA. 2014. I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt …: Explicit stance attribution in crisis communication contested. Topics in Linguistics 13. DOI: 10.2478/topling-2014-0002.
RICHARDSON, JOHN E. 2001. 'Now is the time to put an end to this': Argumentative discourse theory and 'letters to the editor'. Discourse and Society 12.143-168.
Keywords in the Bush and Obama years: The case of "freedom"
Michael Olsen, University of Georgia
This paper investigates socio-political keywords and their usage in American media through the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The basic assumption is in line with Williams' (1983) observations that certain words reflect a cultural identity and that such words' usage can change even over a relatively short period of time. Whereas Williams' keywords were chosen by personal observation, the present study draws on corpus methods to establish statistical keywords as the initial motivation for analysis (Baker 2004).
I constructed a 3-million-word corpus consisting of newspaper articles from the New York Times, USA Today, and New York Post (Jeffries and Walker 2012). These sources were chosen as examples of a left-to-right ideological spectrum and search terms included Bush AND/OR Republicans versus Obama AND/OR Democrats. With the corpus constructed, I used log- likelihood (LL) measurements, which compare differences between two corpora, in Antconc (Anthony 2014) to determine keyness with a threshold of LL 15.13 (equal to p<0.0001). A minimum of 100 tokens reduced the possibility that low frequency words would be included. I excluded all proper names, pronouns, and words which reflected news stories (e.g. hurricane and ebola). Although there was a range of semantic topics in the resulting lists, the Bush keywords tended to associate with foreign policy and religion (e.g. war, terror, religion, and evangelical), while the Obama keywords related more to domestic policy (e.g. regulations, revenue, class, and establishment). With the keyword lists established, I selected one keyword, freedom, for a closer analysis. Freedom was an ideal candidate for case study because, while it was key in the Bush corpus (LL=48.04, 224 tokens), it was also frequent in the Obama years (95 tokens).
The first stage of the case study investigates changes in quantitatively significant collocations of freedom across the Bush and Obama subcorpora (Stubbs 1996, 2001). Collocation significance was determined by Mutual Information scores, which measure collocation strength and non- random distribution (Hunston 2002). Frequent collocates of freedom were classified into semantic preferences (Sinclair 2004) corresponding to categories of "American freedom", "freedom in Conflict", and "Personal freedom". Concordance readings (Sinclair 1991) of these semantic preferences reveal the degrees to which such ideals were employed by politicians and the media during their respective periods. "American freedom" and "freedom in Conflict", for example, were used to justify American foreign policy during the early engagement in the Iraq War. This justification is illustrated by frequent collocates including defend(ing)/spread(ing) and freedom/liberty during the Bush years. By contrast, "Personal freedom" was associated with domestic policy and argued to be under attack during the Obama years. A quantitative/qualitative study of the most frequent and highly significant collocate religious freedom further reveals the degree to which an American ideal is politicized and spread through media-political discourse.
These results support Williams' (1983) argument that cultural keywords are highly ambiguous and subject to rapid change depending on social and political circumstances. This paper concludes with the argument that Williams' (1983) motivations should be further supported and quantified using corpus methods to study modern American political discourse.
Anthony, Laurence. 2014. AntConc (Version 3.4.3) [Computer Software]. Tokyo, Japan: Waseda University. Available from http://www.laurenceanthony.net/.
Baker, Paul. 2004. Querying Keywords: Questions of Difference, Frequency, and Sense in Keywords Analysis. Journal of English Linguistics. 32(4). 346-359.
Hunston, Susan. 2002. Corpora in Applied Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jeffries, Lesley and Brian Walker. 2012. Key Words in the Press: A Critical Corpus-Driven
Analysis of Ideology in the Blair Years (1998-2007). English Text Construction. 5(2). 208-229.
Sinclair, John. 1991. Corpus, concordance, collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sinclair, John. 2004. Trust the text: Language, corpus and discourse. London: Routledge. Stubbs, Michael. 1996. Text and corpus analysis. Oxford: Blackwell.
Stubbs, Michael. 2001. Words and phrases: Corpus studies of lexical semantics. Oxford: Blackwell.
Williams, Raymond. 1983. Keywords. 2nd edition. London: Fontana.
Inclusive Pronoun Usage in the Construction of Political Identity
Zack Dukic, North Carolina State University
A politician's language use is crucial in creating familiarity with and drawing support from a particular community. This analysis is concerned with the first person plural subjective and possessive pronouns we/nosotros and our/nuestro in the construction of political identity. In this paper, I determine how the referents of these pronouns can vary for specific speeches according to the stance (Strauss & Feiz 2013) the politician is taking regarding the context of the speech. This study analyzes and contrasts presidential speeches made by John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton with those of Fidel Castro to answer the question of how politicians use inclusive pronouns to construct political identity through synthetic personalization (Fairclough 2001) and different speaker roles (Koven 2012). These roles, which align the speaker with particular groups, can shift in different contexts to facilitate relationships of symmetry (Kiesling 2013).
Inclusive pronoun use inevitably leads to the grouping of individuals based on similarity (in- groups) and difference (out-groups). Utilizing a critical discourse-analytic approach, I argue out- groups provide more insight than in-groups into these politicians' hidden agendas (Cameron 2001). Characteristics of those who are not the referents of inclusive pronoun use reveal these hidden agendas as reflections of a politician's ideology regarding race, policy, nationality, etc.
Keywords: speaker role, synthetic personalization, stance, in-group, out-group, inclusive pronoun, we, our, nosotros, nuestro
Bamberg, M., De Fina, A., & Schiffrin, D. (2011). Discourse and identity construction. In
Handbook of identity theory and research (pp. 177-199). Springer New York. Benwell, B., & Stokoe, E. (2006). Discourse and identity. Edinburgh University Press.
Bolonyai, A., & Campolong, K. (2017). We mustn't fool ourselves. Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict, 5(2), 251-273.
Bucholtz, M., & Hall, K. (2010). Locating identity in language. Language and identities, 18-28. Cameron, D. (2001). Working with spoken discourse. Sage.
De Cillia, R., Reisigl, M., & Wodak, R. (1999). The discursive construction of national identities.
Discourse & society, 10(2), 149-173.
Fairclough, N. (2001). Language and power. Pearson Education.
Gal, S., & Irvine, J. T. (1995). The boundaries of languages and disciplines: How ideologies construct difference. Social research, 967-1001.
Hobsbawm, E. (1996). Identity politics and the left. new left review, (217), 38.
Kiesling, S. F. (2013). Constructing identity. The Handbook of Language Variation and Change, Second Edition, 448-468.
Koven, M. (2012). Speaker roles in personal narratives. Varieties of narrative analysis, 152-176.
Koven, M. (2013). Antiracist, modern selves and racist, unmodern others: Chronotopes of modernity in Luso-descendants' race talk. Language & Communication, 33(4), 544-558.
Latin American Network Information Center. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2017, from http://lanic.utexas.edu/la/cb/cuba/castro.html
O'Connor, B., Taha, M., & Sheehan, M. (2008). Castro's shifters: Locating variation in political discourse. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 14(2), 15.
Orozco, R., & Guy, G. (2008). El uso variable de los pronombres sujetos:¿ Qué pasa en la costa Caribe colombiana?. In Selected proceedings of the 4th workshop on Spanish sociolinguistics (pp. 70-80). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
Presidential Speeches. (2017, May 03). Retrieved November 13, 2017, from https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/presidential-speeches
Ribeiro, B. T. (2006). Footing, positioning, voice. Are we talking about the same things?. Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics, 23, 48.
Ricento, T. (2003). The discursive construction of Americanism. Discourse & Society, 14(5), 611- 637.
Strauss, S., & Feiz, P. (2013). Discourse analysis: Putting our worlds into words. Routledge. Wodak, R. (2008). Us' and 'them': Inclusion and exclusion–Discrimination via discourse. Identity, belonging and migration, 54-77.
The Use of Implosive Consonants in Obama's Style Shifts
Taha Husain, University of Kentucky
Context based style shifting is a well studied phenomenon in sociolinguistics. Style shifting involves the use of linguistic features to index in-group status ,
 among other attributes. Formal and informal contexts also influence style of speech; for example, speakers in the United States will often adopt more features of General American English when speaking in more formal contexts .
Linguistic analysis of Barack Obama's speech has revealed various political and social goals that are achieved through style shifting ,. However, most phonological analyses of his style shifts have been limited to vowel use and consonant deletions. Previous work on implosives has shown that they occur in Southern dialects and may even be present in other English dialects . An auditory analysis of Obama's speech reveals that he regularly employs implosives when speaking English, much like many of his fellow Americans.
The objective of this study is to discover any relationship between Obama's use of implosives and other phonetic and lexical markers of AAVE that he has been found to employ in other studies: word-final coronal consonant deletion , word-final r deletion , and copula deletion . We will construct a spoken corpus of speeches, talks, and interviews by Barack Obama containing a variety of speaking contexts, from the State of the Union address to his visit to Ben's Chili Bowl. We will analyze each entry in the corpus for implosives as well as the three features stated above. By comparing the frequency of implosives in a given entry with other features indicative of AAVE, we hope to identify how Obama views the implosive as a marker for certain styles.
This study is aimed at demonstrating and highlighting the role that conso- nant variation plays in marking American dialects. Socio-pragmatic function of style-shifting involves not just the speaker but the audience, their auditory per- ceptions, and their language ideologies associated with those auditory metrics. Thus, any relationship between Obama's style shift and his use of implosives will also indicate that American English speakers are perceptually aware of implo- sive consonants and use it to differentiate between dialects. We hope that this study will open new avenues in the field of dialect variation and style shifting between American English dialects.
Labov, W. (1966). The social stratification of English in New York City.[Washington]: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Labov, W. (2012). Dialect Diversity in America: The Politics of Language Change. University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville. ING.
Eckert, Penelope. (2008). Variation and the indexical field. Journal of Soci- olinguistics. 12: 453–476.
Alim, H.S. & Smitherman, G. (2012). Articulate while Black: Barack Obama, language, and race in the U.S. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Holliday, N.R. (2014). "He Didn'(t) Give Up When Things Got Har(d)": Examining Barack and Michelle Obama's Rates of Coronal Stop Deletion. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in LInguistics. 20(2).
Ervin-Tripp, S.M. (2001). Variety, style-shifting, and ideology. Style and sociolinguistic variation, Cambridge University Press. 44-56.
Husain, R.& Husain, T. (2017). Acoustic Measurement of Voiced Implo- sives: Evidence of Voiced Implosives in a U.S. Dialect. Southern Journal of Linguistics. 41.1:62-87.
"What are you doing, Link?": The Use of Pronouns in a Let's Play
Leah Nodar, North Carolina State University
A "Let's Play" is a modern genre of video where a commentator plays and speaks over a video game. The visuals are usually exclusively those of the game as it is played. This case study investigates the ways that one such commentator, Domtendo, uses pronouns to construct and manage a gamer identity. This is a qualitative review of his play-through of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, about forty hours of gameplay.
In a Let's Play, there are two frames in use: that of the game world and that of the real world. Pronouns are a key way to manage and merge the two frames. In most of the Let's Play, Domtendo uses the first- person to refer to himself and the protagonist of the game simultaneously, aligning himself with the character and merging the frames. There are, however, uses of second-person and third-person pronouns in particular circumstances. Third-person pronouns occur when discussing the character in cut-scenes (brief movie-like elements of the game where the player does not control the character).
Second-person pronouns are used when something has gone awry, such as when a jump leads to a bad fall.
Pronoun use is therefore connected to the relative agency of the player in the game: in the third-person scenario, the player does not have control, while in the second-person scenario, the player does have control but wants to disclaim it. I argue that managing attributions of agency through pronouns allows Domtendo to maintain his gamer identity, particularly when his gaming skills could be questioned.
"Skyrim is for the Nords!": Linguistic Difference and White Male Nationalism in a Role-Playing Game
Jon Inscoe, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
"Skyrim is for the Nords!": Linguistic Difference and White Male Nationalism in a Role-Playing Game Selling over 10 million copies in its first year and many more in its cross-generational and cross-
console releases, Bethesda Studios' The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) continues to offer its players a
high fantasy narrative of discovery, epic heroism, and political intrigue. Since its release, however, fans have highlighted the nationalistic ideology promoted by the narratively and popularly favored Stormcloaks, one side of a civil war dividing the region. The Stormcloaks and the characters who support them are marked by traditional values, individual freedom, and xenophobia; more subtle is the role of language difference, which helps construct the Stormcloak image and define it against the metropolitan Imperials. In Skyrim, the dialect-marked speakers are positioned as pure, rustic, and wholesome, whereas the Standard and prestige speakers are problematized by greed, arrogance, and racial deviance.
This paper examines the use of a pseudo-Nordic accent to characterize members and supporters of the Stormcloaks in Skyrim, through a textual analysis conducted over 300 hours of gameplay experience and observation. Dialogue, language variation, character action, and demographics were recorded and compared across characters.
This analysis draws upon Bonfiglio's (2010) examination of the standardization of English and its concurrent ideological development with discourses of xenophobia, the western frontier, moral purity, and race. I suggest that the use of dialect in Skyrim simultaneously promotes nationalistic ideology and discourses of racial and national purity that support Midwest "General American" or Standard English and locates white male nationalism in the American South. Because the South is a region whose various dialects are often characterized as being coterminous with rurality and racial conflict, a Southern accent mirrors the pseudo-Nordic accent of Skyrim natives within the game's narrative. Xenophobia and racism are reconciled as undesirable yet necessary, much like the South to white nationalist agendas, speaking to Bonfiglio's "double stigmatization" of the South as both racial and racist.
Skyrim confuses the borders of the South and mythic American West. On the one hand, it promotes General American as an ideal; on the other, it reinforces narratives that position the rural Skyrim/South as xenophobic yet justified. Simultaneously, the urban Empire/Northeast is positioned as diverse yet corrupt. Skyrim enacts these social characteristics through linguistic difference, aligning a pseudo-Nordic accent with the white male body, using it as a voice for nationalistic ideology in contrast to the speech of the Imperials and those who critique the Stormcloak package of beliefs. As a result, Skyrim negotiates the racist and nationalistic body across geographical and ideological borders in a manner that mirrors current, ideological location of bigotry and racial prejudice across racial, national, and class-based lines.
Bonfiglio, T. P. (2002). Race and the rise of Standard American. Berlin; New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Nonstandard Punctuation and Discursive Functionality on Twitter: A Corpus-Driven Analysis
Elizabeth Wright, University of Kentucky
Borders exist not only in physical spaces, but in digital spaces as well. Social media sites such as Twitter allow for the overlap of different communities without necessitating interaction. This creates language contact zones between different communities of practice (Eckert and McConnell-Ginet 1999) which allow for the transfer of computer-mediated communication (CMC) features between and throughout social networks. Previous research has speculated on the discursive functionality of particular CMC cues, such as punctuation (Gunraj 2016), capitalization (Lin 2016), and letter repetition (Darics 2013), and phonetic lengthening (Darics 2013, Bamman et al. 2014). The current study seeks to clarify and elaborate on the discursive roles that nonstandard punctuation in particular plays on Twitter. Nonstandard punctuation is defined here as complicated strings exceeding one character (e.g. !!, ?!?!). Using a corpus-driven analysis (n=3 million), the current study reports on the frequency of different nonstandard punctuation strings containing the following characters: . , ! ?. It aims to identify discursive meaning and possible thresholds (e.g. !! and !!! conveying different discursive or pragmatic meaning) at which discursive function is altered or otherwise augmented. The study undertakes both a frequency driven analysis and a qualitative analysis of tokens from the corpus, finding a large indexical field of possible discursive functions associated with particular nonstandard strings.
Stillyet, de net ain teah: Gullah language expression in the digital age
John McCullough, University of South Carolina
The issues of Gullah designation and preservation have copious representation in the literature in the context of proposed taxonomic situation and origin (Hamilton 2011, Mufwene 1997 Linguists have done less research since the community has taken up the preservation effort specifically of the description and vitality of the language during this period. One key factor unique from earlier documentation is the media involved in the current proliferation of the language. Digital media and the Internet have huge ramifications for how language is stored and spread throughout the global network. Ease of access, ability to connect with diaspora members and foster a sense of online community, and having digital language resources for existent and prospective speakers are critical for the modern rehabilitation or revitalization of endangered languages (Cook 2004, Eisenlohr 2004).
This study focuses on two points of Gullah language located online: The Gullah New Testament, De Nyew Testament (GDNT) and the hub site of The Gullah Geechee Nation (GGN). DNT is a centralized, standardized document that depicts a frozen form of the variety, like other liturgical texts. The hub site of GGN provides an abundance of novel discourse: spoken sources in the video and radio channels and written articles and pages, as well member comments- all highlighting usage along a continuum of Gullah and African American English (AAE). The distinctive features of Gullah represented in DNT can be compared with the Gullah utilized by current members of the Gullah speech community on the GGN hubsite. By comparing linguistic structures in these two contexts, one may be able to glean which features are being most saliently retained and lost, and if there is a marked difference in the retention of features in the written variety versus the spoken variety.
The transparency of digital media offers sources from which data can be drawn as an alternative to the historically suppressed speaker community, which also represents data freely produced by the speaker as opposed to elicited in a consultant setting. This setting is contrasted by a lower level of self-awareness and higher level of control over content obtained in the former than in the latter (Moll 2015). Gullah digital radio and video programs are observable instances of living language in action- speakers identifying with this community use the language to signify membership and express a linguistic connection to their culture.
The research shows that Gullah has a very limited online presence; although community members express their membership through genealogy and self-alignment, there is almost no use of the language to identify themselves. By exploring the routes taken by the speech community in terms of language and identity conservation (Kepley 2011), and the current form of the language variety, comparative research concerning Gullah and its digital identity extends beyond languagehood classification (Weldon & Simanique 2015) and instead focuses on its representation in "ideal" and "actual" expression as an additional method of language vitality measurement.
Cook, Susan E. 2004. New Technologies and Language Change: Toward an Anthropology of Linguistic Frontiers. The Annual Review of Anthropology, 33:103-15.
De Nyew Testament www.gullahbible.com
Eisenlohr, Patrick 2004. Language Revitalization and New Technologies: Cultures of Electronic Mediation and the Refiguring of Communities. The Annual Review of Anthropology, 33:21-45.
Gullah/Geechee Nation www.gullahgeecheenation.com
Hamilton, Kendra. 2011. Mother Tongues and Captive Identities: Celebrating and "Disappearing" the Gullah/Geechee Coast. Mississippi Quarterly
Kepley, Kristyl Williams. 2011. The modeling of an ecology of language: Haitian creole among first and second-generation Haitian college students in south Florida. Dissertation, Florida Atlantic University.
Moll, Andrea. 2015. Jamaican Creole goes web: sociolinguistic styling and authenticity in a digital 'Yaad'.
Mufwene, Salikoko. 1997. The ecology of Gullah's survival. American Speech, Vol 72 No. 1, 69-83.
Weldon, Tracy & Moody, Simanique. 2015. The Place of Gullah in the African American Linguistic Continuum. The Oxford Handbook of African American Language. Oxford University Press, pp. 163-180
/tɹ/ and /dɹ/ affrication across time and corpora
Bridget Smith, North Carolina State University
Affrication of /tɹ/ and /dɹ/ to post-alveolar [tʃɹ] and [dʒɹ] has been noted in several dialects of English, such as American English (e.g., Read 1971, 1974), British English (e.g., Jones 1962, Trieman 1985), New Zealand English (e.g. Hay 2008, Maclagan 2010), and Australian English (Cox & Palethorpe 2007). Because early reports of this sound change suggested that it was already advanced, only a few studies have looked at the distribution of variability in these clusters in particular dialects of English (e.g., Gordon & Maclagan 2008, Magloughlin 2017). This paper sets out to compare degrees of affrication across year of birth in the American Midwest, using multiple corpora: 'After the Day of Infamy' recordings commissioned by the Library of Congress in late 1941 and early 1942; The Buckeye Speech Corpus (Pitt et al 2007), and an additional collection of recordings of isolated words from Columbus OH speakers (Smith 2013). While in the earliest recordings, there is some slight to moderate degree of affrication in /tr/, by the generation of the youngest speakers, /tɹ/ is generally realized as a fully affricated post-alveolar /tʃɹ]. /dɹ/ follows a similar trajectory, but the earliest tokens are generally unaffricated, suggesting the parallel change began later, possibly due to the much lower frequency of /dɹ/ than /tɹ/.
The nine high quality recordings from Bloomington, Indiana in the 'After the Day of Infamy' collection were digitized into wav format at a sampling rate of 44100 Hz by the Library of Congress, after having been originally recorded with a Presto direct-to-disc recorder. Nine additional talkers were unsuitable for spectral analysis, but voice onset time/affricate duration was recoverable from the recordings. Speakers birth years ranged from 1906 to 1918, according to information available in the 1940 census. The Buckeye Corpus talkers birth years ranged from 1924 to 1983, most of which was directly relayed by talkers during the interviews as they stated their age, but some of which had to be estimated based on employment history or other personal details given during the interviews. These interviews, as well as the isolated words from Smith 2013, were recorded in a sound booth, using a microphone and pre-amp. The Columbus talkers' birth years ranged from 1951 to 1996, obtained in a background questionnaire.
Center of gravity and a measure of amplitude difference below and above 2000 Hz, for those tokens that were suitable, show an increase in higher frequency energy over time for both stop clusters, indicative of affrication. VOT (or duration) has also become longer over time for both clusters. Notably, COG and VOT have also increased, albeit to a lesser extent, for /tw/, /tu/, and /ti/, but not /tʃ/ or /dʒ/, or /dV/, suggesting widespread changes to the voiceless alveolar stop, and /dɹ/, which is not an artifact of the different recordings.
Cox, F., & Palethorpe, S. (2007). Illustrations of the IPA: Australian English. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 37(3), 341-350.
Gordon, E., & Maclagan, M. (2008). Regional and social differences in New Zealand phonology.
Varieties of English, 3: The Pacific and Australasia, 64-76.
Hay, J. (2008). New Zealand English. Edinburgh University Press.
Jones, Daniel. 1962. Outline of English Phonetics. 9th ed. Cambridge: Heffer.
Library of Congress (1941). After the Day of Infamy: "Man-on-the-Street" Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Maclagan, M. (2010). The English(es) of New Zealand. The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes, 152.
Acoustic correlates of stress in second-language Spanish
Justin Bland, Rebeka Campos-Astorkiza, and Kathryn Campbell-Kibler, The Ohio State University
This study investigates a range of acoustic correlates of syllable stress in order to determine how English-speaking learners of Spanish differentiate stressed and unstressed vowels in production. Previous research has shown that, for native speakers of Spanish, acoustic correlates include pitch, duration, intensity, and vowel quality (e.g. Llisterri et al. 2003, Menke & Face 2010). English uses many of the same correlates, but their relative importance differs between the two languages. Notably, unstressed vowels in English often reduce to schwa, while vowel quality plays a smaller role in stress production in standard Spanish. English-speaking learners of Spanish have been found to use centralization (e.g. Hammerly 1982) and duration (Stevens 2011) to differentiate stressed and unstressed vowels in production, although their durational differences have been found to be smaller than those of native speakers (Kim 2015).
While previous studies on second-language (L2) Spanish stress have tended to focus on one or two correlates, we take a wider view by simultaneously examining four acoustic properties in production: vowel duration, intensity, pitch, and quality. In this way, we intend to draw a broad picture of the acoustics of L2 Spanish stress. Additionally, we compare measurements at two points in time to see whether and how stress production changes over a short period during the course of acquisition.
Our data was gathered as part of a larger, ongoing project that seeks to document the speech of students at a large public university. The project includes an L2 Spanish module, which consists of a questionnaire and a wordlist reading task. It is administered at the beginning and end of the semester during a third-year undergraduate Spanish pronunciation course. Over the course of the semester, students learn about a variety of topics in Spanish pronunciation, including vowels and stress. The current study analyzes a subsample of 20 participants and approximately 1,500 tokens from this dataset.
We identified words in the wordlist task that feature the vowels /i... u/ in tonic, pre- tonic, and post-tonic open syllables. Tokens were aligned in Praat, and the following measurements were taken: F1, F2, duration, maximum intensity, and mean pitch. Mixed-model linear regressions were conducted in R to determine the effect of module (start/end of semester), stress, and their interaction on the above measurements.
Preliminary results suggest that English-speaking learners use differences in vowel quality, duration, and intensity to mark stress in Spanish speech production. Specifically, speakers produce tonic vowels with a longer duration and higher intensity than pre-tonic vowels, and they tend to centralize unstressed vowels. Over the course of the semester, speakers reduced /u/-fronting, but otherwise their stress patterns remained largely the same.
Our study contributes to knowledge about L2 Spanish stress by painting a broad picture of how acoustic correlates are used in production. We find that L2 Spanish stressed and unstressed vowels differ not only in quality, but also in intensity and duration, supporting Llisterri et al.'s (2003) claim that stress relies on a combination of features rather than one single feature.
Hammerly, H. (1982). Contrastive phonology and error analysis. IRAL: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language, 20(1), 17-32.
Kim, J.-Y. (2015) Perception and production of Spanish lexical stress by Spanish heritage speakers and English L2 learners of Spanish. In E. W. Willis, P. Martín Butragueño, & E. Herrera Zendejas (Eds.), Selected proceedings of the 6th Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Romance Phonology (pp. 106-128). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
Llisterri, J., Machuca, M., de la Mota, C., Riera, M., & Ríos, A. (2003) The perception of lexical stress in Spanish. In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference of Phonetic Sciences (pp. 2023-2026). Barcelona.
Menke, M. R., & Face, T. L. (2010). Second language Spanish vowel production: An acoustic analysis. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 3(1), 181-214.
Stevens, J. J. (2011). Vowel duration in second language Spanish vowels: Study abroad versus at-home learners. Arizona Working Papers in SLA & Teaching, 18, 77-104.
Center of Gravity and Duration of Fricatives in Consonant Clusters
Lisa Lapani, University of Georgia
In phonetics, there has been a traditional focus on the phoneme...iscrete unit of speech in a mental representation. However, there is systematic variation beneath the level of the phoneme (i.e. subphonemic variation) that can reveal linguistic structure and probabilistic factors of language.
Previous research on subphonemic variation in consonants has been focused on intervocalic stops (Warner & Tucker 2011), word-final stops (Schuppler et al. 2012) or intervocalic consonants (van Son & Pols 1999), but less research has been done on fricatives within consonant clusters. How does subphonemic reduction of fricatives happen in consonant clusters? This paper presents evidence that fricative reduction is not influenced by environment, but is predicted by duration.
The Rainbow Passage data in the Nationwide Speech Project (Clopper & Pisoni 2006) was force aligned using WebMAUS (Kisler, Reichel, & Schiel 2017), and the center of gravity of 3262 fricatives was measured using Praat (Boersma & Weenink 2016). Mixed- models (Baayen, Davidson, and Bates 2008) were created for each fricative and for the data as a whole with environment (CCC, CCV, VCC, or VCV) and duration as predictors. Speaker and previous phone were included as random effects, and the model that included all fricatives also had fricative type as a random effect.
The model for the fricative [ð] did not include any significant predictors. The list of significant predictors is included in Table 1 below.
Table 1. Significant predictors in mixed models
|All fricatives||duration||6289.21||2 x 1016|
|[f]||duration||11914.21||7.34 x 1012|
|[θ]||duration||24539.60||1.32 x 106|
|[v]||environment = VCV||215.2||0.040|
|duration||12341.1||3.33 x 1011|
|[z]||environment = CCV||-1401.7||2 x 1016|
|duration||7722.2||1.46 x 107|
Overall, duration has an effect on center of gravity, but the impact of environment is localized to [v] and [z]. For the phone [v], the change of environment from VCV to VCC
yields a 215.2 Hz increase in center of gravity. For the phone [z], the change of environment from CCV to CCC yields a 1401.7 Hz decrease in center of gravity.
Clearly, there is variation in center of gravity based on duration, though the relationship with environment is less clear. A probabilistic phonological model like Coleman et al.'s (2016) could model allowable variation in center of gravity based on the distributions, such as the ones shown in the figures below.
Exploring Turn-Taking and Discourse Markers through Generations
Meghan Kolcum, Virginia Tech
While recent works have explored organized turn-taking conventions (Schlegoff et. al 1974) and conversational analysis among friends (Tannen 1984), small units of discourse have not usually been evaluated over the course of generations rather have been analyzed in terms of form and function (Naya 2006). In this paper, I attempt to fill that gap by investigating discourse markers and minimal feedback exhibited in speech patterns from the boomer and millennial generations. By comparing generations, this study evaluates the apparent-time hypothesis, which assumes that most features of language acquired by a person will remain relatively unchanged throughout an individual's lifetime.
This study was conducted as an interview where I covered questions pertaining to influential historical or cultural moments. The purpose of these archived questions was to open up a dialogue between participants in order to obtain data. During the interview I audio-recorded the conversations (for no more than an hour) and later converted into transcripts to locate and interpret utterances of minimal feedback, find the frequency of minimal feedback, and see if minimal feedback has changed over time by comparing speech patterns from participants. The participants were interviewed two at a time and were familiar companions. The data collected was from, all American females, four pairs, eight women, from the Baby Boomer generation (1946 - 1964) and four pairs, eight women, from the Millennial generation (1982 - 2004).
The data was analyzed and extracted between the...0 minute mark of each interview. I created a coding system and analyzed the component of turn-taking. Turn-taking is a phenomena in conversations, which highlights two roles, 'the speaker' and 'the listener,' which are not fixed, rather they are constantly switching. If the roles switch during the conversation then this is identified as a 'turn' (Schegloff et. al. 1974). I classified each turn with minimal feedback into one of six types of feedback, which indicates the function of each turn including: Content Adding, Evaluative, Listening, Minimal, New Thing, and Other. I counted the frequency of classified types of minimal feedback and units of discourse markers. Then I conducted a Fisher's T-Test to see if there was any significance.
I found evidence that Millennial speakers gave less minimal feedback overall than the Boomer speakers. The Boomer generation happened to speak ten minutes less than the Millennial generation and still used more discourse markers and types of minimal feedback within their conversations. An evaluation of this time variation could indicate that there is a difference in the way conversations are held between the generations. However, there has been a distinct change in the form of minimal feedback over the course of time. The Baby Boomer's utterance of the marker, right is significant as are the Millennial's utterances of the markers: okay and oh yeah. The study shows significance of the generation's use of certain discourse markers which contributes to the apparent-time hypothesis, which analyzes the use of particular speech uttered by a person of a particular time era.
"Some line just massively got crossed": A discourse analysis of what it means to be a woman in academia
Kate Rustad, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This paper looks at what themes emerge in the narratives of women in academia, and how these themes relate to the larger discourse of gender discrimination. Data were gathered via interviews with women in various stages of academic involvement in post-undergraduate academia, ranging from first-year Master's students to tenure-track professors. Any potentially identifying information is redacted from the data so as to avoid incrimination or identification of participants. Data are thematically analyzed in terms of commonalities in the narratives between women. Theoretical framework stems from the fields of both discourse analysis and gender theory, including stance, face, speaker role, social type, reclamation, and power. Results center around five themes: discursively conforming to the "expected", stereotypically less assured female stance; establishing credibility as a female narrator; the multifaceted dilemma of the caregiver role women; inappropriate commentary from male students; and the feeling of a general lack of authority. Each participant uses discursive strategies around at least one, if not all five, of these themes in their narratives about what their experience has been as a woman in academia. The data in this study show that the larger discriminatory discourse surrounding women in general does cross over into this field in its own way. Women in academia encounter unique problems that do not occur outside of the academic realm, and equally important, face problems that are not faced by their male colleagues.
Keywords: language and gender, narrative analysis, discourse analysis, power, academia, gender roles, narrative reclamation
"If you ask me for one, I'll give you three": Oral storytelling performance and construction in Central Appalachia
Brandon Jent, University of Kentucky
This project seeks to address the Appalachian storyteller stereotype. Linguistic, sociocultural and discursive factors in oral personal narrative were identified and analyzed through discourse analysis and narrative studies. Data were collected from story circles, a methodology first implemented in cultural and community organizing spaces in the South and in Appalachia. The collected stories were transcribed and analyzed through a discourse analysis framework that combined discourse pragmatics, stance-taking, and narrative conventions. (Grice 1975, Burkette 2016, Ochs 2004) The author posits Central Appalachians use stance-taking and conversational implicature that, when combined with narrative structure, yield a stylistically unorthodox manner of recounting events. Preliminary analysis supports this hypothesis, which holds significance for the connection of narrative practices to larger perceptions of Appalachian English and Appalachia as a speech community.
"Fightin' Words: Dialect Discrimination in the Academic and Professional Workplace"
Caroline Myrick and Jon Forrest, North Carolina State University
A critical component in sociolinguistic study is the investigation of linguistic discrimination against non-standard dialects, from both experimental and discursive perspectives.
Experimental research on the issue finds that listeners tend to rate speakers as "less educated" or "less correct" when presented with non-standard speech samples (Atkins 1993; Fridland, Bartlett, and Kreuz 2005; Niedzielski and Preston 2003). Consequently, students who speak nonstandard varieties of English may be less likely to speak in class (Dunstan and Jaeger 2015) as well as adjust or mask their dialect features (Scott 2008; McBride 2006). Work focused on the broader social discourse surrounding non-standard Englishes suggests that language can serve as an avenue for attack (Alim and Smitherman 2012) or a "backdoor for discrimination" (Lippi-Green 1997). Despite the wide body of research on the social perception of non-standard dialects, little work addresses the ways in which non-standard speakers negotiate linguistic stigma while in the professional realm. To this end, we investigate the ways in which individuals face linguistic stigma in the day-to-day execution of their jobs, paying special attention to how linguistic prejudice reproduces broader social inequalities (Schwalbe et al. 2000; Schwalbe and Shay 2014).
The dataset for this analysis is drawn from semi-structured interviews in two professional industries: academia and the technology sector. A sample of 45 tenured and tenure-track faculty members comes from a southern research university located in the South, spanning many colleges and departments. As part of a larger study examining faculty experiences with language, faculty were asked questions about their own and others' (including students', colleagues', and supervisors') perceptions of their speech. A sample of 15 speakers in the technology sector is drawn from workers at Southern Tech, a technology firm in the greater Raleigh, NC area, with participants spanning a wide variety of occupations within the firm. As part of a broader study on Southern dialects at work, participants were asked questions relating to their perception of the treatment of Southern dialects both at their jobs and in a more general sense. Responses from both datasets were coded using a grounded theory approach (Charmaz 2014) to identify emergent discursive themes.
Faculty members' responses show experiences of faculty being discriminated against and/or judged based on their speech, as well as faculty members holding their own standard language ideologies. Emergent themes were strongly connected to faculty's college and/or department, such as faculty in Agriculture viewing their nonstandard dialect as an asset rather than a burden. Effects for gender are shown as well, with many women, especially those in fields dominated by men, expressing linguistic insecurity related to the combined stigmas of nonstandard dialects and women's speech. Workers at the technology firm acknowledge stigma specifically against Southern regional dialects, but they distanced themselves from these general perceptions to allow for them to negotiate their workplace interactions. Participants located discrimination as existing in "other places," "other companies," or other parts of their lives, but not at their current job.
Alim, H. Samy and Geneva Smitherman. 2012. Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S. Oxford University Press.
Atkins, Carolyn P. 1993. "Do Employment Recruiters Discriminate on the Basis of Nonstandard Dialect?" Journal of Employment Counseling 30(3):108–18.
Charmaz, Kathy. 2014. Constructing Grounded Theory. SAGE.
Dunstan, Stephany Brett and Audrey J. Jaeger. 2015. "Dialect and Influences on the Academic Experiences of College Students." The Journal of Higher Education 86(5):777–803.
Fridland, Valerie, Kathryn Bartlett, and Roger Kreuz. 2005. "Making Sense of Variation: Pleasantness and Education Ratings of Southern Vowel Variants." American Speech 80(4):366– 87.
Lippi-Green, Rosina. 1997. English with an Accent: Language, Ideology, and Discrimination in the United States. Psychology Press.
McBride, Kristina Holland. 2006. "Roots and Wings: Language Attitudes of Professional Women Native to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina." Doctoral Dissertation Indian University of Pennsylvania.
Niedzielski, Nancy A. and Dennis Richard Preston. 2003. Folk Linguistics. Walter de Gruyter.
Schwalbe, Michael et al. 2000. "Generic Processes in the Reproduction of Inequality: An Interactionist Analysis." Social Forces 79(2):419–52.
Schwalbe, Michael and Heather Shay. 2014. "Dramaturgy and Dominance." Pp. 155–80 in Handbook of the Social Psychology of Inequality, Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research, edited by J. D. McLeod, E. J. Lawler, and M. Schwalbe. Springer Netherlands.
Scott, Christopher E. 2008. "An Investigation of the Impact of Speaking the Lumbee Dialect on the Academic Achievement and Identity Development of Native American College Students (Doctoral Dissertation)." University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill.
Bordered by Bilingualism: Perceptions of University Students toward National and Foreign Languages
Madison Densmore, The University of Mississippi
Switzerland is only about 2.5% the size of the United States, yet it remains one of the most diverse countries in the world ("Population," 2017). The country recognizes three official languages—German, French, and Italian—as well as a fourth national one—Romansh. There are even three cantons which are officially bilingual: Bern, Valais, and Fribourg ("Bilinguisme," 2015). This last canton, home to the city of Fribourg, is French-German bilingual, yet the French language is dominant. Similarly, in the bilingual city of Barcelona, Spain, Catalan and Castilian Spanish coexist, yet the Catalan language dominates offices and schools ("Barcelona's Languages"). These European contexts contrast sharply with the degree of bilingualism and recognition of national languages in the United States, where much of society is regarded as monolingual and where English prevails over other languages.
In general, bilingualism is perceived positively. Huguet et al. (2008) found that "when a bilingual programme is developed under appropriate conditions", language learners tend to be more open and have more positive attitudes toward other languages and their speakers (p. 266- 267). Yet language also implies culture and identity, and in bilingual communities, borders between the two languages are not always clear. Languages and identities overlap, and certain languages may appear to dominate others, like in the cases of Fribourg and Barcelona.
Over the course of several months, Fribourg, Switzerland, Barcelona, Spain, and Oxford, Mississippi—a monolingual, American Southern town—were studied using interviews and an online questionnaire which was made available in five languages. The interviews and survey involved questions about students' demographics, language ability, and perceptions toward bilingualism, the role of English, and the languages spoken in their communities and countries. The goal of this study was to determine if students felt positively toward the languages spoken in their environments, to gauge if there was a preference for English over a national language in Fribourg and Barcelona, and to determine if students thought communities were doing enough to promote bilingualism and multiculturalism. Overall, despite the cities' differences, most students agreed that their communities needed to do more to promote bilingualism and multiculturalism.
This presentation will discuss and compare the questionnaire data collected from the bilingual cities, Fribourg and Barcelona, and the monolingual city of Oxford. By investigating two bilingual communities and a monolingual one, this study endeavors to characterize the language borders that exist between Swiss national languages and English; between Catalan, Castilian Spanish, and English; and between English and minority languages, particularly Spanish. It also aspires to determine if Huguet et al.'s (2008) claim is true: if the bilingual communities are generally more positive toward other languages and cultures than monolingual Oxford.
Barcelona's Languages (n.d.). In Barcelona.de. Retrieved from https://www.barcelona.de/en/barcelona-languages.html
Chancellerie d'Etat CHA (2015). Bilinguisme. État de Fribourg. Retrieved from http://www.fr.ch/ww/fr/pub/autres_liens/bilinguisme.cfm#i118889
Confédération suisse. (2017). Population. Office fédéral de la statistique. Retrieved from https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/fr/home/statistiques/population.html
Huguet, A., Lapresta, C., & Madariaga, J. M. (2008). A study on language attitudes towards regional and foreign languages by school children in Aragon, Spain. International Journal of Multilingualism, 5(4), 275-293. doi:10.1080/14790710802152412
A variationist analysis of first-person-singular subject expression in Louisiana French
Aarnes Gudmestad and Katie Carmichael, Virginia Tech
Research on endangered languages generally focuses on documenting the speech patterns of remaining speakers (see Dorian 1989, Austin & Sallabank 2011). Less common, however, are investigations that extend the variationist paradigm to the study of endangered languages (Wolfram 2004). Specifically, variationist sociolinguistics accounts quantitatively for the systematic variability of a linguistic structure by identifying the linguistic and social constraints that govern the use of a given form (Tagliamonte 2012). In this vein, we aim to cross sub- disciplinary borders by applying the variationist paradigm to the study of first-person-singular subject expression in Louisiana French, which is undergoing gradual language death (Picone 1997). In the variety of Louisiana French we examine, there are 12 potential ways of expressing the first-person-singular referent in subject position. This extreme variation exists in part because of phonetic alternations, whereby the first-person-singular clitic 'je' may be pronounced as variants such as /ʒ/, /h/, and , and because the non-clitic pronoun 'mon' may be variably appended. While there is research on phonological variation in the first-person pronoun (Carmichael 2008; Dajko 2009), pro-drop (Rottet 2005; Dajko 2009), and the rise of 'mon' usage in LF (Rottet 2005), there has yet to be a unified explanation of the linguistic and social factors that predict the phonological and morphological variation observed with first-person-singular subject expression. We address this issue by analyzing data from interviews with 28 Louisiana French speakers, in a corpus including both fluent speakers and semi-speakers (cf. Dorian 1973, 1977). To compare the linguistic systems of fluent speakers and semi-speakers, we generated a series of multinomial logistic regressions examining the impact of eight linguistic and social factors on first-person-singular subject expression. In terms of linguistic constraints, the results revealed that the semi-speakers' use of first-person-singular subject forms largely differed from that of the fluent speakers, though subtle similarities between the speaker groups were observed. Moreover, while fluent-speaker and semi-speaker groups both exhibited a significant effect for the social factor of sex, the specifics of the differences between women and men varied across speaker groups, demonstrating that while sex constrains variation in first-person-singular expression throughout the community, it manifests differently depending on speaker fluency. We conclude by discussing the implications that the current study has on language-death research more generally, both in terms of methodological design and the findings concerning the linguistic and social variation observed for first-person-singular subject expression.
The distribution of Multiple Modals in Southeastern Louisiana English
Greg Johnson, Louisiana State University
Introduction: Hasty (2012) describes the syntax of double or multiple modal (MM) auxiliary structures in Southern United States English (SUSE) in (1a) as having the structure in (1b).
a. You may would want to check this out.
[M od P You [M od may] [T P [T would] [V P want to check that out]].
Among other properties, Hasty observes that when MMs undergo subject-auxiliary inversion, only the second modal inverts (2a). However, preliminary of acceptability judgment elicitation of Southeastern Louisiana English (SELE) speakers shows that, although MMs occur in SELE, they do not always exhibit the same subject-auxiliary inversion pattern. Rather, it seems that speakers of SELE are required to move both modals as a single unit in question formation (2b).
a. Wouldi You may ti want to check this out?
May wouldi You ti want to check this out?
Given (2b), the nature of MMs in SELE requires further study. This talk describes the syntax and geographic distribution of MMs in Louisiana via data gathered from five large online acceptability judgment surveys. Preliminary data analysis shows that speakers in southeastern Louisiana do in fact use MMs but that they may be divided into sub-dialect groups based their ratings of possible syntactic operations performs on MM structures. We investigate which modal combinations SELE speakers have, if they are available in the modal past, whether or not speakers may inject negatives and adverbials between modals, and finally, their behavior with respect to subject-auxiliary inversion.
Experimental design: We used an acceptability judgment task taken as a Qualtrics online survey. Participants were 360 undergraduates at a large University in Louisiana who were asked to rate sentences on a scale from 1-7 (1-unacceptable, 7-acceptable). Each participant was randomly sorted into one of five possible condition blocks: (i) a baseline MM acceptability block designed to test if and to what extent speakers have MMs. (ii) a modal past block, designed to investigate the acceptability of MMs in the modal past. (iii) a subject-auxiliary inversion block, designed to test the acceptability of sentences like those in (2). (iv) an adverb block, designed to test the acceptability of intervening adverbs. And finally (v) a negation block, designed to test the acceptability of intervening negatives.
Each block contained 44 experimental sentences and 88 controls (44 grammatical and ungrammatical) for a total of 132 sentences. Each block ended with a demographic information survey which included age, gender, ethnicity, education, and the zip code in which the participant was raised.
Discussion: We expect a certain number of speakers to pattern with the observations made in the literature. However, we also expect a subset of speakers, particularly in southeastern Louisiana to treat MMs differently. Specifically, we expect SELE speakers to treat MMs as more closely knit syntactic units than their SUSE speaking peers.
Hasty, J. D. (2012). We might should oughta take a second look at this: A syntactic re-analysis of double modals in southern united states english. Lingua.
Linguistic Sub-Regions and Boundaries of North Louisiana: Contemporary, Historical, and Literary Data
Lisa Abney, Northwestern State University
North Louisiana has often been characterized as having an homogenous Southern Dialect and culture. Outsiders frequently perceive residents to be identified as either upland South British Isles or African-American descended. However, North Louisiana residents display marked linguistic and cultural diversity, and contemporary data from the Linguistic Survey of North Louisiana indicate that there are three unique linguistic sub-regions in the region, and within these, there are varied cultural groups and linguistic elements.
Historical demographic data show that numerous Native American tribes, French, Cajun, Czech, German, Spanish, and Italian settlers from the 1700s to the 1900s made North Louisiana their home. In the later part of the 20th and early 21st Century, Hispanics from Mexico and Central America; Asians from China, Vietnam, and India; Greeks; and Middle Easterners primarily from Syria, Jordan, and Egypt have moved to North Louisiana. With the addition of each immigrant group to the region, new residents have both expanded their linguistic contact and simultaneously remained isolated from the longer-standing communities. This isolation has formulated linguistic isoglosses within the sub-regions. For instance, the Cane River Creole Community located in Region 1 has maintained its cultural identity from the days of French Colonialism, and while Creole speakers in this community have decreased dramatically over the past thirty years, its residents persist as a cohesive community as do Colonial Spanish descendants and Native Americans in Zwolle. Small but growing Middle Eastern communities have formed within Regions 1 and 2. Asian populations have grown and created communities in all three regions.
Along with contemporary fieldwork interviews from the Linguistic Survey of North Louisiana and primary-source historical evidence referenced above, Kate Chopin, during her time in North Louisiana, likely unknowingly and unintentionally created an ethnographic record for future generations in her fiction. In Chopin's first novel, At Fault and the short stories "A No-Account Creole," and "In Sabine," she documents the many Post-Louisiana Purchase cultural changes— existing and new cultural divisions related to ethnicity and social class. She carefully depicted dialects of both long-standing Louisiana residents—Creoles (French and Spanish), people of color (American Indians and African Americans), and the in-migrating Americans (Kaintucks as they were often called) who headed to Louisiana as part of the opening of the American West. Chopin's use of dialect features to delineate these characters provides linguistic evidence of the origins of many existing usages in region. Her ability to construct dialect and to depict traditional folk practice and to show the intense conflicts between the State's new residents and its long-time ones is eloquently and accurately done.
Primary source historical documents, work by writers such as Kate Chopin, and contemporary research show the distinct cultural and linguistic boundaries of North Louisiana. These data show the changing nature of the world of many Louisianans and their cultural and linguistic boundaries as they have moved from the colonial to the current era.
Transgressing Linguistic Boundaries: A Corpus-based Study on Religion's Restrictive Influence on the Frequency of Pain Language in American English
David Johnson, Kennesaw State University
There is no greater universal sensation that unites humanity than pain. Ironically, this most universal experience defies linguistic description. As Scarry notes, "Physical pain does not simply resist language but actively destroys it…" (1985, 4). Sophocles noted the ineffable aspect of pain through the words of Philoctetes who describes his pain: "Terrible it is, beyond words' reach." Despite the struggle to describe pain, sufferers discuss it a great deal; they feel compelled to articulate their pain to engender sympathy or to seek treatment. But pain sufferers have not always articulated their pain experiences with the same frequency through time and across linguistic contexts. The question explored here is if religion has a proscriptive boundary that limits discussing pain in American society.
Americans suffer chronic pain. Biro (2010) puts the number at 20% who suffer chronic pain. However, religious leaders and spiritual writings have traditionally encouraged an embracing of pain and a suffering "in silence" as the following quote demonstrates.
"Anæstesia is of the devil….I will not give my vote to the value of Anæstesia or any other satanic influence….I am against these satanic agencies which prevent men from going through what God intended them to go through." (1871, Dr. W. H. Atkinson, President of the American Dental Association.)
Bourke notes, "Anesthetics dealt a blow to the theological interpretation of pain" (2014, 124). If pain can be treated, then an increasingly secular society begins to forgo notions of pain's benefits, much less a notion of silent resolve. The admonition to suffer in silence makes little sense without divine recompense. If American English has been influenced by increasing secularization, then it was hypothesized that this secularization might influence the frequency of pain language. Results of this study show an intersection of religious and pain language. For example, in Google Books, pain and hurt show an increase during the 1970s (69.05% and 120% respectively), a time when religious conviction waned in the U.S. following the "radical" 1960s.
This presentation analyzes the frequency of pain language in American English from 1800 - 2000. Specifically, it analyzes the frequency of the words pain and hurt (the two most common "pain" words) in three corpora: Google Books Corpus, Corpus of Historical American English, and Time Magazine Corpus. The frequency analysis is done in light of the increasing secularization of American society. Chaput (2017) comments that the 20th and 21st century has seen a dramatic reduction in religious, specifically Christian, influences in American public discourse. With the increasing secularization in American society, notions of Christian stoic piety evaporated, thus discussions of pain are less restricted. The reason for the comparison to the religious words God and religion is that it is difficult to dissociate linguistic, historical, and metaphorical conceptualizations of pain from America's religiosity. The principal question is this: does the increase of pain language correspond with the decrease of language dealing with the divine in American English? This study will show a correspondence.
Biro, David. 2010. The Language of Pain: Finding Words, Compassion, and Relief. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Bourke, Joanna. 2014. The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chaput, Charles. 2017. Strangers in a Strange land: Living the Catholic Faith in A Post Christian World. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
Scarry, Elaine. 1985. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York: Oxford University Press.
Horses and Language: An Early and Enduring Partnership
Sarah Tsiang, Eastern Kentucky University
Horses and man have coexisted for over 40,000 years, and horses have been closely connected with the lives of humans since their domestication some 7000 years ago. Language is a well-known repository of cultural information, so it is natural that the linguistic record reflects the intimacy of the horse-human relationship, including how man's interaction with horses has changed over time. The significance of the horse as a food source and object of religious veneration diminished as the horse came to be used for work, travel, and warfare. Today horses are mainly used for sports and leisure, entertainment, therapy, and kept as pets.
The present study explores the changing roles of the horse in human life as reflected in new words and expressions and language change. In particular, it will consider equine-related words and phrases in English, and their typical transition from literal to figurative usages as recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary and other sources. For example, henchman (lit. male horse + man) in the sense 'attendant on a horse, groom' as attested in the 14th century, is extended to mean 'right-hand man' by the 18th century, and 'stout political supporter or partisan' by the 19th century (OED). This history underlies its current popular usage for describing subordinates who do the dirty work of those in power. During the 19th century, the usage of horsepower as a unit of measure describing an engine's power coexisted with its usage for describing the power of an actual horse or horses to drive machinery (OED). The early automobile has been jestingly described as a "horseless carriage." While James Watt (1736- 1819), who standardized the measure, would be familiar with the mill horses of his day, nowadays it would be rare that a real horse comes to mind when the horsepower of different vehicles is compared.
New expressions would be terms like "pasture pet," describing a clearly modern role, or "tail extensions," an aesthetic accessory for today's show world.
In the language of horse training, the concept of breaking a horse has fallen into disfavor, while forging a relationship or partnership with the horse is the basis of several modern training methods. The irony of terms like "liberty training" (Stephen Smith, p.c.) and "natural horsemanship" has been pointed out: "the term 'natural horsemanship' would be relevant only if every horse is born with a rider on his or her back – which they're not" (Annie Cass, comment to Horse & Hound, 2/16/17). So we return to the horse's earliest history.
Given the close and dynamic relationship of horses and humans over time, studying horses in language offers interesting insights into our shared history. Moreover, this investigation offers further validation of the intimate relationship between language and culture, the subject of numerous linguistic explorations from a Sapir-Whorf perspective. Finally, attention to the chronological record may shed light on the idea that equine terms are particularly resilient due to a special attachment to horses compared to other entities that have become obsolete in both culture and language.
A Morphosyntactic Analysis of Arabic Verbal Agreement Asymmetries
Connor Rouillier, Louisiana State University
In Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), verbs are conjugated based upon both the gender and the number of their subjects; however, a well-documented asymmetry in this agreement exists by which the verb does not conjugate for number if the verb comes before the subject in the sentence as can be seen in examples (1-2) from Aoun et al. (2010). In this talk, I argue that this asymmetry is the result of the third person singular form of Arabic verbs being underspecified for number allowing for this form to not conflict with a plural subject of the sentence.
ʔakala l-muʕallim-uun Ate.3ms the-teacher-mp.NOM The teachers ate.
* ʔakal-uu l-muʕallim-uun Ate.3mp the-teacher-m.p.NOM The teachers ate.
*l-muʕallim-uun ʔakala the-teacher-mp.NOM Ate.3ms The teachers ate.
l-muʕallim-uun ʔakal-uu the-teacher-m.p.NOM Ate.3mp The teachers ate.
The verb form in these examples, which is traditionally called the past tense in Arabic pedagogy, are conjugated by adding suffixes, like the masculine plural suffix -uu in (2b), to the root, which is the third person masculine singular as seen in (1a). In the other non-past forms of the verb, the same agreement asymmetries exist with the different conjugations.
There are two major syntactic analyses for this phenomenon. The first, proposed originally by Benmamoun (1992), states that it occurs either due to government and spec-head relationships between the verb and its subject, and the second, proposed by van Gelderen (1996), argues that the verb in VSO word order is agreeing with covert pronominal subjects. Benmamoun (2000) argues for a morphological approach through which the verb and subject in (1a) are seen as forming a prosodic unit sharing the subject's number feature making number marking on the verb redundant.
Following Benmamoun, I assume that the asymmetry is caused by Arabic morphology; however, I disagree with his analysis, instead arguing that the forms usually discussed as the third person singular are, in fact, underspecified for number. Furthermore, I argue that because in the VSO word order the verb, located in T, is the head of a phrase in which number is marked overtly, marking the verb for plurality is redundant. In VSO environments, the so-called singular form of the verb is able to surface because of its lack of number features which does not make it incompatible with the plural subject. In an SVO environment, the subject moves higher in the syntax, causing the verb in T to be unable to locate overt number within the subject DP, requiring it, instead, to be found on the verb itself.
The Bigger Picture of Parameter Theory: Interfacing Language and Cognition
Ralf Thiede, UNC Charlotte
In 2017, Charles Yang, Stephen Crain, Robert C. Berwick, Noam Chomsky, and Johan J. Bolhuis published an article in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews entitled "The growth of language: Universal Grammar, experience, and principles of computation." They present a case for a Tolerance Principle in parameter setting to explain how children can live with parameters that do not uniformly apply. For example, the verb give can take the structure V-NP-NP, but the semantically similar verb donate cannot, at least not in the examples they provide. Unfortunately, there are only so many linguistic examples one can pack into an article in a neuroscience journal, and counterexamples can be found readily (e.g. "Man Meets Rabbi Who Donated Him A Kidney" = V-NP-NP).
Parameter Theory has been a wild ride, and I will offer a brief historical review on issues of initial states and parameter resetting, absorbing parameter theory into morphological phi-features, and universals that explain learnability. My main concern, at this point, is the inherent conflict of interests. On the one hand, we hold on to Parameter Theory because of computational efficiency, and we certainly see it beautifully demonstrated when children overgeneralize (e.g. with causatives such as 'my blanket is sweating me'). On the other hand, a 'Tolerance Principle' for exceptions presupposes the ability to make meta-parametric acceptability judgments that have absolutely nothing to do with computational efficiency. Those acceptability judgments are cognitive, and context sensitive. For example, one and the same sentence can be judged "grammatical" and "ungrammatical" depending on context. Yang et al. explicitly rule out *John guaranteed the fans a victory, and rightly so if they context is that John meant to make some kind of promise to the fans (in which case the expected form is John guaranteed a victory to the fans). However, let's say John is an exceptionally good player on the team and has played and scored so exceedingly well in the past that his mere presence on the field is a guarantee of victory, then the sentence originally marked "ungrammatical" with the asterisk becomes quite acceptable.
I will make a case for having it both ways. We indeed have a language faculty that observes efficiency - because it needs to. Our language faculty operates on non-probabilistic, hierarchical rules, and as such it is a tender latecomer to our neural architecture and operates under pitifully tight ("minimalist") constraints. To compensate for its limited abilities and workspace, it must interface with cognitive faculties that are much older, such as event modeling (in the above examples, a 'causing-to-go' event vs. a 'causing-to-have' event), to enable or block its rules. I will conclude with examples of how stochastic thinking and rule-based thinking interface in Language (with a capital L, as the brain's information management system) and reconcile parameters for a language (with a lower-case, a specific language such as English) with the same kind of process that allows lexical fast mapping and syntactic predication in any particular language: MERGE.
When Violation Goes Viral: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Social Media Comments on Sexual Assault in the 'Real' World
Katherine Conner, North Carolina State University
This paper addresses the current gap in research concerning the discourse of sexual assault in comments on social media. Previous research in the vein of language surrounding sexual assault has overwhelmingly focused on the legislation and judicial adjudication of sexual assault incidences (Ehrlich 2012, 2008, 2007, 2001), although some previous work has focused on rape myths' prevalence and their effect on societal discourses (Koelsch 2014, Edwards et al 2011, Hengehold 2000). While some digital social media research has been conducted, it's focused more on both the framing of and reporting on sexual assaults by news outlets (Li, Kim, and O'Boyle 2017, Heyes 2016, Franiuk et al 2008) and on the discussion or construction of "rape culture" in society, especially on college campuses (Giraldi and Monk-Turner 2017, Zaleski et al 2016). While these previous studies have been important in discussing their specific phenomena of focus, they haven't answered how crossing the boundary from face-to- face communication to digitally mediated communication might affect how sexual assault is discursively constructed or framed. Do social media comments reflect "real life" paradigms like the hegemonic heterosexuality of victims and assailants, the blame of victims, and the invoking of "life ruining" consequences for "false" accusations? How do people characterize victims/survivors, who do we default to as victims/survivors and perpetrators, how should or how can justice be pursued after rape/assault has occurred? In this discursive setting who gets to call the shots and contribute and who does not? What exactly is rape and assault by posted comment standards?
An initial pilot data set of 76 comments from two New York Times articles on campus sexual assault was utilized. Comments were chosen from the top 25 comments (by "likes") on the two articles, and the "New York Times'" picks for both articles, with duplicate comments across those two categories being eliminated. Comments were quantitatively tallied based on six commonly observed themes (i.e., "calling for victim autonomy and/or responsibility", "focusing on false accusation/casting doubt", "privileging judicial institution"). Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough 2015) was utilized to frame language, social practice, power, and social change in comment trends in order to explore how language is being employed socially to reinforce existing power structures and to identify those problematic structures. Additionally, stance and positioning analysis was conducted (Bamberg et al. 2004, Bamberg 2003, Ba,ber 1997 a,b,c, Davies and Harre, 1990) to identify master online narratives of sexual assault and to identify institutional subject positions of commenters within that master narrative.
Based on the analysis, there is a reflection of "real life" rape myths and discursive constructions of "violent" rape in online comments, there are "traditional" roles for men and women in rape (with no room for deviation), and the judicial system is overwhelmingly viewed as the only "real" or "right" way to pursue justice and punishment. While these results are preliminary, they support the ubiquity of current sexual assault paradigms across physical and digital boundaries that exist. They additionally demonstrate the need for further discussion and study concerning how sexual assault is constructed and discussed, especially if we are to continue to discuss how we could alter current discursive paradigms and constructions, "as a basis for action to change reality for the better," (Fairclough, 2015, pp. 48) online and in person.
Gender-specific derogatory terms: A diachronic study
Leslie Layne, University of Lynchburg
This study seeks to determine the changes over time in gender-specific derogatory terms (GSDTs) and how that may reflect changes in social expectations and prejudices. There have been previous studies that have looked at gender-specific slurs or insults at a given point in time (Eggert 2011, James 1998) but none that look at such results across time with a consistent subject pool. This study uses data collected over 10 years from mostly first-year college students. Subjects were given instructions to list terms that were slurs or insults specific to one gender or the other only, first individually and then with collaboration. The list was compiled for at least two different class sections each year and the diachronic data is reviewed in this presentation. Notable changes over the time period include a striking difference in homophobic slurs for both genders. Other notable results include increased emphasis on male personality GSDTs and fairly steady female promiscuity insults.
Uses of Tú and Usted in Isleño Spanish Conflict
Felice Coles, University of Mississippi
Conflict exchanges are rare in Isleño Spanish (for a variety of linguistic and social reasons), but when they do occur, speakers use tú and usted to signal their attitudes toward the conflict. This presentation will examine a conversation between two brothers and a family friend, noting that the use of usted as a polite pronoun of address allows the speakers to distance themselves from the contentious utterances while signaling the gravity of the situation. Then, when concord is reached, the informal pronoun tú is employed to signal solidarity.
Isleño Spanish, historically related to Caribbean Spanish varieties (Lipski 1990), follows the tendency to use second person pronouns overtly (Hochberg 1986) in narratives as "the stance of solidarity manifests itself through the choice of verb forms" and the tú pronoun of address (Coles 2012: 296). In conflict narratives, Flores-Ferrán (2010: 72) has discussed the effect of conflict on pronoun overtness, asserting that "the increase in the occurrence of overt pronouns in the presence of conflict takes place in all persons of the verb."
This presentation will focus on the tú/usted complementary use in familial exchanges when play turns into conflict.
The second person pronoun tú in Isleño Spanish shows unity of feeling or agreement in an exchange:
A: ¿Tú sabes el dinero que había entrado en el estado? Eso nunca va a ver jamás…
...'You know the money that has come into the state? That's never going to be seen again'... I: ¡Sí, el estado está atrasado por millones de pesos!
'Yeah, the state is behind in millions of dollars!'
Tú draws the interlocutors into a shared interpersonal space (Stewart 2003) where they concur in opinion.
However, usted comes out as a marker of discord in the conversation:
A: Cualquier hombre que tenga un poco de sesos se lo puede ver. ¿Tú no lo ves?
'Anybody with a few brains can see it. You don't see it?
I: Usted no puede decirme que no lo veo. ¡Lo veo, lo veo! Lo veo lo que usted no ve…
'You can't tell me that I don't see it. I see it! I see it! What I see is what you don't see…'
A: ¡Ay, primo! Lo único que usted ve son los botes. Mira al dinero…
'Oh, cousin! The only think that you see are boats. Look at the money.'
I: Usted sabe perfecto que los botes son dinero. No me diga que no.
'You know perfectly well that boats are money. Don't tell me they're not.'
The formal pronoun allows for social distance in differing opinions. Usted signals that the conflict, while sounding like a personal attack, does not break the bond of social network, and that the exchange is serious.
The pragmatic extension of tú and usted in Isleño Spanish provides speakers with nuanced interpretations of conflict in exchanges inside the small social network, giving Isleños ways to express disagreement without damaging relations.
Coles, Felice A. 2012. Stance and the subjunctive in Isleño Spanish. Hispania 95(2): 285- 298.
Flores-Ferrán, Nydia. 2010. ¡Tú no me hables! Pronoun expression in conflict narratives. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 203: 61-82.
Hochberg Judith. (1986). Functional compensation for /s/ deletion in Puerto Rican Spanish. Language 62(3): 609–621.
Lipski, John M. 1990. The Language of the Isleños: Vestigial Spanish in Louisiana. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
Stewart, Miranda. 2003. 'Pragmatic weight' and face: pronominal presence and the case of the Spanish second person singular subject pronoun tú. Journal of Pragmatics 35: 191- 206.
The Social Meanings of Tú and Usted: Attitudes and Perceptions of the speakers
Giovani Lopez, University of Alabama
Most previous studies on Spanish forms of address tú and usted have focused on the contexts in which these linguistic forms are used and on the linguistic and social aspects that condition their use. In addition to the traditional aspects of age and formality, Bayona, 2006; Colenso-Semple, 2008; Fernández, 2003; Laurido, 2006; López López, 2016; Mestre-de Caro, 2011; and Uber, 2011 have found that in the context of Bogotá, tú and usted are also conditioned by many other important aspects such as gender, age, socio-economic status of the speakers and even by the speaker's intention and mood. However, what no study has totally focused on is on the perceptions and attitudes that speakers have toward these forms.
The present study is an ethnographic investigation that explores the social meanings of Spanish forms of address tú and usted. It discusses the conceptualizations, perceptions and attitudes that speakers have towards these forms of address, the reactions that both types of address generate as well as the opinions speakers have of individuals who tend to use mainly either tú or usted. Data for this study was collected in the summer of 2017 through a sociolinguistic survey carried out in Bogotá, Colombia in which 60 participants from different socio-cultural and generational groups participated.
Results from this study show that in addition to their referential meaning, tú and usted are associated with a series of positive, negative and neutral indexical, social meanings that vary according to the age, gender and socio-economic background of the speaker. Speakers opinions regarding the address with tú or usted and of its users also vary depending on the aforementioned aspects. However, in contrast with earlier studies that highlighted the preference for the form usted by most Colombian speakers, this study shows that such trend may have changed and that individuals from Bogotá tend to have a more positive conceptualization of the address with tú and its users, and therefore, prefer to give and receive this form of address. Nevertheless, results from this study also show that usted still has an important place in the daily interactions of individuals living in this city and that usted is still valued and used by this society.
Key words: tú and usted, social meanings, speakers' conceptualization, attitudes, perceptions
Bayona, P. (2006). Sociolinguistic competences in the use of Colombian pronouns of address. In P.C. Gurski, & M. Radisic (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2006 Canadian Linguistics Association Annual Conference. Toronto, Canada.
Colenso-Semple, S (2008). ¿"Tu" O "Usted"? La adaptación de los inmigrantes colombianos al sistema de tratamiento madrileño. Gaceta Hispánica de Madrid, Edición 8.
Fernández, M. (2003). Constitución del orden social y desasosiego: pronombres de segunda persona y fórmulas de tratamiento en español. In Actas del Congreso Internacional
"Pronombres de segunda persona y formas de tratamiento en las lenguas de Europa", Instituto Cervantes de París (2003). Retrieved from http://cvc.cervantes.es/lengua/coloquio_paris/ponencias/pdf/cvc_fernandez.pdf
Laurido, E. D. (2006). Sociolingüística: Cortesía – El uso de tú y usted. Norte Científico, 1(1), 51-58.
López López, G. (2016). Diferencias dialectales en el uso de las formas de tratamiento: tú y usted en páginas de Facebook de dos equipos de fútbol de Bogotá. Proceedings of the 4to Encuentro Internacional de Español Como Lengua Extranjera: Enseñanza, Aprendizaje y Evaluación, Bogotá, Colombia. Retrieved from http://www.cuartoencuentro.com/ponencias/L%C3%B3pez%20L%C3%B3pez%20Giova ni.pdf
Mestre-de Caro, P. (2011). Alternancia de pronombres en el habla de Bogotá. Enunciación, 16(2), 17-30.
Uber, D. R. (2011) Forms of Address: The Effect of the Context. In M. Díaz-Campos (Ed.), The Handbook of Hispanic Sociolinguistics. (pp. 244-262). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Dative Clitic Placement in Contemporary Cuban Spanish: A Relic from the Past?
Justin White, Florida Atlantic University
The present study investigates a non-standard use of the Spanish dative clitics found in post-verbal position in spoken Spanish by native speakers in Havana, Cuba. Historical clitic placement was indeed found in post-verbal position; however, this use largely disappeared by the 17th century (Penny 1991). Consequently, typical contemporary clitic placement is in pre-verbal position in all cases when accompanied by finite verbs except for imperatives, gerunds, and infinitives. The present study investigates speakers' responses to both standard and non-standard clitic use and placement via survey. Participants included 11 adult native Spanish speakers from Havana, Cuba. Findings revealed acceptability of both standard and non-standard clitic use and placement, as well as original examples of non-standard clitic use and placement. As such, we discuss the findings, implications, and possible historical explanations of this non-standard construction.
Ancient Loanwords and their Significance for Language Contact in Early Japan
Alexander Francis-Ratte, Furman University
Much of the recent research into the question of Japanese and Korean common origin has centered on the all-important question of loanword identification. If similar forms are mostly cognates, then the two languages share a common origin; however, if similar forms are ancient loans pre-dating our earliest Japanese texts (712 CE), then the relationship of Japanese and Korean is one of contact-induced convergence. Identifying "border-crossing words," however, can be difficult for ancient languages, especially when the genetic relatedness of the two languages is itself in question (compare Campbell 1995 on the Quechumaran controversy).
This paper reexamines the loan versus cognate debate, and argues that the total number of productive loanwords that have crossed borders from Old Korean into pre-Old Japanese is a relatively low 33 nouns, plus one quasi-grammatical marker. For example:
Middle Korean tyel 'temple' < Old Korean *ter >> Old Japanese tera 'temple'
Drawing on both historical linguistic methodologies and sociolinguistic insights, I show that a defensible set of criteria can be used to justify why only these 34 forms are probable loans and why other words identified by previous research as loans are instead likely cognates (pace Vovin 2010). Lexical matches exhibiting the phonological properties of borrowing from Korean (irregularities in sound correspondence) also exhibit the semantic hallmarks of borrowing, in nearly all cases displaying cultural or semantic specificity in Japanese (but not Korean). This confluence of phonological and semantic arguments increases confidence in the validity of the identifications. This analysis also takes into account what most scholars examining the Japanese- Korean question have not, namely the independent evidence that a close cousin of Japanese once existed on the Korean peninsula (Unger 2009). The presence of this additional language explains some of the lexical similarities found between Japanese and ancient regional varieties of Korean, similarities that are not reflected in later stages of Korean.
34 loans from Korean is far fewer than proposed by Vovin (2010), and is consistent with a common linguistic origin found under a distinct stratum of later borrowings (Francis-Ratte 2016). The paper concludes with a discussion of the likely sociolinguistic conditions under which early contact took place between Korean and Japanese speakers, synthesizing linguistic insights with what can be inferred about early Japanese-Korean contacts from historical records. This analysis thus points the way to a more complete picture of East Asian language history.
Campbell, Lyle. 1995. "The Quechumaran hypothesis and lessons for distant genetic comparison." Diachronica 12: 157-200.
Francis-Ratte, Alexander Takenobu. 2016. Proto-Korean-Japanese: A New Reconstruction of the Common Origin of the Japanese and Korean Languages. Ph.D. dissertation, The Ohio State University.
Unger, J. Marshall. 2009. The Role of Contact in the Origins of the Japanese and Korean Languages. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press.
Vovin, Alexander. 2010. Koreo-Japonica: A Re-evaluation of a Common Genetic Origin. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press.
New Japanese-Korean Cognates and Some Implications for Japanese-Korean Border Crossings
Emily Nicholson and Alexander Francis-Ratte, Furman University
Abstract: The Japanese and Korean languages are remarkably similar in their grammar, so much so that direct morpheme-for-morpheme translation often produces felicitous sentences. The theory that the Japanese and Korean languages share a common origin, however, remains controversial despite decades of research into the linguistic ancestry of the two languages.
This research contributes new cognates that attest to a common origin of Japanese and Korean, building on previously proposed cognates and sound changes (Martin 1966, Whitman 1985, Francis-Ratte 2016). Drawing on the earliest, reliably decipherable historical texts in Old Japanese (8th century CE) and Middle Korean (15th century CE), we compare the languages by determining a range of reasonable phonological and semantic shapes for internal reconstruction, and then searching secondary materials for forms that match in sound and meaning. By eliminating likely borrowings, as well as onomatopoeia and other words of universal provenance, we identify 28 new cognates, many of which replace the weakest cognates of previous work and strengthen the evidence for sound changes in proto-Japanese and proto-Korean. For example:
MK sal (pK *sar) 'fish weir' ~ OJ se (pJ *saj) 'shallows, rapids' pKJ *sar 'shallows, rapids'
Recent research into the relationship of Japanese and Korean has yielded a hypothesized pattern of lexical recycling in proto-Korean, whereby pre-technological words have been consistently repurposed to refer to later technologies (Francis-Ratte 2017). New cognates such as MK sal
'fish weir' ~ OJ se 'shallows; rapids' fit this pattern of Japanese preserving more basic meanings and Korean undergoing lexical innovation. From this, we argue against the hypothesis of contact-induced convergence by critics such as Vovin (2010), who believe that virtually all Japanese words that resemble Korean are loans. The etymologies proposed herein are therefore not the result of border crossings, but are indicative of a distant but traceable common origin of Japanese and Korean.
Francis-Ratte, Alexander. 2016. Proto-Korean-Japanese: a new reconstruction of the common origin of the Japanese and Korean languages. PhD diss., The Ohio State University.
———. 2017. Lexical Recycling as a Lens onto Shared Japano-Koreanic Agriculture.
To appear in Martine Robbeets, ed., Language Dispersal Beyond Farming: Benjamins.
Martin, Samuel E. 1966. Lexical evidence relating Korean to Japanese. Language 42 (2): 185–251.
Nam, Kwangwu. 1997. Kwo'e sacen [Dictionary of Classical Korean]. Seoul: Donga Publishing. Omodaka, Hisataka et al. 1967. Jidaibetsu kokugo daijiten: Jōdai hen [Great Dictionary of Japanese by period: Ancient period]. Tōkyō, Japan: Sanseidō.
Vovin, Alexander. 2010. Koreo-Japonica: A Re-evaluation of a Common Genetic Origin. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press.
Whitman, John Bradford. 1985. The Phonological Basis for the Comparison of Japanese and Korean. Ph.D. diss., Harvard University.
The Effect of Massive Internal Displacement on the Phonology of Portuguese in Luanda, Angola
Vanessa Swenson, University of Georgia, PhD Student
By the time Portugal finally relinquished its colonial hold on Angola in 1975, various guerrilla groups had already been working for self rule for fifteen years. Members of these groups crossed tribal boundaries to espouse certain ideologies. Portuguese was used as the lingua franca by members inside these groups, as well as in propaganda broadcast to all Angolans. The language had been tightly controlled by metropole policy: Um território, uma língua, uma nação (one territory, one language, one nation). For centuries, to escape slavery or forced servitude, a native Angolan had to at least be proficient in Continental Portuguese. Sounding like a native Portuguese had once been a tool for literal survival. Now the language had become a weapon in the fight for freedom and control of the country.
Angola fell into a civil war at the end of 1975 that lasted almost thirty years. Refugees of all ages from around the country flooded into the capital Luanda by the millions. Portuguese was the only language that most of the citizens had at least some proficiency in, thus it became the language of day- to-day communication of Luandans and refugees, rather than the country's various national languages. Using data gathered in Luanda in July 2015, I will show the effect that this mass internal displacement of Angolans had on the phonology of Angolan Portuguese spoken in the capital, with special focus on the oral and nasal vowel systems.
The oral vowel system that Continental Portuguese speakers took to Angola during three centuries of immigration waves was a seven-vowel system, with the mid vowels split into a front pair [e, ɛ] and a back pair [o, ɔ]. Current Luandan Portuguese presents a five-vowel system, with the mid vowels leveling to [e] and [o]. What aspects can be attributed to the influence of Bantu and Khoisan languages? What effects stem from dialect leveling?
My presentation will briefly cover the history of Portuguese in Angola as a foundation to the following discussion of the language's phonology of the country's capital. This discussion will then lead to the final section, an examination about the influence of national languages and patterns of dialect leveling that we have seen happen elsewhere during migrations.
Barlaz, M. et al. Lingual Differences in Brazilian Portuguese Oral and Nasal Vowels: An MRI Study. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d3d1/9a31192c287b8d1e376bdcde9ce2fcfb289a.pdf.
Castelo, C. (2007). Passagen para África: O povoamento de Angola e Moçambique com naturais da metrópole. Porto, Portugal: Afrontamento.
Faingold, E. D. (2008). The Development of Phonology in Spanish and Portuguese. Munich, Germany: Lincom.
de Oliveira, H. T. Língua, Nação e Nacionalismo em Angola: Violência e Resistência Linguística (Dissertation). Retrieved from https://repositorio.ufsc.br/bitstream/handle/123456789/167898/341251.pdf?sequence=1.
Hawkins, S. & Stevens, K.N. (1985). Acoustic and Perceptual Correlates of the Non-nasal—Nasal Distinction for Vowels, Journal of the Acoustic Society of America, Volume 77 (Issue 4), pp. 1560-1575.
Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (2017, January 30), Angola. Retrieved from http://www.internal-displacement.org/search?Countries=Angola.
Mateus, M. H. & d'Andrade, E. (2000). The Phonology of Portuguese. Oxford, England: Oxford. McWhorter, J. H. (2011). Linguistic Simplicity and Complexity: Why do Languages Undress?. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
Newitt, M. D. D. (2005). History of Portuguese Overseas Expansion, 1400-1668. New York: Routledge.
Observa Língua Portuguesa (2017, March 28), Angola: Português é Falado por 71,15% de
Angolanos (Censo de 2014). http://observalinguaportuguesa.org/angola-portugues-e-falado-por-7115-de- angolanos/.
Siegel, J. (1985). Koines and Koineization, Language in Society, Volume 13 (Issue 3), pp. 357-378.
Xavier, F. S. (2010). Fonologia Segmental e Suprasegmental do Kimbundu. Doctoral Dissertation, University of São Paulo.
Language practices in the "new" New Orleans:
Perception, performance, and representation of local dialects in a post-disaster context
According to the 2017 U.S. Census, cities in the South are growing faster than in any other region of the U.S. At the same time, the historically conservative political system in the South considers both urban planning and the allocation of resources for the public good to be a low priority (e.g., Parker et al. 2009; Peacock, Morrow, & Gladwin 1997). As a result, there are few policies in place to either prevent, mitigate, or recover from disasters like Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the flooding after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, or Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017. This results in post-disaster demographic shifts that have consequences for local language practices. The near-total absence of policy planning, and the presence instead of "planning by surprise" after a disaster, leads to the socioeconomically uneven rebuilding of cities, as the displaced rich pay for their own renovations and the displaced poor are prevented from returning or rebuilding because they possess fewer financial and social resources. Rental prices for undamaged housing units increase, so that the people who are able to return or move to the city for the first time tend to be Whiter and wealthier than previous tenants. Further, rather than creating rebuilding programs that employ local residents, Southern policymakers have eschewed comprehensive rebuilding plans, so that individual residents must hire private contractors to rebuild. These privatized recovery efforts depend on the often underpaid labor of Latinx people, who are attracted to the jobs available in the post-disaster economy. Long-term residents are displaced, and new arrivals come bearing their own English varieties and other languages. The result is thus the maintenance of old borders between speakers of different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and the enacting of new borders between newcomer populations and the longstanding residents of New Orleans.
This panel uses New Orleans as a case study to investigate post-disaster language in use. How do residents perceive changes in local language after a disaster? What groups are invisibilized, erased, or made objects of linguistic nostalgia? Do new arrivals in the city adopt features of the local English? Are they seen as threatening Others or legitimated as participants in civic life?
How do the media frame and narrativize post-disaster recovery? Methodologically, the panel uses language-ideology theory, perceptual dialectology, multimodal discourse analysis, and sociolinguistic variation analysis to explore these questions. Because the population of Southern conurbations is growing fast, new language practices and ways of understanding local varieties are emerging. Further, disasters cause spatial and demographic upheavals that also affect language practices. We seek to understand the construction of post-disaster language and place, and the practices of individual speakers, and to discuss what we as linguists can do to create visibility and support for marginalized groups and their language varieties. The comedian George Carlin described the South by saying: "I love traveling down there, especially when I'm in the mood for a quick trip to the thirteenth century. I'm not someone who buys into all that
'New South' shit you hear; I judge a place by the number of lynchings they've had, overall" (1997: 16). The South, demographically, no longer fulfills these traditional stereotypes, and the language practices of its residents are one cultural element developing in novel and contested ways in the twenty-first century.
Carlin, G. (1997). Brain Droppings. New York: Hyperion.
Parker, C. F., Stern, E. K., Paglia, E. and Brown, C. (2009). "Preventable Catastrophe? The Hurricane Katrina Disaster Revisited." Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, (17: 1): 206–220. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5973.2009.00588.x
Peacock, W., Morrow, B., and Gladwin, H. (eds.). (1997). Hurricane Andrew: Ethnicity, Gender and the Sociology of Disasters. New York: Routledge.
Individual paper abstracts
"An edgy aftertaste of danger": Media representations of New Orleans a decade after the flooding
Christina Schoux Casey, Aalborg University and Maeve Eberhardt, University of Vermont
New Orleans has received sustained media attention in the years since the flooding after Hurricane Katrina. One major media narrative about the city focuses on the city's recovery, describing an urban renaissance. Ten years after the flooding, the website Smartasset.com named New Orleans the number one "Top Ten Cities for Creatives," while readers of Conde Nast Traveler voted the city number five of "Best Big Cities in the U.S.," and Travel and Leisure magazine named it the "Quirkiest City in America." Another narrative about the city focuses on the inequities of the rebuilding, the high level of violent crime, and the continuing exclusion of African American New Orleanians from economic and social gains. Using a corpus of articles and video features about New Orleans created since the ten year anniversary, this paper uses a Multi-modal Critical Discourse Analysis approach to understand how the tension between the two narratives is represented by the media. We examine descriptions of four broad thematic areas: New Orleans' recovery; culture; crime; and African American culture. Lexical, syntactic, graphic design and micro-geographic focus choices are all mobilized by some authors and web designers to minimize and frame African American New Orleans as Other, while simultaneously extolling the culture African Americans help create.
Perceptions of New Orleans English before and after Hurricane Katrina
Katie Carmichael, Virginia Tech and Nathalie Dajko, Tulane University
New Orleans is a city of neighborhoods, and previous research on New Orleans English suggests that locals have strong ideas about how different dialects in the city map onto these neighborhood distinctions (DePascual et al 1994; Mucciaccio 2009; Carmichael 2014). In this paper, we examine how those perceptions have been affected by the social and demographic changes in the city since Hurricane Katrina. Longstanding New Orleanians completed a perceptual dialectology map task in which they were asked to draw lines around the areas where people have different ways of speaking, and to provide a label; crucially, participants were prompted to draw separate maps representing their ideas about language before the storm and after. For those that made a distinction, map-drawers focused on population movements, specifically (1) the arrival of (or increased visibility of) Spanish speakers post-Katrina, (2) the relocation of St. Bernard "Yats" to the Northshore, and (3) the arrival of transplants in the "white teapot" or "sliver by the river" – the high ground along the Mississippi River, composed of gentrified neighborhoods with predominantly white populations (Campanella 2013). The latter two changes were framed in terms of a loss of local linguistic distinctiveness in the city. Notably absent from maps was mention of changes in African American and Creole speakers in New Orleans, despite their consistent presence drawn into the maps in general. We discuss these patterns in terms of broader ideological processes of iconicity, erasure, and recursiveness (Irvine & Gal 2000).
Dialect emergence across linguistic borders: Networks, identity, and Latinx threat in New Orleans Latinx English
Tom Lewis, Tulane University
This project explores linguistic performance among first generation Latinxs in New Orleans. The data suggests that New Orleans Latinx English (NOLA-E) is being formulated by incorporating linguistic features across borders between the languages and language varieties spoken in the city and is constrained by social network borders whose articulation is impacted by iterations of Latinx Threat discourses (see Chavez, 2013), consistent with Wolford & Carter (2010) and Carter's (2014) observation that localized reproductions of Latinx Threat Narrative discourses are implicated in shaping Latinx linguistic performance. I suggest that NOLA-E is an emergent dialect of American English spoken by Latinxs in New Orleans which merits consideration in the process of articulating a sociolinguistic description of the city.
I present an analysis of data extracted from sociolinguistic interviews conducted with Latinxs (n=15) in New Orleans. The interviews were transcribed and coded for the presence of markers of Spanish as a heritage language. I focus here on intervocalic spirantization of voiced plosives as a marker of Spanish influence. I consider two markers of localized linguistic performance, noted as salient across multiple varieties of local English: variable post-vocalic /r/ realization and localized lexical items. These variables are considered in terms of the following independent variables: age, occupation, time of local residency, and neighborhood of residency.
While Coles (2003, 2012) considers the Isleños, Spanish heritage communities in New Orleans have been largely ignored (although see Varela 1974, 1992). As Sluyter et al (2015) note, the increased rate of Latinx immigration into New Orleans was accompanied by an increase in the salience of the Latinx community. The impact of Latinxs on the linguistic landscape of New Orleans bears further exploration. This paper begins the process of addressing this gap in the existing literature and aims to contribute to the growing body of sociolinguistic research in New Orleans.
That Marine Base in North Carolina: What Would the Young Lieutenant General Call It?
Karen Burdette, Tennessee Tech University (Emerita)
If you visit Onslow County in Eastern North Carolina, you may be confused by the name of the U.S. Marine Corps base located there. Visitors, as well as many locals, may tell you that Camp Lejeune is pronounced Camp Luh-ZHUNE, or Camp Luh-JUNE, but anybody who knows anything will be quick to inform you that it is Camp Luh-ZHERN.
The base was named for World War I Marine Lieutenant General John Archer LeJeune (1867-1942), 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, and 5th Superintendent of VMI (the Virginia Military Institute).
According to P.T. Brent, historian and Lejeune family friend (WCTI Channel 12 News, 2009), as well as Lejeune's daughter Laura in a 1983 television interview (WRAL Action News, 2009) and John Lejeune, another descendent (WECT Channel 6 News, 2016), the Lieutenant General pronounced his surname Luh-ZHERN. In the same 1983 WRAL news report, General George Ripley of VMI concurs, pointing out that there is a Lejeune Hall on campus, pronounced Luh-ZHERN. According to Brent, this pronunciation was, consequently, the accepted and typical pronunciation in the early years of the Lieutenant General's namesake Marine base. However, during the Vietnam era, local civilians, newscasters, and Marines themselves started saying Luh-ZHUNE or Luh-JUNE. But in 2007, at the request of the Lieutenant General's descendants and other family members, there began a campaign on the base and in the media to revert to the "correct" pronunciation, Luh-ZHERN (Kim Ratcliffe, WECT Channel 6 News, 2015).
John Archer Lejeune was from Southern Lousiana, just northwest of Baton Rouge. In spite of his surname's French origin, there seems to be no on-the-record acknowledgement of the actual French pronunciation and how that pronunciation may have evolved into the various pronunciations heard today among speakers of American English. The French word 'jeune' (young) is pronounced with the low-mid front vowel [œ], thus [lə.ʒœn], which is roughly somewhere in between 'zhune' [ʒu:n], 'zhun' [ʒʌn], and 'zhern' [ʒɜ:ɹn]. This low-mid front vowel [œ] is, of course, not part of the Standard English vowel system.
Did Lieutenant General Lejeune really pronounce his name as his descendants and the people who knew him claim he did, i.e. as Luh-ZHERN? Or did the Lieutenant General use the French pronunciation, but his non-French-speaking descendants and acquaintances Anglicized his surname to Luh-ZHERN because that's the way they heard it? In regions where there is frequent contact between speakers of rhotic varieties of English with speakers of non-rhotic varieties, such as in North Carolina and Virginia, are people more apt to hear the French pronunciation as ZHERN, just as they "hear" the /r/ when non-rhotic speakers pronounce words like Auburn, New Bern, or Weaver without an /r/?
This paper suggests that in addition to the natural substitution of familiar sounds for unfamiliar ones, regional language variation and local contact with non-rhotic varieties of English have greatly influenced the pronunciation of the surname Lejeune and the adamant insistence that the "correct" pronunciation is Luh-ZHERN.
Superdiversity and Applying Theoretical Research Paradigms to Language Contact
Janice Jake, Midlands Technical College
In recent work in sociolinguistics, Blommaert and Rampton (2011:12) look at how "globalization has altered the face of social, cultural and linguistic diversity in societies all over the world." However, Blommaert (2010: xiv) also suggests that "now that … we are looking at a world that can no longer be neatly divided into clear and transparent categories, the theoretical paradigms need to be revised as well." This paper examines several cases of language contact and suggests that both social and structural theoretical paradigms continue to play a significant role in our understanding of language as a code for communicating.
Structural paradigms inform realization of speakers' choices in a superdiverse society. For example, features of thematic role assignment and case determine how multilinguals combine elements. In Turkish-Dutch codeswitching, Turkish word order and case assignment are facilitated via a do-verb construction; a Dutch infiinitive occurs.
bu bir sürü taal-lar-i beheers-en yap-iyor-ken
'… while he knows a lot of languages ….' (Backus, 1996:260)
Research paradigms facilitate analysis of variation in patterns across communities. For example, in South Africa, in areas away from the isiXhosa homeland, the use of English is pervasive. In (2), much of the sentence is from English, but Xhosa structure frames the utterance; noun phrases have Xhosa prefixes, and the verb has Xhosa derivational and inflectional morphology. Such use of Xhosa identifies the speaker as an upwardly-mobile multilingual who identifies as a member of an in-migrate community.
… and izi-statistics for crime be-zi-nga be-zi-quantify-w-a only kw-ii-whites areas
'… and the statistics for crime were quantified only for whites' areas' (Myers-Scotton, 2005)
In the isiXhosa heartland, speakers also employ English, but more clearly identify with a specific Xhosa community. In (3), an English verb is transitivized with the causative extension (-ish), suggesting that the transitive properties of the English verb are neutralized. Ngubani oyena mntu okanye eyona celebrity u-yi-admirer-ish-a-yo? 'Which other person or another celebrity do you admire?' (Simango, 2010)
In addition, assumptions of sociolinguistic models explain other aspects of speakers' choices in using their linguistic repertoires to communicate effectively. For example, subordinators and conjunctions frequently occur in Xhosa-English, directing relevance to what follows (Wilson & Sperber, 2012). In (4), the speaker emphasizes the importance transparency in government.
...because ku-kho ne transparency
'… because there is transparancy' (Myers-Scotton, 2005)
Linguistic research paradigms continue to be relevant; they offer explanations for what occurs in language contact and provide a lens for examining how differences in contact settings result in different patterns.
Backus, A. (1996). Two in one: Bilingual speech of Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands. TUP. Blommaert, J. (2010). The sociolinguistics of globalization. CUP.
Blommaert, J. and Rampton, B.(2011) Language and Superdiversity. Diversities, 13. www.unesco.org/shs/diversities/vol13/issue2/art1.
Myers-Scotton, C. (2005). Xhosa-English corpus.
Simango, S. R. (2010). When English meets isiXhosa in the clause. ACAL 41. Toronto. Wilson, D., & D. Sperber. (2012). Meaning and relevance. CUP.
OPTIMAL GRAMMAR OF ENGLISH-USE IN BOLLYWOOD LYRICS
Razia Husain, North Carolina State University
The term Bollywood (BW) refers to the movie industry of north India centered in Bombay (now Mumbai.) The use of multiple languages has always been part of the lyrics in BW songs. Lately, we have seen a rise in the use of English in these lyrics (Viswamohan 2011; Chandra 2014). There have been some studies which have looked at the structural form of English-use in BW lyrics, however no studies have looked at its socio-pragmatic function.
In this paper, I have described the socio-pragmatic function of English-use in BW lyrics in the context of the movie in which these songs are performed using the framework of Bhatt and Bolonyai's optimal grammar (2011) and insights from Goffman's model of multiple voice (1981) and Bhabha's notion of 'third space' in which identities are negotiated through language use (1994). This optimal grammar framework proposes five meta-principles of bilingual language use that are ranked as constraints in a comparative tableau. These principles include expressions that have FAITH (culturally faithful meaning), PERSPECTIVE (poetic use), SOLIDARITY (social alignment), FACE (culturally appropriate) and POWER (symbolic power). BW0 song lyrics were found to be using English to capitalize on the PERSPECTIVE principle, sometimes even at the cost of FAITH which mattered most after PERSPECTIVE. SOLIDARITY was the third most important constraint and POWER was the least important factor affecting the decision to use English in the lyrics.
Davies and Bentahila (2008) have noted that codeswitching in song lyrics within a particular genre seems to "conform to the norms of conversational code switching in the community." This study shows that this is not the case with BW song lyrics. Unlike song lyrics in other cultures, BW lyrics are an integral part of the story of a movie and their lyrical contents are performed by persons who have neither composed the lyrics nor vocalized them. The analysis of these multi-voiced (Goffman 1981) and contextually performed lyrics for a large audience reveals the complexities involved in evaluating the pragmatic function of code- switching and language mixing in genres other than situational and private conversations. This study adds to the literature on code-switching in song lyrics (Pennycook 2003; Sarkar and Winer 2005; Davies and Bentahila 2008; Kachru 2006; Moody 2006; Lee 2006; Jin and Ryoo 2014 et al.) and proposes a new area of application for optimal grammar of code-switching.
BHABHA, HOMI. 1994. The location of Culture. London: Routledge.
BHATT, RAKESH. M., AND AGNES BOLONYAI. 2011. Code-switching and the optimal grammar of bilingual language use. Bilingualism, 14(4), 522-546.
CHANDRA, SUBHASH. 2014. Main ho gaya single I wanna mingle...: An Evidence of English Code-Mixing in Bollywood Songs Lyrics Corpora. सocial-ईndia 2014, 2014, 16.
DAVIES, EIRLYS E. AND ABDELALI BENTAHILA. 2008. Code switching as a poetic device: Examples from rai lyrics. Language & Communication, 28(1), 1-20.
GOFFMAN, ERVING. 1981. Footing. In Forms of Talk. E. Goffman, ed. Pp. 124-159. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
JIN, DAL. Y., AND WOONGJAE RYOO. 2014. Critical interpretation of hybrid K-Pop: The global- local paradigm of English mixing in lyrics. Popular Music and Society, 37(2), 113-131.
KACHRU, YAMUNA. 2006. Mixers lyricing in Hinglish: blending and fusion in Indian pop culture. World Englishes, 25(2), 223-233.
LEE, JAMIE. S. 2006. Crossing and crossers in East Asian pop music: Korea and Japan. World Englishes, 25(2), 235-250.
MOODY, ANDREW. J. 2006. English in Japanese popular culture and J‐Pop music. World Englishes, 25(2), 209-222.
PENNYCOOK, ALASTAIR. 2003. Global Englishes, rip slyme, and performativity. Journal of sociolinguistics, 7(4), 513-533.
SARKAR, MELA, LISE WINER, AND KOBI SARKAR. 2005. Multilingual code-switching in Montreal Hip-Hop: Mayhem meets method, or,'Tout moune qui talk trash kiss mon black ass du nord'. In ISB4: Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on Bilingualism (pp. 2057-2074). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
VISWAMOHAN, Ayesha. I. 2011. English in film songs from India: an overview. English Today, 27(03), 21-24.
Crossing theoretical borders: A pragma-semantic and ethnographic analysis of Yoruba greeting and farewell expressions
Taofeeq Adebayo, Tulane University
This paper provides a linguistic categorization of Yoruba greeting and farewell expressions based on their pragmatic properties and ethnographic details described in such as works as Akindele (1990), Schleicher (1997), Igboin (2012), Olaoye (2013), and Akinwunmi (2014). The categories identified include illocutives, futuratives, declaratives, imperatives and interrogatives. Each of these categories is described in the language of formal semantics, using notions such as predicate logic, lambda calculus, possible worlds, and event semantics. The general tradition in the study of greetings has been to consider them as formulaic non-productive expressions, which have predictable forms and contents. Works such as Malinowski (1923), Searle (1969), Sacks (1975), and Youssouf et al. (1976) operate on the general assumption that greetings generally have no propositional contents, and are only used to establish conversations and maintain social relations without much exchange of information. Duranti (2009), however, suggests that this position might be mistaken, arguing that greeting expressions are more than formulaic and that their propositional contents are important and should be explored within the context of ethnographic studies. This is specifically what I have set out to do in this paper. The formalization of the greeting and farewell expressions reveals some of their properties that are often glossed over or lost in the traditional practice of translation. For this reason, the paper claims that using formal semantics in the study of culture may lead to a much deeper understanding of cultural meanings. The call to make use of formal semantics in cultural studies goes as far back as Thompson (1968). The findings of this paper may have yet made a supporting case for that call.
Some Hermeneutic Considerations in Formal Semantics
Mark Honegger, University Louisiana, Lafayette
Formal semantics is an investigation of language that in essence attempts to dispense with hermeneutics in its development of theories, but this paper will contend that formal semantics must be evaluated in light of the role of hermeneutics in its formulations, a role that is covert rather than explicit.
For example, in discussing the nominatum of a sentence as a proposition, Frege 1990 in footnote 5 says, "by 'proposition' I do not refer to the subjective activity of thinking but rather to its objective content which is capable of being the common property of many." The word "objective" here points to the ideal of formal semantics, that (many) words have a meaning that is objectively given rather than subjectively interpreted. Propositions themselves are mathematical objects that represent an objective state of affairs that can be compared with the world to determine the truth or falsity of sentences. Similarly, Bach 2006 argues, "we can distinguish what sentences mean from what speakers mean in using them."
What happens when we think about formal semantics in hermeneutical terms? The first consideration is that this objective meaning of words and sentences does come from human usage, no one denies that, so hermeneutics is required to provide the objective meanings used by formal semantics, but the hermeneutics has been pushed underground. When a speaker typically says the sentence, "The cat is on the mat," they are meaning the same thing as the ostensible objective-meaning of the sentence that formal semanticists posit. Formal semantics further assumes a view that is based on successful communication, where meanings are simple, straightforward, and literal.
A second consideration is that no evidence is given for this objective meaning. Formal semanticists appear to treat it as self-evident and not in need of a defense. Yet, this meaning is not something just out there apart from human minds. It can only exist as interpreted. Likewise, there is the extensive literature that shows no difference in processing times between literal and metaphorical processing of meaning (Ortony, et. al. 1978), where one might expect it if language had objective meanings attached to it.
Finally, I will argue that formal semantics is actually a genre that includes a kind of composition (one-sentence discourses, literal sentences prototypically descriptive of physical reality) and a kind of interpretation (literal, unproblematic interpretation). Because it based on a genre, it will always be possible to produce and interpret language for formal semantic analysis, but it raises the question of whether or not this genre can explicate the organization of language across all genres.
Bach, Kent. 2006. Pragmatics and the philosophy of language. The handbook of pragmatics. Ed. by Laurence R. Horn and Gregory Ward, 463-87. Maldon: Blackwell.
Frege, Gottlob. 1990. On sense and nominatum. The Philosophy of Language, 2nd ed. Ed. by A.P. Martinich. 190-202. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ortony, Andrew, Diane L. Schallert, Ralph E. Reynolds, and Stephen J. Antos. 1978.
Interpreting metaphors and idioms: Some effects of context on comprehension. Journal of Verbal Leaning and Verbal Behavior. 17:465-478.
The Valuation of Econyms and Their Perlocutionary Force in Verbal Construction of Local Political Economies
Anita Puckett, Virginia Tech
It is well known that proper nouns function differently than other parts of speech in their ability to circulate as items of exchange that have material-like qualities of permanence, inheritability, commodification, and ownership (e.g., Irvine 1999; Puckett 2003; Shanker and Cavanaugh 2012; Vom Bruck and Bodenhorn 2009). More specifically, I argue that American English place names (econyms) circulate in local town and county discourse to acquire linguistic ideological meanings that then manifest various forms of semiotically mediated empowerment within political-economic communicative events. Within these contexts they then can assert perlocutionary force to effect material outcomes such as land development, recreational resources, and school system capital improvements. Their meanings-in-use are therefore critical to the political structuration and governance of the communities they reference. Yet, at the same time, the meanings constituted through these circulations can create strong socio-political factions that can impede effective, ethical, and sustainable local rule. This presentation examines how these processes of potential destruction or enhancement of local communities are sustained or transformed by the perlocutionary force of citizens' and government administrators' discursive circulation of the econym "Blacksburg" in a Virginia Appalachian county. Critical to its speech act functions are the iconic indexical relations constituted by the use of "Blacksburg" within speech conforming to the local variety of Appalachian English or to more conforming to Standard American English. Overwhelmingly, those relying of Appalachian English have a negative valuation of "Blacksburg," while those speaking more Standard American English tend to have a more positive discursive circulation of the name. This analysis focuses on the use of "Blacksburg" or its synonym "Town" within the context of a highly contested local capital project: that of the sale and subsequent use of a former high school and its surrounding 25 acres. As citizens and governmental administrators debated how to proceed on this project, conventional valuations of "Blacksburg" became especially salient in public forums in ways that make clear the material political economic impact of this econym as a speech act in key governmental decision-making events. Linguistic ethnographic and interview data, and discourse analysis of Internet-available public government sessions, reveal that polarizing cultural valuations of "Blacksburg" as located within variant registers and speech varieties have hindered unifying solutions to the high school project while reproducing fractionation between "Town" and "County" residents. Findings of this project suggest that econyms are critical discourse units in constituting language and material relations for the exercise of successful localized political-economic power.
Irvine, Judith. 1989. When Talk Isn't Cheap: Language and Political Economy. American Ethnologist 16(2): 248-267.
Puckett, Anita. 2004. The "Value" of Dialect as Object: The Case of Appalachian English.
Pragmatics 13: 515-538.
Shanker, Shaline and Jillian R. Cavanaugh. 2012. Language and Materiality in Global Capitalism. Annual Review of Anthropology 41:355-369.
Vom Bruck, Gabriele and Barbara Bodenhorn, Eds. 2009. An Anthropology of Names and Naming. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Three kinds of borders: Geographic, linguistic, and cognitive
Dennis Preston, Oklahoma State University
When you go into the South you cross a border that may be designated by some sort of official (or unofficial) agency. For example, here is the US Census Bureau's classification: Region
3: South: DE, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, DC, WV, AL, KY, MS, TN, AR, LA, OK, TX.
Unofficially, the South has been designated by such features as "where Kudzu grows," cutting out most of TX and OK and parts of many other "northern edge" areas such as parts of KY and VA, nearly all of WV but including parts of MO; telephone directories provided further information for a "South," as studied by the eminent cultural geographer Wilbur Zelinsky, and his work has been duplicated using other business labels such as "Dixie."
On the other hand, dialectological studies of the actual features of Southern US English (SUSE) find differences of opinion and even classification. DARE, which looks at lexicon (with its Upper and Lower South combined), takes in only small chunks of OK and TX and leaves out the northern panhandle of WV; ANAE, which looks at phonology only, adds the southern 1/3 of MO, half of OK, and nearly all of TX (and makes no provision for the "Hoosier Apex" or even "Upper" and "Lower" subdivisions).
Cognitive maps of both geography and language variety differ in delimiting SUSE. The cognitive locations of a geographical South differ considerably. In a Survey Monkey study, for example, some respondents included CO, AZ, and PA; in another study a considerable majority of OK residents indicated that their state was "Midwestern." When similar OK respondents were asked, however, what they "sounded like," the considerable majority indicated "Southern." When southeastern Michigan respondents were asked where SUSE was in a dialect map-drawing task, older speakers drew a much smaller area (a "Deep South") but younger speakers were more expansive (including a great deal more of the Upper South or Appalachia).
This paper surveys a number of recent and in-progress studies of the interface between linguistic detail and cognitive classification. These studies add sociolinguistic depth to the study of SUSE by teasing out the richer demographic characteristics of its speakers, particularly those based on linguistic detail. The results show some classic negative and positive stereotypes of the South (uneducated and rural, but casual and informal); they add, however, unexpected characteristics such as age (Southerners are old), sex (Southerners are male) and show much finer gradations ("We sound Southern but…….") of what it means to be a SUSE speaker on the basis of a number of discoursal, talk-oriented and experimental findings.
"Bitch we are not stuck in 2005": Stancetaking, Chronotopes, and Ideological Identity in Reactions to Imitations of American Regional Accents
Marie Bissell, North Carolina State University
YouTube commentators share important information about themselves and others while responding directly to a specific video. In particular, previous studies suggest that YouTube is a unique discursive context in which individuals can manipulate and interpret dialect performances (Androutsopoulos 2013, Cutler 2016, Chun 2017, Kiesling 2017). In this analysis, I examine responses to videos of non-native productions of regionally-accented English in the United States that were released by popular news sources such as BuzzFeed News.
The analysis considers 110 topic-relevant comments extracted from the comment sections of the four videos, coding them for a variety of discursive strategies including stancetaking and language ideological judgments. I argue that by manipulating stance and maneuvering their ideological orientations towards shared understandings of dialect performances, commenters can carve out their own identities with the objectives of differentiation and authenticity in mind.
Commenters strategically orient themselves against dialect performances that index negative stereotypes about themselves, either shifting out of those characterizations by offering metalinguistic criticisms or by claiming to speak without any accent at all. These strategies are ideologically noteworthy in that they reveal how participants rely on things like standard language ideology or othering to reaffirm their own identities in the face of dialect performance threats. Notably, many commenters offer folk linguistic evidence to justify these divisions, projecting sentiment judgments onto perceived linguistic groups. For example, northern Californians are very adamant about not being grouped with the "Valley Girls" of Southern California, and Minnesota natives insist that their speech is nothing like that of "un- American" Canadians just across the national border. By referencing chronotopes of geographic locations, participants are able to align themselves with specific language ideologies. These evaluations are heavily influenced by the ideological notion of "accentless" speech, both as something that can belong to the commenter themselves and as something that can be somehow claimed by a group of standard English speakers in the United States. Commenters tend to align assessments of their own accents with the idea of standard language, detaching themselves from what they see as inauthentic renditions of themselves and their linguistic peers. By projecting value judgments onto perceived linguistic others, commenters are able to affirm themselves both socio-psychologically and linguistically. Stancetaking and othering act as valuable tools for YouTube users seeking to both construct their own identities and demarcate what can constitute authenticity in an online media context.
Androutsopoulos, Jannis. "Participatory culture and metalinguistic discourse: Performing and negotiating German dialects on YouTube." In Language and New Media, eds. Deborah Tannen and Anna Marie Trester. Georgetown UP, 2013.
Chun, Elaine. "How to drop a name: Hybridity, purity, and the K-Pop fan." Language and Society 46 (2017): 57-76.
Cutler, Cecelia. "'Ets jast ma booooooooooooo': Social meanings of Scottish accents on YouTube." In English in Computer-Mediated Communication, ed. Lauren Squires. De Gruyter, 2016.
Kiesling, Scott. "YouTube Yinzers: Stancetaking and the performance of 'Pittsburghese.'" In
Identity and Dialect Performance, ed. Reem Bassiouney. Routledge, 2017.
Lippi-Green, Rosina. "Language ideology and Language Prejudice." In Language in the USA, eds.
Finegan and J. Rickford. Cambridge UP, 2006.
The linguistic landscape of Smith Island: Signage and register contrasts between residents and visitors
Tripp Maloney, Georgetown University
This presentation examines the signs en route to and on Smith Island, Maryland as a linguistic landscape. The purpose of this examination is twofold. First, an in-depth examination of the island's signage may provide a more detailed cultural portrait of the island. Second, this style of investigation may also uncover a visual component of how the image and "brand" of Smith Island is performed by its residents for its visitors.
Smith Island is a somewhat isolated community in the Chesapeake Bay characterized both by a distinctive variety of English spoken by its denizens and its centuries-long history as a fishing (or "waterman") community. While these two aspects of the island's culture are well- known to those informed about the island, studies on the island to this point have looked more closely at the islanders themselves, rather than investigating the space and linguistic landscape of the island (Schilling, 2017).
Linguistic landscape as a lens of investigation is generally used in areas where different languages are spoken by different communities (Landry & Bourhis, 1997). However, this study asserts the utility of a linguistic landscape framework in areas where dialect and/or register may vary – in this case, distinguishing signs meant for residents from those meant for tourists, a significant and growing factor in Smith Island's economy as fewer and fewer young men on the island opt to become watermen. Further, since images, illustrations, and some brand logos are so present in signage on the island, they are included in the discussion of these signs, although they may not hold any linguistic meaning in themselves.
Overall, while the investigation of signage did not definitively show a distinction of register between resident-oriented signs and tourist-oriented signs, contrasts of the design and condition of signs were found between the two groups, as well as between national versus local brand signs and top-down versus bottom-up (individually made) advertisements.
This talk draws upon notes and pictures taken of signs on Smith Island in the fall and winter of 2017, to be supplemented by pictures taken or gathered online in early 2018.
Community Profile of Town, ST. Prepared under the auspices of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center. For further information contact Lisa.L.Colburn@noaa.gov
Landry, R., & Bourhis, R. Y. (1997). Linguistic landscape and ethnolinguistic vitality: An empirical study. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 16(1), 23-49. doi:10.1177/0261927X970161002
Schilling, N. (2017). Smith island English: Past, present, and future-and what does it tell us about the regional, temporal, and social patterning of language variation and change? American Speech, 92(2), 176-203. doi:10.1215/00031283-4202020
Bridging the educational gap with Talking Black in America: Educational materials on sociolinguistic topics
KellyNoel Waldorf, North Carolina State University
While linguists have demonstrated the systematicity and social, historical, and cultural value of African American Language (AAL) (Baugh, 1983; Green, 2002; Rickford & Rickford, 2000; Smitherman, 1977), many of its speakers continue to experience linguistic discrimination and profiling as consequences of negative language ideologies (Baugh, 1999, 2000, 2003; Lippi- Green, 2012). Despite a tradition of public engagement (Labov, 1982; Wolfram et al., 2008), sociolinguistic knowledge has not yet transformed classrooms or the public's understanding of language variation. Some linguists have sought to cross this border by making linguistic research more accessible to the general public through informal educational initiatives like documentaries, popular linguistic trade books, and other forms of outreach (Reaser & Myrick, 2015; Wolfram et al., 2008). Others have produced materials for inclusion in established K-12 educational contexts (Denham, 2007, 2013, 2014; Charity Hudley & Mallinson, 2010; Reaser & Adger, 2007; Reaser & Wolfram, 2007; Reaser et al., 2017; Whiting, 2013). Despite these efforts, there remains the need for additional materials in general and specifically about AAL for teachers who wish to integrate sociolinguistic information into their classrooms. Without abundant and accessible educational materials on sociolinguistic knowledge, negative ideologies of AAL are perpetuated in the school system and society through the language subordination process (Lippi-Green, 2012). As sociolinguists, we need to redouble our efforts to provide high-quality, accessible educational materials that seek to disrupt the transmission of Standard Language Ideology.
Talking Black in America, a product of the Language and Life Project (LLP), promotes four goals: (a) Illustrating the social role of AAL in community life; (b) understanding the sociohistorical roots and orderly development of AAL; (c) understanding of the systematic language patterning of AAL; and (d) undermining language prejudice and stereotypes common in the public's perception of AAL. However, the documentary's impact can only be realized if teachers are provided materials that help them lead their students toward critical understandings of language, power, and discrimination. In alignment with these goals, and in response to the problems outlined above, I have developed, in collaboration with other members of the LLP, a Viewers' Discussion Guide to Talking Black in America. The purpose of the guide is to help make the documentary and its contents and related themes easily understandable to non-linguists, especially teachers and students in the K-12 system. The guide comprises an introduction and eight chapters paralleling the sections of the documentary: Talking Black, Access, Exclusion and Language Systems, the Imprint of History, Migration, Skills, Transformation, and Legacy. Each chapter includes a brief summary, key points, common misconceptions, fun facts, discussion questions, audio-visual links, and additional resources. This presentation will discuss the development of the Viewers' Discussion Guide with reflections on decision-making regarding content; collaborating with linguistic experts, educators and students; appealing to both teachers and students; accessibility and usability in the classroom; making materials engaging and visually appealing; and assessing materials. The production of this guide demonstrates the critical need for teacher-linguist collaborations when constructing materials accessible to students and the public.
Baugh, J. (1983). Black Street Speech: Its History, Structure and Survival. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Baugh, J. (1999). Out of the Mouths of Slaves: African American Language and Educational Malpractice. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Baugh, J. (2000) Beyond Ebonics: Linguistic Pride and Racial Prejudice. New York: Oxford University Press.
Baugh, J. (2003). Linguistic Profiling. In S. Makoni, G. Smitherman, A. F. Ball, & A. Spears (Eds.) Black linguistics: Language, society, and politics in Africa and the Americas (155- 168). New York, NY: Routledge.
Charity Hudley, A. H. & Mallinson, C. (2010, May). Valuable voices: We explain English language variation for educators. Retrieved from: https://charityhudleymallinson.com/
Denham, K. (2007). Linguistics in a primary school. Language and Linguistics Compass, 1(4), 243-59.
Denham, K. (2013, August). Middle school linguistics. Retrieved from: http://middleschoolling.blogspot.com/
Denham, K. (2014). Exploring language: Language Investigations for English language arts. Retrieved from: http://www.explorelanguage.org/
Green, L. J. (2002). African American English: A linguistic introduction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Labov, W. (1982). Objectivity and commitment in linguistic science. Language in Society, 11, 165-201.
Lippi-Green, R. L. (2012). English with an accent: Language, ideology, and discrimination in the United States, 2nd edition. London, UK: Routledge.
Reaser, J. & Adger, C. (2007). Developing language awareness materials for nonlinguists: Lessons learned from the Do You Speak American? Curriculum development project. Language and Linguistics Compass, 1(3), 155-67.
Reaser, J. & Myrick, C. (2015). Writing language-based trade books: Making linguistics accessible to lay audiences. Language and Linguistics Compass, 9(5), 198-208.
Reaser, J., Adger, C. T., Wolfram, W., & Christian, D. (2017). Dialects at school: Educating linguistically diverse students. New York, NY: Routledge.
Reaser, J. & Wolfram, W. (2007a). Voices of North Carolina: Language and life from the Atlantic to the Appalachians, instructor's manual. Raleigh: North Carolina Language and Life Project.
Reaser, J. & Wolfram, W. (2007b). Voices of North Carolina: Language and life from the Atlantic to the Appalachians, student workbook. Raleigh: North Carolina Language and Life Project.
Rickford, J. R., & Rickford, R. J. (2000). Spoken soul: The story of Black English. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Smitherman, G. (1977). Talkin and testifyin: The language of Black America. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press.
Whiting, A. (2013, August). Word nerdery: Further forays and frolicking in morphology and etymology. Retrieved from: https://wordinquiry.wordpress.com/
Wolfram, W., Reaser, J. Vaughn, C. (2008). Operationalizing linguistic gratuity: From principle to practice. Language and Linguistics Compass, 2(6), 1109-34.
Wolfram, W. (Producer), & Hutcheson, N. & Cullinan, D. (Directors). (2017). Talking Black in America. United States.
Empowering Standardized English Learners: A Critical Language Pedagogy Intervention for Middle Grades Students
Jessica Hatcher and Jeffrey Reaser, North Carolina State University
Educational bodies and scholars have long called for the inclusion of sociolinguistic content in the classroom (Labov, 1969; Fasold & Shuy, 1970; CCCC/NCTE, 1974 etc.). In response, sociolinguists have created formal educational programs that counter commonly held language myths and confront negative language attitudes. Though sparse, studies suggest that exposure to sociolinguistic information through direct instruction can positively impact language attitudes (Reaser, 2006; Sweetland, 2006; Hudgens Henderson, 2016), but improved attitudes remains insufficient for transforming widespread language ideologies. Recently, researchers have increasingly called for more critical approaches (in the Freirean sense) to sociolinguistic information in classrooms (e.g., Reaser, Hudgens Henderson, & Godley, 2017; Godley & Reaser, 2018). Critical language pedagogy (CLP) (Godley & Minnici 2008) offers a useful approach for crossing this pedagogical border. CLP is an instructional approach in which teachers guide students to examine the relationship between language and power with the end goal of understanding and interrogating the creation and maintenance of Standard Language Ideology (Lippi-Green, 2012) and other structures that perpetuate linguistic inequality. CLP draws from many pedagogical and theoretical influences -- both old and new -- including Freire's notions of "counterstories" and critical consciousness (1968) and Paris and Alim's culturally sustaining pedagogy approach (2017). Among the tenets of CLP are that students must engage with real language usage in order to determine how it is influenced by and reproduces implicit, unequal power dynamics in society, and that language use/choice is never neutral.
Through CLP, students develop tools for understanding, evaluating, and unmasking existing belief systems (i.e., common sense about how language works), and for critiquing these ideologically-driven discourses or creating counterstories that unseat these beliefs (Godley & Minnici, 2008; Godley & Reaser, 2018, Reaser, Hudgens Henderson, & Godley, 2017).
In this presentation, we discuss our work creating and teaching a CLP-inspired educational intervention for seventh grade students in a rural North Carolina school in which the majority (over two-thirds) of the students are Latinx. School administrators noted in a published report this population was "a challenge." Given what is known about teacher attitudes and student achievement (i.e., the Rosenthal effect), this population of students stood out to us as a highly vulnerable group, and one that would benefit from a CLP-inspired educational intervention. Given the increase nationally in English Language Learners and English as a Second Language students (Hussar & Bailey 2013), this classroom offered an ideal opportunity to pilot materials that sought to positively affect students' and teachers' language attitudes related to all standardized English learners; that is, learners who arrive to school speaking "language varieties which differ from standard or mainstream English" (Wilkinson et al., 2011, p. ix). We present materials and activities that we designed and taught to four classes of seventh graders at this school. We also discuss assessments of the materials from the classroom teacher as well as our reflections on the success of the intervention. We conclude by considering the effectiveness and importance of CLP approaches for this specific population.
Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC)/National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). (1974). Resolution on students' right to their own language. Retrieved from www.ncte.org/positions/statements/righttoownlanguage
Fasold, R. W., & Shuy, R. W. (1970). Teaching standard English in the inner city. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Freire, P. (1968). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.
Godley, A. J., & Minnici, A. (2008). Critical language pedagogy in an urban high school English class. Urban Education, 43(3), 319-346.
Godley, A. J., & Reaser, J. (2018). Critical Language Pedagogy: Interrogating Language, Dialects and Power in Teacher Education. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
Hudgens Henderson, M. H. (2016). Sociolinguistics for Kids: A Curriculum for Bilingual Students. Ph.D.Dissertation, The University of New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM.
Hussar, W.J., and Bailey, T.M. (2013). Projections of Education Statistics to 2022 (NCES 2014-051). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Labov, W. (1969). The logic of nonstandard English. In J. Alatis (Ed.), Georgetown monograph series on language and linguistics, 22 (pp. 1-44). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Lippi-Green, R. (2012). English with an accent: Language, ideology, and discrimination in the United States (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Paris, D., & Alim, H. S. (Eds.) (2017). Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World. New York: Teachers College Press.
Reaser, J. (2006). The Effect of Dialect Awareness on Adolescent Knowledge and Attitudes. Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University. Durham, NC.
Reaser, J., Hudgens Henderson, M., & Godley, A. J. (2017). Progressing from dialect awareness to critical language awareness and pedagogy: Equipping teachers to interrogating language, dialects, and power. Workshop presented at the 46th annual meeting of New Ways of Analyzing Variation conference, Madison, WI.
Sweetland, J. (2006). Teaching Writing in the Multicultural Classroom: A Sociolinguistic Approach . Ph.D dissertation, Stanford University. Palo Alto, CA.
Wilkinson, C., Miciak, J., Alexander, C., Reyes, P., Brown, J., & Giani, M. (2011). Recommended educational practices for Standard English learners. Austin, TX: Education Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.
#Lingwiki: Wikipedia Engagement in Promoting Public Scholarship in Linguistics
May Chung, Antione Tomlin, Forrest Caskey, and Christine Mallinson, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Wikipedia receives 600 million page views a day and serves as the supreme educational resource, and yet, only 12 of the nearly 5,000 high-quality articles feature language or linguistics themed topics ("LSA Partnership with Wiki Education Foundation"). A plethora of prominent linguists or linguistic theories are also not represented on Wikipedia or are stubs, articles that lack sufficient detail about a topic. Moreover, even though linguistics is a female-dominated field, articles featuring women linguists are scant. Wikipedia articles about minority linguists and lesser-known languages and dialects are underrepresented. In 2015, the Linguistic Society of America, partnering up with the Wiki Education Foundation to support linguistics faculty in editing Wikipedia, hosted a Wiki-edit-a-thon at the Annual Meeting. Inspired by the project, this presentation details the use of #LingWiki projects in a doctoral project-based seminar class.
In Fall 2017, ten students engaged in a Wikipedia editing project in which they learned how to evaluate articles and sources. The majority of graduate students are non-traditional students, and/or members of underrepresented groups, including women, veterans, minority, LGBT, and low-income students. Student groups developed full biographies on prominent women linguists, edited pieces on major linguistics topics and local dialects, and created new linguistics-themed articles. This presentation will showcase the strategies used to select topics of articles, harness the technological tools, gather sources, edit citations, and publish their work for a popular audience. The presenters report on how editing Wikipedia honed their research skills, especially those with no formal background in sociolinguistics. Additionally, students use their varied expertise and knowledge as dialect speakers to add to and improve upon their Wikipedia pages. Participants will also report on the nuances of writing for a public encyclopedia instead of an academic audience, as well as the experiences of responding to feedback from the Wikipedia community at-large.
At the end of the project, students can clearly see the results of their efforts: participants edited 16 articles with about 500 edits, amounting to 141,000 page views. This project can serve as a model for future courses, even for students with no linguistic background. This course marshalls the efforts of "empowered research" as engagement on, for, and with women and underrepresented linguists and making their accomplishments more visible (Wolfram, Rowe, and Grimes, 2004). Finally, the #lingwiki project demonstrates how publicly engaged scholars can spread linguistic gratuity and advocacy to a wider audience.
"LSA Partnership with Wiki Education Foundation". (2016). Linguistic Society of America. https://www.linguisticsociety.org/resource/lsa-partnership-wiki-education-foundation
"Wikipedia 'edit-a-thon' to be held at 2015 Annual Meeting". (2015). Linguistic Society of America. https://www.linguisticsociety.org/news/2014/09/09/wikipedia-edit-thon-be-held-2015-annual-mee ting
Wolfram, W. (2008). Language diversity and the public interest. In K. A. King, N. Schilling-Estes,
L. Fogle, J. J. Lou & B. Soukup (Eds.), Sustaining linguistic diversity: Endangered and minority languages and language varieties: Defining, documenting, and developing (pp. 187-202). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Wolfram, W., Rowe, R., & Grimes, D. (2004). Sociolinguistic involvement in community perspective: Opportunity and obligation. Paper presented at the conference on Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (LAVIS III), University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
Researching and Teaching Multimodality
Michael Picone, University of Alabama
Multimodality is an exciting, cutting-edge topic which commands the attention of a large and growing number of researches of various stripes, including linguists, who seek to contextualize language within an overarching view of all the systems of communication working simultaneously to communicate complex messages (Jewitt, Bezemer and O'Halloran 2016). For this reason Multimodality is also a timely topic for organizing a research seminar, one moreover which continually crosses borders between disciplines. To a certain degree, Multimodality is a natural extension of the pre-existent fields of Functionalism (emphasizing the functions performed by language), of Pragmatics (understanding language and its meaning in the context of its actual use), and of the Ethnography of Communication (determining the communication patterns of groups), rather than language as an abstraction unto itself, the latter being the more traditional focus of the discipline of linguistics. Moreover the process of enregisterment of features (extending to stereotyping), especially in relation to subsequent commodification, is usually also embedded in a multimodal dynamic. Likewise, Eckert's (2012) "third wave" of variationist study, focused on stylistic practice and language as performance, is typically only one vector in a complex of behavioral features associated with multimodal presentation of self. This presenter's own path toward researching and teaching multimodality revolves primarily around the examination of language together with other semiotic systems in connection with various art forms: (1) French bande dessinée, American comics, Italian fumetti; (2) code-mixing in music; (3) "eye dialect" and other devices in the depiction of dialect in literature; (3) the interpretation of the pioneering photo-journalism of Henri Cartier-Bresson; (4) "reading" and interpreting museum exhibitions of art and culture. In all these cases – and this is one of the axioms of the multimodal approach – it can be demonstrated that the message as a whole is always greater than the sum of its multimodal parts. As time permits, this presentation will include abbreviated versions of examples of the above as they were presented in an interdisciplinary pilot seminar on Multimodality, for upper-division undergraduate and graduate students, offered in spring 2017.
Eckert, Penelope. 2012. Three waves of variation study: The emergence of meaning in the study of sociolinguistic variation. Annual Review of Anthropology 41, 87–100.
Jewitt, Carey, Jeff Bezemer, and Kay O'Halloran. 2016. Introducing Multimodality. Routledge
A Quantitative Study of the Dutch /tj/ Cluster Realization Among Multicultural Speakers in Amsterdam
Lars Naborn, North Carolina State University
This study looked at a specific feature of an emerging ethnolect among Dutch people who are descended from Moroccan immigrants: the consonant cluster /tj/, sometimes written as
/dj/ in environments where /d/ becomes devoiced. /Tj/ often appears in diminutives, as –je is the diminutive ending in Dutch, but it can also cross word boundaries. The cluster is frequently realized as [tç], but also undergoes lenition in Standard Dutch. The realization of the cluster in the speech of Moroccan-Dutch speakers and "native" Dutch and Turkish-Dutch speakers who regularly interact with ethnically Moroccan speakers, is ostensibly more intense, with more frication, so that it is pronounced more like [t∫]. The central question was whether and how this cluster varies according to the speaker's ethnicity and level of inter-ethnic ties, as well as according to their age group and city of residence.
This study used data collected by the Dutch sociolinguist Frans Hinskens and his collaborators for the Roots of Ethnolects project through sociolinguistic interviews with native Dutch speakers of Dutch, Moroccan, and Turkish descent in two major Dutch cities, Amsterdam and Nijmegen. This study used data from 18 to 20-year-old speakers from Amsterdam from all three ethnicities. Clusters were analyzed for the center of gravity of the frication of each cluster by speaker ethnicity and interlocutor ethnicity, while also factoring in the position of the cluster in the word or phrase.
The level of frication was hypothesized to vary significantly between speakers, especially by ethnicity and level of inter-ethnic ties. The hypothesized difference in the realization of /tj/ between Moroccan and non-Moroccan speakers should stem from the differences in phonemic inventories between Dutch and Moroccan Arabic and Morocco's various Berber dialects, which the Moroccan-Dutch speakers likely speak at home with older family members. Based on Hinskens' and others' previous research, it was hypothesized that Dutch speakers generally pronounce /tj/ with very little frication unless they are talking to Moroccan speakers, and that Turkish speakers pronounce the cluster with more frication when talking to Moroccan speakers and less when talking to Dutch speakers.
The results show that the ethnicity of both speakers and interlocutors is a significant factor in the level of frication, and possibly following sound as well. The preliminary hypothesis generally holds true: Dutch speakers with interethnic ties and Moroccan speakers generally pronounce the cluster with more frication, especially when the interlocutor is Moroccan, while Turkish speakers usually switch depending on their interlocutor, and Dutch speakers with no interethnic ties use very little frication, often to the point of reducing or eliding the stop at the beginning of the cluster completely. The results suggest that ethnicity and level of inter-ethnic ties affect the pronunciation of the /tj/ cluster: the higher the degree of contact with speakers of Moroccan descent, the higher the average level of frication of the cluster.
Cheshire et al. (2011). Contact, the Feature Pool and the Speech Community: The Emergence of Multicultural London English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 15(2), 151–196.
Eckert, P. (2008). Where do Ethnolects Stop? International Journal of Bilingualism, 12(1-2), 25- 42. doi:10.1177/13670069080120010301
Hinskens, F. (2016). Wijdvertakte Wortels Over Etnolectisch Nederlands. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Kochetov, A., & Lobanova, A. (2007). Komi-Permyak Coronal Obstruents: Acoustic Contrasts and Positional Variation. International Phonetic Association.Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 37(1), 51-82.
Lee, H. (2016). Consistent Sound Change Between Stops and Affricates an Seoul Korean Within and Across Individuals: A Diachronic Investigation. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 140(6), EL491-EL496. doi:10.1121/1.4971203
Nortier, J. and Dorleijn, M. (2008). A Moroccan accent in Dutch: A Sociocultural Style Restricted to the Moroccan Community? International Journal of Bilingualism 125 (12). Retrieved from http://ijb.sagepub.com/content/12/1-2/125
Van Meel, L. (2016). The Roots of Ethnolects: A Sociophonological Study in Amsterdam and Nijmegen (Doctoral dissertation).
Van Meel, L., Hinskens, F., & van Hout, R. (2013). Ethnolectal Variation in the Realization of /z/ by Dutch Youngsters. Zeitschrift Für Dialektologie Und Linguistik, 80(3), 297-325. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24547975
Walsh, M. A., Kluender, K. R., & Diehl, R. L. (1988). Frication Duration and Amplitude Rise Time as Cues to the Voiceless Fricative/Affricate Distinction. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 84(S1), S156-S156. doi:10.1121/1.2025893
The impact of social factors on vowel duration in natural southern speech
Rachel Olsen and Margaret Renwick, University of Georgia
While the role of vowel variation in regional and social dialects has been widely documented (Labov, Ash & Boberg 2006), this variation is largely attributed to spectral vowel quality. Temporal aspects of vowel production are comparatively understudied, particularly in natural (as opposed to laboratory) speech production. Previous work using lab-produced speech has indicated that in addition to differing in F1/F2, vowels also vary systematically in duration along social and regional lines. Southern speech has been suggested to feature longer vowels (Jacewicz, Fox & Salmons 2007), more highly variable vowel durations (Clopper & Smiljanic 2015), and smaller tense-lax durational contrasts (Fridland, Kendall & Farrington 2014), than other regions. Within the South, African American (AA) speakers have been shown to produce longer vowels than European American (EA) speakers. Additionally, southern female speakers have been shown to produce longer vowels than southern male speakers (Holt, Jacewicz & Fox 2015). Here we examine vowel duration in a sample of semi-spontaneous natural southern speech to better characterize variation within this region.
The Digital Archive of Southern Speech (DASS) is a subset of the Linguistic Atlas of the Gulf States of 64 sociolinguistic interviews balanced for various social factors across eight U.S. southern states recorded 1968-1983 (Kretzschmar Jr. et al. 2013). At least one hour of fully transcribed audio for interviews with 54 DASS speakers (11AA speakers: 5F, 6M; 43EA speakers: 22F, 21M), totaling ~200 hours of audio, was force-aligned and vowel durations were automatically collected via DARLA (Reddy & Stanford 2015) for 14 American English vowels. Although it was not possible to control for prosodic sentence-level stress in the current study, we generally expect stressed vowels to be more prominent and thus longer than reduced vowels (Holt, Jacewicz & Fox 2015); therefore, to minimize the effects of stress, only tokens of full, stressed vowels that occurred in a closed syllable were included in the current analysis (N=269,791).
Overall, AA speakers produced significantly longer vowels than EA speakers (μ= 128ms vs. μ=125ms, p<0.001), supporting previous findings. This pattern held true for most individual vowels, with the exception of /ɛ/, which was longer for EA speakers. These data also indicate that in line with previous work, females produce longer vowels than males (μ=127ms vs. μ=125ms, p<0.001). Linear mixed effects models fitted to vowel duration using lme4 and lmerTest packages in R, which included speaker as a random factor, did not reveal a significant role of ethnicity or gender; however, the youngest speakers (13-45 years) produced significantly shorter vowels than older speakers. Additionally, vowels occurring before voiceless consonants were significantly shorter than those before voiced consonants. Although preliminary, these findings on vowel duration in natural Southern speech lend support to previous work on laboratory speech, and encourage further work on the impact of other social factors such as age on vowel duration. Models including individual vowel characteristics (e.g. low vs. high, tense vs. lax) will also be considered.
Clopper, Cynthia G. & Rajka Smiljanic. 2015. Research Article: Regional variation in temporal organization in American English. Journal of Phonetics 49. 1–15.
Fridland, Valerie, Tyler Kendall & Charlie Farrington. 2014. Durational and spectral differences in American English vowels: Dialect variation within and across regions. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 136(341). doi:10.1121/1.4883599.
Holt, Yolanda Feimster, Ewa Jacewicz & Robert Allen Fox. 2015. Variation in vowel duration among Southern African American English speakers. American Journal of Speech- Language Pathology 24(3). 460–469. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0186.
Jacewicz, Ewa, Robert A. Fox & Joseph Salmons. 2007. Vowel duration in three American English dialects. American Speech 82(4). 367–385.
Kretzschmar Jr., William A., Paulina Bounds, Jacqueline Hettel, Lee Pederson, Ilkka Juuso, Lisa Lena Opas-Hänninen & Tapio Seppänen. 2013. The Digital Archive of Southern Speech (DASS). Southern Journal of Linguistics 37(2). 17–38.
Labov, William, Sharon Ash & Charles Boberg. 2006. The Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, phonology, and sound change: A multimedia reference tool. Berlin; New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Reddy, Sravana & James N. Stanford. 2015. Toward completely automated vowel extraction: Introducing DARLA. Linguistics Vanguard 1(1). 15–28.
"The Athens bubble": The (aw) diphthong in an urban-oriented enclave in rural Southeast Ohio
Sinae Lee, Peter Andrews, Khalid Alharbi, LeNora Candee, Michelle O'Malley, Ohio University; and Olga Sormaz
This study investigates the production of (aw) diphthong among native Southeast Ohioans. Dialectally, Southeastern Ohio is a liminal region, partially overlapping but not subsumed under the Midland (Labov, Ash, Boberg 2006). Folk perception often groups southeastern Ohio as 'the South' (Campbell-Kibler 2012, 2015), or as Appalachian (Flanigan 2000; Flanigan and Norris 2000). While it may be the case that the speech of southeast Ohioans shares some features that define either the South or Appalachia, the region is largely understudied in terms of the variable production of phonological features and its social correlates. By focusing on the variable production of (aw) diphthong among native Southeast Ohioans, this study aims to fill this gap, thus contributing to a better understanding of the speech in the Upper South as well as Appalachia (e.g. Carver 1987; Hazen 2005, 2011, 2014). The study also investigates the differences between the city of Athens – the most urban-oriented city in southeastern Ohio – and the surrounding rural counties, thereby furthering the discussion of socially-delineated borders in a community and their effects on language.
Data are taken from 16 sociolinguistic interviews with native Southeast Ohioans. All speakers are European American (6 males and 10 females). Speaker age ranges from 18 to 77. Three speakers were categorized as Athenians, and the rest as non-Athenians. The vowels were analyzed acoustically, taking F1 and F2 measurements at vowel midpoint for /i/, /a/, and /u/ followed by lateral. The tokens of (aw) were measured at two points: nucleus as instantiated by 20 percent into the vowel, and offglide at 80 percent into the vowel. The F1 and F2 of the nuclei of (aw) were measured, as well as the Euclidean Distance between the nucleus and the glide of (aw) in order to examine how diphthongal these vowels are among speakers. Additionally, the Euclidean Distance between /a/ and the nucleus of (aw) for each speaker was calculated in order to see how fronted/raised (aw) is, if at all, when compared with /a/ as a reference point. A series of linear regressions was performed, with age, sex, and location (Athens vs. non-Athens) entered as independent variables. Duration and following phonological context were taken into account, and individual word and speaker were entered as random effects when each vowel token was treated as a case.
Results indicate that there is a significant effect of location on the production of (aw) in the pre-nasal environment only (e.g. town), in which non-Athenians exhibit a higher degree of (aw) raising than Athenians do (p=0.013). This finding is corroborated by the larger Euclidean Distance between /a/ and pre-nasal (aw) among non-Athenians (p=0.0207), suggesting the pre-nasal (aw) is more raised and fronted among them. There is also a trending effect of age on the frontness of (aw) in all environments, in which younger speakers' (aw) tends to be less fronted than older speakers (p=0.06). These findings point to the distinction between Athenians and non-Athenians in southeastern Ohio, the former of which are exposed to urbanness to a larger extent.
Prosodic Variation in Appalachian English
Paul Reed, University of Alabama
In his description of the speech of residents of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, Hall (1942) made some tantalizing references to prosodic variation that he claims to be characteristic of the Appalachian region. He observed, 'the great force with which the stressed syllables are uttered results in an abnormal weakening of the unstressed syllables' (44). This observation points to the potential for rhythm differences to be a feature of Appalachian varieties of English, and the current paper endeavors to test this hypothesis.
Prosodic rhythm differences have been noted in many national, regional, and social varieties of English. In varieties of North American English, Thomas and Carter (2006) found that prosodic rhythm distinguished several varieties of English spoken in North Carolina, with Hispanic English and Jamaican English more syllable-timed than European American or African American Englishes. However, early African American English from ex-slave recordings was more syllable-timed than later varieties. Coggshall (2008) found that the English spoken by the Eastern Cherokee in North Carolina was more syllable-timed than their European American cohorts. Clopper and Smiljanic (2015) found differences in rhythm between Southern speakers and Northern and Western speakers. Thus, rhythm can be a fruitful area for variation.
The present study analyzes the prosodic rhythm from 24 (12 male and 12 female) Appalachian English speakers from northeastern Tennessee, balanced for age and education level (college vs. non-college). The data are comprised of reading passages collected during sociolinguistic/oral history interviews. Each passage was orthographically transcribed and then force-aligned. The durations of adjacent syllables were calculated using the normalized Pairwise Variability Indices (nPVI) adapted from the procedure outlined in Grabe and Low (2002). This measure provides a quantifiable measure of the durational variability (what was once called stress-timed versus syllable-timed). Greater variability in adjacent syllables indicates more stress-timing, or a greater difference in stressed and unstressed syllables. The Appalachian speakers were compared to reading passage data from non-Appalachian Southerners from the Nationwide Speech Project (Clopper and Pisoni 2006). Preliminary results indicate that the Appalachian speakers are more stress-timed than the Southern speakers. Within the Appalachian cohort, preliminary results also indicate that speakers with a greater attachment to place, what I term 'rootedness', are also somewhat distinct from lesser rooted speakers.
These results suggest that prosodic rhythm might be a productive means to 'sound Appalachian', being distinct from other Southern American English varieties. Further, these results indicate that rhythm might also be a dynamic means of signaling one's attachment to the local Appalachian area, highlighting one's rootedness. Thus, prosodic rhythm can serve to distinguish regional varieties, even closely related ones such as Appalachian and Southern Englishes. Further, rhythm can be used within communities to reflect meaningful social categories.
Clopper, C. G., & Pisoni, D. B. (2006). The Nationwide Speech Project: A new corpus of American English dialects. Speech Communication, 48, 633–644.
Clopper, C. G., & Smiljanic, R. (2015). Regional variation in temporal organization in American English. Journal of Phonetics, 39, 237–245.
Coggshall, E. L. (2008). The prosodic rhythm of two varieties of Native American English. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 14(2), 1–9.
Grabe, E., & Low, E. L. (2002). Durational variability in speech and the rhythm class hypothesis. In C. Gussenhoven, & N. Warner (Eds.), Laboratory phonology, 7 (pp. 515–546). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Hall, J.S. (1942). The phonetics of Great Smoky Mountain English. American Speech 17.1–110.
Thomas, E. R., & Carter, P. M. (2006). Prosodic rhythm and African American English. English World-Wide, 27, 331–355.
"Yeah, man, I told you that I'm a monster That why I be rappin' non-sto'":
An Analysis of the Appropriation of AAE by Global Musical Artists
Bryanna Willis, University of South Carolina
African American English (AAE) is often stigmatized and incorrectly labeled as linguistically inferior in American culture due to misconceptions, misunderstandings, and myths fueled by a history of racial discrimination and prejudice within America that has created racial borders. Yet interestingly, the usage of AAE has become increasingly popular amongst those who do not speak it, in part because of those very misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding this variety—thus attempts are made to cross the borders by the very people who have built them on a foundation of ignorance--many times leading to clumsy attempts to emulate the language while choosing not to educate themselves about the variety or to acknowledge the discrimination experienced by those who speak African American English. While the appropriation of AAE musically is not a new phenomenon and has happened in several musical genres such as blues and jazz, this appropriation recently has become more prevalent in Hip- Hop; a genre that "originated in urban centers of African American life on the East Coast of the U.S., arising from the several depressed socio-economic conditions and extreme marginalization of youth of color" (Eberhart and Freeman 2015). As this genre gains increasing popularity both within the privileged, suburban youth of the United States and global youth who find solidarity in the expression of oppression and socio-economic depression, the language used by the original artists as they wrote their rap has become popular as well (Osumare 2001). While it has been argued this usage is an example of cultural appreciation and an attempt to create a community that "spans the globe…[and] invites and embraces the incorporation of AAE into locally produced music" this usage at its core is an act of appropriation to create a false racial
performance, which inherently commodifies stereotyped blackness for profitability (Eberhardt and Freeman 2015).
While much linguistic analysis has been done on the commodification of black culture through AAE by previous generations of white, American artists, this presentation will examine two non-Black global artists, broadening the scope of the research to look at one specifically who comes from a predominantly monoracial and monocultural society with a small or non-existent Black community. This presentation will analyze and discuss potential reasons behind appropriation, the myths and misconceptions about AAE driving this appropriation and how this appropriation in turn perpetuates these myths and misconceptions. The artists to be analyzed are: Iggy Azalea, an Australian born American Hip-Hop artist; and Kim Namjoon, also known as Rap Monster or RM, a South Korean artist who does both solo rap work and also leads the boyband Bangtan Seonyeondan. These artists have been chosen as they are globally popular, and have received some type of criticism for their appropriation from the public, and have had varied responses to their public criticism—indicating an awareness of the problem and showing different attitudes and perceptions of linguistic appropriation and its potential harm.
Azalea, Iggy (2011) D.R.U.G.S. [Digital recording], Self-released.
Azalea, Iggy (2012) Down South. On Trap Gold, [Digital recording], Grand Hustle. Azalea, Iggy. (2012) Murda bizness. On Glory, [Digital recording], Grand Hustle. Azalea, Iggy. (2011) PU$$Y. On Ignorant Art, [Digital recording], Self-released.
Bwiyomi. (2013) B-Free disses BTS. YouTube. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evfNBEeChek
ChanaeFrench. (2015). Re: Re: IGGY AZALEA-Murda Bizness ft. T.I. (Official Video).
YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzI9VQUHJkU Cutler, C. (2003), "Keepin' It Real": White Hip-Hoppers' Discourses of Language, Race, and
Authenticity. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 13: 211–233. doi:10.1525/jlin.2003.13.2.211
Cutler, C. (1999). Yorkville Crossing: White teens, hip hop and African American English. Journal Of Sociolinguistics, 3(4), 428-442.EBSCOhost, login.pallas2.tcl.sc.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=3412631&site=ehost-live.
Eberhardt, M., & Freeman, K. (2015). 'First things first, I'm the realest': Linguistic appropriation, white privilege, and the hip-hop persona of Iggy Azalea. Journal Of
Sociolinguistics, 19(3), 303-327. doi:10.1111/josl.12128
Hello Sunshine. (2015). Re: BTS's Rap Monster shows African American English skills. Star Zoom In. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbwcjmbcFyY
Herman, Tamar. (2017). Wale & BTS Rap Monster team up for politically tinged 'Change'.
Billboard. Retrieved from: https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip- hop/7728840/wale-bts-rap-monster-change
JustSaying (2015). Re: IGGY AZALEA-Murda Bizness ft. T.I. (Official Video). YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzI9VQUHJkU
KimKia. (2016). Re: BTS's Rap Monster shows African American English skills. Star Zoom In. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbwcjmbcFyY
Kim, Namjoon. (2017). Change. [Digital Single]. BigHit Entertainment.
Kim, Namjoon. (2013). No more dream. On 2 Kool 4 Skool, [Digital Recording]. BigHit Entertainment.
Kim, Namjoon. (2013). We are bulletproof pt 2. On 2 Kool 4 Skool, [Digital Recording]. BigHit Entertainment.
Lee, J. S. (2004). Linguistic hybridization in K-Pop: discourse of self-assertion and resistance. World Englishes, 23(3), 429-450. doi:10.1111/j.0883-2919.2004.00367.x
Lee, J. S. (2007). I'm the Illest Fucka. English Today: The International Review Of The English Language, 23(2 ), 54-60.
MBCkpop. (2014). BTS-This love and T.O.P. (SHINHWA). Show Champion, Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHP6d-nGA14&feature=youtu.be
Mendez, Bianca. (2015). Rap Monster is proving assumptions about Korean rappers wrong.
Vice, Retrieved from: https://noisey.vice.com/en_us/article/rgpv77/rap-monster-rm-bts-korean-hip-hop-2015
Mnet. (2015). BTS's Rap Monster shows African American English skills. Star Zoom In. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbwcjmbcFyY
Osumare, H. (2001). Beat Streets in the Global Hood: Connective Marginalities of the Hip Hop Globe. Journal Of American & Comparative Cultures, 24(1/2), 171-181. doi:10.1111/j.1537-4726.2001.2401_171.x
SOHH (2014). T.I. bashes Iggy Azalea's haters: That kind of shit—the racist stuff, that's not even her. Support Online Hip Hop, Retrieved from: https://www.sohh.com/t-i-bashes-iggy-azaleas-haters-that-kind-of-sht-the-racist-stuff-thats-not-even-her/
Sway, Calloway (Producer). 2015, 26 February. Iggy gets called out on air during freestyle.
Shade 45, Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2oGADsQ_P0.
The Famous People. (2017). Rap Monster biography. The Famous People. Retrieved from https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/rap-monster-33159.php
"I ain't sorry": African American English as a stylistic resource in the strategic development of Beyoncé's performative persona.
Maeve Eberhardt and Madeline Vdoviak-Markow, University of Vermont
Sociolinguists have long been interested in the active construction of social meaning through variation of linguistic forms, and the ways speakers project particular personae within and across interactions (Mendoza-Denton 2008; Podesva 2007) and over time (Benor 2012). In the highly performative register of music as well, scholars have uncovered the centrality of language in the crafting of identities (Edwards & Ash 2004; Pennycook 2003). Most notably, Alim's (2002, 2006) scholarship on the hip-hop nation has demonstrated artists' reliance on linguistic features to construct a "street-conscious identity." The artists he studied substantially increased rates of copula absence in their rap lyrics as compared with informal interview speech. The current paper draws together these strands of sociolinguistic literature, examining variation in copula absence over the course of the musical career of the cultural icon Beyoncé.
Beyoncé is perhaps the most widely-recognized performer worldwide (Li 2017), and since the start of her solo career in 2003, she has steadily moved towards a persona that transgresses norms of acceptability for Black women in the popular imagination. This shift became highly visible in the surprise release of the video for Formation, which contained multiple references to Black Lives Matter, symbols of resistance, and demands for racial justice. The subsequent release of the visual album Lemonade revealed her "full-fledged insurgency" (Bey 2017), and as such was met with controversy and even ire from a large swath of the mainstream.
Although a great deal of scholarship has been dedicated to Beyoncé within Black, feminist, and media studies (e.g., Durham 2012; Gammage 2017; Weidhase 2015), there has been little attention paid to the role of language in her performative persona. In the current paper, we chart the development of this persona through the lens of stylistic variation in order to interrogate the role that language plays as Beyoncé moves from female pop star to Black Feminist icon (Cooper 2017). Examining Beyoncé's five solo albums (2003-2016), we document morphosyntactic features of African American Vernacular English (Rickford 1999) that appear in her lyrics. We then present a full variationist analysis of a single feature: copula absence. The overall rate of copula absence across this time span is 36.2%; however, there is a steep increase in the most recent two albums, Beyoncé and Lemonade. A multiple regression analysis conducted in Rbrul (Johnson 2009) shows probabilities that strongly favor copula absence at these later stages of her career, reaching a probability of .82 in her latest album, Lemonade. Copula absence thus serves as an important symbolic resource that Beyoncé draws on as she asserts an unapologetically Black and feminist persona. Complementing this correlational data with discursive and multimodal semiotic analysis (Lopez & Bucholtz 2017) of lyrics and music videos, we integrate elements of her public appearance including clothing, hairstyle and overall artistry. We argue that Beyoncé has moved steadily away from the expectations popular culture holds for representations of Black womanhood, and that language is a central tool that she uses strategically in the evolution of this newly transgressive persona.
Alim, Samy H. (2006). Roc the mic right: The language of hip-hop culture. New York: Routledge. Alim, Samy H. (2002). Street-conscious copula variation in the hip hop nation. American Speech, 77(3), 288-304.
Benor, Sarah Bunin (2012). Becoming Frum: How newcomers learn the language and culture of Orthodox Judaism. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Bey, Marquis (2017). Beyoncé's black (ab)normal: Baaad insurgency and the queerness of slaying. Black Camera, 9(1), 164-178.
Cooper, Brittany (2017). Five reasons I'm here for Beyoncé, the feminist. In Cooper, Brittany, Susana Morris & Robin Boylorn (eds). The crunk feminist collection. New York: Feminist Press at the City University of New York, pp.
Durham, Aisha (2012). "Check on it": Beyoncé, Southern booty, and Black femininities in music video. Feminist Media Studies, 12(1), 35-49.
Edwards, Walter & Leslie Ash (2004). AAVE features in the lyrics of Tupac Shakur: The notion of "realness". Word, 55(2), 165-178.
Gammage, Marquita (2017). Pop culture without culture: Examining the public backlash to Beyoncé's Super Bowl 50 performance. Journal of Black Studies, 48(8), 715-731.
Green, Lisa (2002). African American English: A linguistic introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Johnson, Daniel Ezra (2009). Getting off the GoldVarb standard: Introducing Rbrul for mixed- effects variable rule analysis. Language and Linguistics Compass, 3(1), 359-383.
Li, Stephanie (2017). Introduction: Who is Beyoncé? Black Camera, 9(1), 106-113.
Lopez, Qiuana & Mary Bucholtz (2017). "How my hair look?": Linguistic authenticity and racialized gender and sexuality on The Wire. Journal of Language and Sexuality, 6(1), 1-29.
Mendoza-Denton, Norma (2008). Homegirls: Language and cultural practice among Latina youth gangs. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Pennycook, Alastair (2003). Global Englishes, Rip Slyme, and performativity. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 7(4), 513-533.
Podesva, Rob (2007). Phonation type as a stylistic variable: The use of falsetto in constructing a persona. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 11(4), 478-504.
Rickford, John (1999). African American Vernacular English. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Weidhase, Nathalie (2015). 'Beyoncé feminism' and the contestation of the black feminist body. Celebrity Studies, 6(1), 128-131.
"It's true; ain't nobody got time fo dat": Linguistic Subordination and the Humor of Black Speech
Shalina Omar, North Carolina State University
From Charlie Bit My Finger to Charlie the Unicorn, viral videos have become a barometer of cultural interest on the internet. Accordingly, they deserve sociolinguistic examination as a representation of popular language ideologies. This study examines the phenomenon of the viral local news celebrity videos that been replicated and memeified through video clips, gifs, song remixes, image macros, and hashtags. One of the initial memes of this genre arguably came from a TV interview with Antoine Dodson, a resident of an Alabama housing project whose outraged and incredulous reaction to a man attempting to rape his sister (catchphrase: "Hide yo kids, hide yo wife") spread like wildfire across the internet. Soon after, YouTube artists immortalized it into an Auto-Tune hit and the meme took off. Analogous phenomena have been replicated a number of times since Dodson's viral newscast, most often with working-class Black interviewees using vernacular versions of African American Language (AAL).
I argue that the memeification of these videos is a product of the linguistic subordination of Black speech in America. First proposed by Rosina Lippi-Green in 1997, Walt Wolfram & Natalie Schilling describe the Principle of Linguistic Subordination as the process by which the language varieties spoken by socially disfavored groups are deemed inferior to those spoken by socially dominant groups (2016, p. 7). The linguistic subordination of Black speech in America has been well documented, particularly in the wake of the Oakland Ebonics controversy. The persistent myth that AAL is "simply incorrect English" (Wolfram, 1998, p. 110) continues to subordinate it as a lesser language than some idea of what "correct" and "standard" American English is.
I identify features of AAL within the videos and present examples of YouTube comments in which viewers index these features and characterize them as humorous. When commenters elect to include non-standard orthography, they mark the original speech as non- standard. Some comments use common orthography for features such as velar fronting, which indicate the salience of purported and authentic AAL features to the audience. However, others commenters employ over-phonologization and "eye dialect," which singles out black speech as markedly non-standard. Expanding on studies on Mock Language (Hill, 1998; Ronkin & Karn, 1999), I maintain that some comments demonstrate Mock AAL and are meant to denigrate the language and those who use it. This is an example of the marginalization of those who do not conform to the language of the dominant group, which Lippi-Green identifies as one step in the model of language subordination (2012, p.70).
The study reveals that culturally entrenched myths of the illegitimacy of Black speech underlie the videos' humor and factor into in their successful viralization and memeification. These instant celebrities replicate the image of the "hilarious" hysterical black neighbor whose reaction to a distressing situation is viewed as comically dramatic through their vernacular language, yet another form of mock language. From a critical, raciolinguistic perspective, the videos exist within an environment of linguistic subordination that must be addressed in the struggle for the linguistic legitimacy of AAL.
Hill, J. H. (1998, September). Language, Race, and White Public Space. American Anthropologist, 100(3), 680-689.
Lippi-Green, R. (2012). English with an Accent: Language, Ideology and Discrimination in the United States. London: Routledge.
Ronkin, M., & Karn, H. E. (1999). Mock Ebonics: Linguistic racism in parodies of Ebonics on the Internet. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 3(3), 360-380.
Wolfram, W. (1998, June). Language Ideology and Dialect: Understanding the Oakland Ebonics Controversy. Journal of English Linguistics, 26(2), 108-121.
Wolfram, W., & Schilling, N. (2016). American English: Dialects and Variation (3rd ed.). London: Wiley Blackwell.
Can I Get an Amen?: African American English in RuPaul's Drag Race
Alyssa Crowley, University of South Carolina
This paper addresses the use of African American English (AAE) within a community of Drag Queens on RuPaul's Drag Race Season 9. The queens utilize AAE to index a drag persona across racial and gender borders. Barrett (1999) showed how African-American Drag Queens use White Woman's English to index a "polyphonous identity". Building on the work of Barrett, Mann (2011) analyzes the speech of Suzanne, a "European-American Drag Queen" and her ability to "stylemix" as a tool to blur both gender and racial lines. This research expands on these previous studies to show that African American English is used on different levels (lexical, phonological, and syntactic) by both African American Drag Queens and non-African American Drag Queens as a tool for performing a Drag identity across racial borders. RuPaul's Drag Race is a reality competition where Drag Queens compete to become America's Next Drag Superstar by competing in a variety of individual and group challenges throughout the season. This research looks at who is using AAE features in RuPaul's Drag Race- is it the African American Drag Queens or the Non-African American Drag Queens? What features they are using- is it primarily phonological, grammatical, or lexical features of AAE? When are the features being used- is it in the workroom, in the interviews, or during other performative aspects? And lastly, why are they using those features in those contexts- are the Queens who are using the AAE features using it as an index of Identity or Group Membership, or is it part of a character? To answer these questions, the present study looks at four episodes of the most recent season of RuPaul's Drag Race. The contestants are shown in the workroom as they prepare for the challenges, as well as executing and competing in the challenges. The episodes were transcribed and coded for lexical, phonological, and syntactic AAE features, and analyzed for the way in which these features are used by the Queens. The Drag Queens on RuPaul's Drag Race utilize AAE features to varying degrees: all of the Queen use AAE lexical features, while only some utilize phonological features, and very few utilize syntactic features of AAE. Lexical features are often the most salient parts of a language variety, and lexical items from the AAE speech community such as "shady" "ashy" and "girlfriend" have become integral parts of indexing a Drag Queen Identity on the show. Phonological and syntactic features of AAE are more highly stigmatized, and less utilized in the casual speech the non-African American Drag Queens, however, during stylized performances, such as the challenge to "read" one another, AAE features are used more frequently to show competence in this specific rhetorical practice of "reading". Overall, the implication is that features of African American English are an important tool used by Drag Queens across racial borders to index membership in the Drag Community.
Barrett, R. (1998). Markedness and style switching in performances by African American drag queens. Codes and consequences: Choosing linguistic varieties, 139-161.
Barrett, R. (1999). Indexing polyphonous identity in the speech of African American drag queens. Reinventing identities: The gendered self in discourse, 313-331.
Barrett, R. (2017). From Drag Queens to Leathermen: Language, Gender, and Gay Male Subcultures. Oxford University Press.
Cornelius, B. R. (2016). Gay Black Men and the Construction of Identity via Linguistic
Repertoires. In Proceedings of the 24th Annual Symposium about Language and Society-Austin.
Green, L. J. (2002). African American English: a linguistic introduction. Cambridge University Press.
Johnson, E. P. (2003). Appropriating blackness: Performance and the politics of authenticity. Duke University Press.
Johnson, E. P. (2011). Sweet tea: Black gay men of the South. Univ of North Carolina Press.
Mann, S. L. (2011). Drag Queens' Use of Language and the Performance of Blurred Gendered and Racial Identities. Journal of homosexuality, 58(6-7), 793-811.
Rickford, J. R., & Rickford, R. J. (2000). Spoken soul: The story of black English. John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Simmons, N. (2014). Speaking like a queen in RuPaul's drag race: Towards a speech code of American drag queens. Sexuality & Culture, 18(3), 630-648.
Smitherman, G. (1977). Talkin and testifyin: The language of Black America (Vol. 51). Wayne State University Press.
Strings, S., & Bui, L. T. (2014). "She Is Not Acting, She Is" The conflict between gender and racial realness on RuPaul's Drag Race. Feminist Media Studies, 14(5), 822-836.
The borderless Ogiek: A focus on the diminishing voices of the endangered Akie language in Kenya
Isaac Muhando, Tulane University
The socio-political dynamics in Kenya and partly in Tanzania has had a huge impact on Ogiek's1 socio-linguistic and cultural structure resulting to extinction of one and endangerment of the other two main dialects of Ogiek people, that is, Kinare, Sogoo and Akie respectively. While past historical injustices and constant legal battles with the Kenyan government over what the Ogiek term as "eviction from their ancestral land", I argue that their socio-structural formation and lack of defined ethnic borders have largely contributed to the continued disintegration of the community as well as endangerment of Akie language. With Kinare so far extinct, and Sogoo and Akie critically endangered, my primary focus is to revisit the state of Akie remnants that reside in Boni forest.
The present study seeks to address the following; (1) In what current domains is the Akie language being used? (2) What factors contribute to Akie speakers shifting to neighboring languages? And (3) what does it mean for Ogiek not to have a formidable socio-cultural structure that is recognized by the government of the day? The study also highlights the historical injustices that have heavily contributed in re-shaping the linguistic landscape of the Ogiek and that of their neighboring communities. Past studies featuring Ogiek have mainly focused on its legitimacy as a tribe in Kenya (Kratz, 1981) and its socio-cultural activities (Blackburn, 1971; 1973; Samoria, 2014) but very few have paid close attention to the current domains under which the critically endangered Akie and Sogoo are being used. With such knowledge at hand, it's in my view that it will provide a fundamental baseline under which revitalization program(s) (if any) can be anchored. The study also address the ideology of tribe and how tribalism has contributed to endangerment Akie(k) language among the Ogieks of Boni forest.
According to UNESCO Ad Hoc report of 2003, members of ethnolinguistic minorities are increasingly abandoning their native language in favor of another. This partly seems to be the case with Ogiek speech community with many of its younger speakers opting to speak surrounding Maa and Agikuyu languages instead of Akie. The study seeks to critically dissect into factors behind such a paradigm shift in language use.
1 Ogiek is a community of hunters and gathers found in the rift valley region in Kenya and Northern part of Tanzania. The Kenyan Ogiek are specifically found around Mau Forest in Nakuru County. I use either Okiek or Ogiek to refer to both the ethnic community and language spoken by the community. Akie or Akiek is one of the three dialects spoken by different groups of Ogiek community.
Blackburn, Roderic H. (1971). "The Honey Complex in Okiek Society, Culture and Personality." Ph.D dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Michigan State University. University of Michigan Microfilm Offprint.
Blackburn, Roderic H. (1973). "Okiek Ceramics: Evidence for Central Kenya Prehistory," in "Azania, Journal of the British Institute in Eastern Africa." pp. 55- 70.
Kratz, Corinne A. (1981). "Are the Okiek really Masai? or Kipsigis? or Kikuyu?"
Cahiers d'Études africaines. Vol. 79 XX:3, pp. 355–68.
Samorai Lengoisa, J. (2014) Oral presentation during session on 'Our Knowledge, Our Ways: Indigenous and local knowledge about Pollination and Pollinators associated with Food Production' at Global Dialogue Workshop on ILK of pollination and pollinators associated with food production, Panama City, 1–5 December 2014
UNESCO report (2003). Language Vitality and Endangerement Rottland, F. and Vossen,
R. (1977). Grundlagen für eine Klarung des Dorobo- problems. In Mohlig, W. J. G., Rottland, F., and Heine, B. (eds.), Zur Sprachgeschichte und Ethnohistorie in Afrika. Berlin: Dietrich Verlagen
Multilingualism with Multiple Identities
John M. Clifton, SIL International & University of North Dakota
The concept identity has played an important role in the analysis of language shift. It is commonly argued that identity is a major determiner of ethnolinguistic vitality which, in turn, is a predictor of language shift. In most studies, it is commonly assumed that a given individual has a single identity. Identity may vary within a group, and it may change over time, but a given individual is assumed to have a single identity at a given point in time (Clyne 2003). For example, in discussing ethnolinguistic vitality, Ehala (2010:208) refers to 'language and identity shift' as a single process; a shift of one implies a shift of the other. And while there can be variation within a community, the assumption of an inter-group shared identity allows us to identify borders between groups with different identities (Omoniyi 2010). In this paper I challenge this, claiming that speakers may have multiple identities, each tied to a different language.
In the bulk of this paper, I examine three situations, two in Azerbaijan (the Talysh and the Lezgi) and one in Tajikistan (the Pamiri language groups), where at least some multilingual individuals see themselves as having multiple identities. All three situations developed in the aftermath of the break-up of the Soviet Union. In each situation, the triggers were a combination of nation building and local conflicts. At the same time, there are clear differences between the three situations which affect patterns of multiple identities.
In all three situations, once the conflict was over, the community members felt a need to demonstrate they were loyal subjects of the newly independent nation. This is especially true for members living away from the traditional homeland, or in urban areas. These members did not want to be seen by the larger society as Talysh Azerbaijani or Pamiri Tajik; they wanted to be seen as simply Azerbaijani or Tajik. At the same time, our research has shown that members of these communities wanted to maintain their identity as members of the heritage community. A critical part of this new set of identities was proficiency in both the heritage and national languages.
Clifton (2013) argues that national languages have played the role that Mufwene (2008) claims for colonial languages in settlement colonization, resulting in language shift. In these case studies, however, I claim the conflicts resulted in multiple identities rather than immediate shifts in language and identity.
There are a number of implications. First, since censuses a product of the national government, not the heritage community, respondents will self identify with the national ethnicity, resulting in the heritage ethnicity being under-counted. Second, researchers need to be creative when attempting to identify members of these communities in urban areas. Third, the role of identity in language shift is likely to be considerably more complex than it been assumed. Finally, we need to look for non-conflict situations in which multilingual individuals have multiple identities.
Clifton, John M. 2013. "Colonialism, nationalism and language vitality in Azerbaijan." In Mihas, Elena & Perley, Bernard & Rei-Doval, Gabriel & Wheatley, Kathleen, eds. Responses to language endangerment: In honor of Mickey Noonan: New directions in language documentation and language revitalization, 197-219. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Clyne, Michael. 2003. Dynamics of language contact. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ehala, Martin. 2010. "Ethnolinguistic vitality and intergroup processes." Multilingua - Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication 29:203-221.
Mufwene, Salikoko S. 2008. Language evolution: Contact, competition and change. New York: Continuum. Omoniyi, Tope. 2010. "Borders." In Fishman, Joshua & García, Ofelia, eds. Handbook of language and ethnic identity: Disciplinary and regional perspectives, 2 Edition. 1:123-134. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
One nation-one language and many speakers excluded: Language ideologies among pre-service teachers in South Texas
Mara Barbosa, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
The present study investigated the presence of language ideologies in the discourse of pre-service teachers of Spanish seeking their certificate in a university in South Texas. Through the analysis of interviews with the participants, the present study tried to determine (1) if hegemonic language ideologies are present in the participants' discourse and (2) how these pre-service teachers react to the hegemonic language ideologies present in the U.S., if they tend to reproduce or challenge these ideologies. Spanish speakers in the U.S. may be led to believe that the use of their native language is not as rightful as English in the country. The ideological discourse legitimating this idea is so spread that propositions reproducing it may be present even in the discourse of the ones who will dedicate their lives to teach Spanish, who are also among the most interested in defending the language and its space in the country. In this environment, it is important to investigate the ideologies of the teachers who will be passing their judgments and ideas on to their students, which may negatively impact the students' learning process in different ways (Valdés, 2001; Cross, De Vaney & Jones, 2001; Salas, Flores & Smith, 2005). Data from interviews with pre-service Spanish teachers were analyzed using a Critical Discourse Analysis framework (van Dijk, 1995, 2005), as this framework tries to account for how language ideologies are generally used by the elites to produce and reproduce relationships of power, dominance and inequality through discourse, as well as for how dominated groups accept or challenge those ideologies. Results show that although participants show very positive attitudes towards Spanish in the U.S. and its teaching, they also reproduce incompatible ideologies surrounding each of the four themes investigated in this study: (1) Spanish significance and foreign status in the U.S., (2) Spanish/English bilingualism, (3) Spanish/English bilingual education, and (4) Spanish language maintenance. The one nation-one language ideology was also found in the participants' discourse surrounding each of the four themes. The issues that arise from both the reproduction and challenge of these language ideologies in pre-service and in- service teachers' discourse and the potential implications for students in the U.S. educational system are discussed.
Cross, J. B., DeVaney, T. & Jones, J. (2001). Pre-service Teacher Attitudes toward Differing Dialects. Linguistics and Education, 12(4), 211- 227.
Salas, C. M. V., Flores, B. B., & Smith, H. L. (2005). Preservice teachers' attitudes toward language diversity in South Texas. Teacher Education and Practice, 18(3), 297-314.
Valdés, G. (2001). Learning and not learning English: Latino students in American schools. New York: Teachers College Press.
Van Dijk, T. A. (2005). Racism and discourse in Latin America. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Van Dijk, T. A. (1995). Aims of Critical Discourse Analysis. Japanese Discourse, 1, 17- 27.
Italians in the US, Italian Americans, or Italians and Americans? Language and identity practices of new Italian immigrants to the US
Cecilia Tomasatti, North Carolina State University
The Italian community has had a strong presence in the US starting from the early 20th century and has gradually transitioned over the decades to a true ethnic rediscovery as a group (Nelli 1983). However, Italy has long continued to be an "emigrant nation" (Choate 2008) and its most recent flows of highly transnational, college educated, career-driven Italians appear to distance themselves from Italian Americans, now at their fourth generation, and from those Italian American communities that played such an important role in the past (Ruberto and Sciorra 2017).
My study aims at narrowing the existing gap in the literature on late Italian immigrants in the US by looking at this issue from a linguistic perspective. More specifically, this paper examines the ways in which identity- construction practices of most recent Italian immigrants to the US differ from those of first-generation immigrants who came to the US during the 20th-century waves, second- and third-generation Italian Americans, and their contemporaries in Italy. What does being Italian mean to the recent Italian-born migrants in the US and how do they frame their national, ethnic, and cultural belonging? To what extent their language use reflect their positioning in the spectrum of belonging between the US and Italy? How do they make sense of discourses around the pursuit of the American dream and the most recent ones on Italy's brain drain? The analysis addresses these questions by looking at the answers given by participants to a questionnaire and sociolinguistic interviews across the US. Using a discursive approach to identity construction practices (e.g. Bamberg et al. 2011) alongside with narrative analysis (e.g. De Fina and Georgakopoulou 2012), I focus on the construction of immigrant identities and national identities through language practices and storytelling, also drawing on membership categorization (De Fina 2006, Wodak 2008, De Cillia et al. 1999), stance (Du Bois 2007), and the notion of chronotope (Bakhtin 1981, Blommaert and De Fina 2016). The analysis suggests that the most recent Italian immigrants to the US do fashion their immigrant self in a different way from their predecessors, navigating differently the "discursive struggles over migration" (Perrino 2017) and adopting different language practices that can be the result, among others, of sweeping changes in today's transnational flows between Italy and the US. Overall, such a case study as outlined below should offer a fertile ground on which to rethink the broad interrelation between language, identity, and immigration in light of globalization and heightened mobility.
Crossing Semantic Boundaries: A Syntactic Analysis of English Get Constructions
Melissa Gomes, University of Georgia
The verb get is one of the most widely used verbs in the English language, and for that reason it may not seem like a syntactically complex puzzle; however, the exact opposite is true. The verb get raises three main questions concerning its usage and syntactic structure. One of the most obvious questions might be the considerable polysemy exhibited by get:
(1a) I got a bike. (1b) I got Mary a bike.
(2a) I got to the school. (2b) I got her to the school.
(3a) I got angry. (3b) I got Mary angry.
(4a) I got fired. (4b) I got Mary fired.
Get seems to cross the boundary from a strictly lexical item in (1) to a more functional item similar to a passive auxiliary in (4). The most ideal analysis would be, firstly, one that allows for each of these different usages and their corresponding argument structures to be easily accounted for. Secondly, there is an (a) version with two argument positions and a (b) version with three argument positions. The (b) versions feature an additional argument position dedicated to the recipient or affectee of the verb. Thirdly, it is clear in the (b) versions that the subject is the agent and the additional argument position is the recipient/affectee; however, in the (a) versions, the subject can be either the agent or the recipient. The aim of this work is to propose a unified, minimalist analysis of get that accounts for the ambiguous thematic roles of the subject in version (a) and the additional argument position in version (b).
I have proposed an analysis in which either the recipient or the agent can be raised to subject position if only one is present—similar to the (2011) Brownlow analysis. I also propose that the different types of get are analogous in structure except for the semantic function of the V head and its choice of complement. This differs from Brownlow's proposal, which features a PredP small clause complement to all get constructions. I argue that Brownlow's inclusion of a PredP is not necessary since the V head can carry the semantic load of the onset of possession of the complement, whether that be an object (DP), a state (AP/PP) or a situation (Passive VP). This can be the case since, Brownlow's V head carries the semantic function of causativity, which can be housed in a little v head. Both analyses encountered a similar problem of movement motivation in the passive construction. I argue that following the precedent of Nunes and Hornstein (2002), a sideward movement could be utilized to re-copy and re-merge the DP into a higher position to receive the second theta role. I believe that the analysis proposed in this work is able to effectively and in a minimalist fashion, answer the questions of how to account for (1) the different types of get in an accurate and unified manner (2) the ambiguous thematic roles of the subject, and (3) the additional argument position.
Brownlow, Oliver Samuel. "Towards a Unified Analysis of the Syntax and Semantics of Get Constructions." Queen Mary University of London, 2011.
Hornstein, N. and Nunes, J. (2002), On Asymmetries Between Parasitic Gap and Across-the- board Constructions. Syntax, 5: 26–54. doi:10.1111/1467-9612.00046
Syntactic structure in English verbal idioms
Anissa Neal, formerly The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Overview. Previous work has approached idioms from a largely semantic perspective, having been primarily concerned with how idiomatic meaning is composed and stored (Swinney and Cutler 1979; Gibbs 1980; 1986). This study takes a syntactic perspective and investigates the syntactic structure of English verbal idioms, and concludes that all verbal idioms of English have stored, internal, hierarchic structure.
Evidence. The argument is organized into three main parts. First, I discuss previous approaches to the storage of idioms. They focus primarily on semantic storage, although one hypothesis (Configuration Hypothesis; Cacciari and Tabossi, 1988) does address the syntax. From the existing hypotheses, I conclude that the idiomatic form is stored. Second, I examine a variety of syntactic processes that serve as evidence for internal syntax in English idioms: vacuous modification (i.e. modification that does not contribute to the semantics of the phrase), metalinguistic modification (i.e. modification that indicates non-literal readings), compositional aspect, and subject-oriented adverbs. For vacuous and metalinguistic modification, I find that all idioms can be modified acceptably (1). McGinnis (2002) considers aspect derived from the syntax of an idiom, not the meaning (2). However, there is a class of idioms (Glasbey, 2006), that compositional aspect cannot explain, where the aspect of the idiomatic phrase does not match that of the literal counterpart (3). To account for this, I use subject-oriented adverbs (SOAs). If SOAs are sensitive to syntactic position, in that subjecthood is a syntactic position, and idioms are successful with SOAs, it is logical to conclude that idioms have syntactic structure. I find this hypothesis supported across all different classes of idioms (4). Furthermore, the subtle changes in meaning produced by positional differences are still maintained (5).
Further Issues. Some idioms show restraints on the syntactic processes (i.e. passivation and raising constructions) they can undergo. These restrictions, however, are not due to a lack of internal structure. Instead, they are the result of a difference in how the meaning of the idiom is distributed across the internal structure of the idiom. In (6a) the idiomatic meaning of "die" is connected to the whole idiomatic phrase. There is no way to divide the meaning "die" and distribute it to the words kick, the, and bucket. In (6b), the meaning of "reveal the secret" can be distributed across the idiomatic phrase with "reveal" mapping to spill and "the secret" mapping to the beans. These processes, despite their syntactic movement, are, to a degree, concerned with meaning; the parts they move must be meaningful. Therefore, the meaning-structure correspondence differs across different types of idioms, thus leading to the variation seen in the processes all idioms can do and the processes only some idioms can do.
Conclusion. The conclusion of this work, while an admittedly large claim, does help further describe how meaning and form are structured in speakers' minds. Investigation into the cross- linguistic applicability of this claim, the reanalysis of grammatical structure for some idioms, and the online processing of idioms are practical areas of future research.
a. Viola cut the goddamn rug at the party. "Viola danced (emphatic)."
b. Viola cut the proverbial rug at the party.
a. Sascha hung fire for two minutes. "Sascha waited for two minutes."
b. Sascha hung sheets for two minutes.
a. Fatima buried the hatchet with Ursula for two minutes. "Fatima made peace with Ursula for two minutes."
b. *Fatima buried the box with Ursula for two minutes.
a. Manasi eagerly lifted Isla's spirits. (decomposable idiom)
Ellie contentedly built castles in the air. (nondecomposable idiom)
Keris willingly buried the hatchet with Fiona. (differing aspect idiom)
Helene gladly made believe that she didn't hear Duncan. (non-canonical idiom)
a. Keris buried the hatchet with Fiona willingly.
Manner reading: Keris made peace with Fiona in a willing manner.
Willingly, Keris buried the hatchet with Fiona.
Subject-oriented reading: Keris was willing to make with Fiona.
Keris willingly buried the hatchet with Fiona.
Both manner and subject-oriented readings available
a. *The bucket was kicked by Joe last weekend.
*"Joe died last weekend."
b. The beans were spilled by Joe during the party. "The secret was revealed by Joe during the party."
Cacciari, C., & Tabossi, P. 1988. The comprehension of idioms. Journal of Memory and Language 27, 668-683.
Gibbs, R. 1980. Spilling the beans on understanding and memory for idioms in context. Memory & Cognition 8, 149-156.
Gibbs, R. 1986. Skating on thin ice: Literal meaning and understanding of idioms. Journal of Child Language 14, 569-586.
Glasbey, S. R. 2003. Let's paint the town red for a few hours: Composition of aspect in idioms. In: A. M. Wellington (ed.), Proceedings of the ACL Workshop: The Lexicon and Figurative Language, Sapporo.
Glasbey, S. R. 2006. Aspectual Composition in Idioms. Ms., University of Birmingham.
McGinnis, M. 2002. On the syntactic aspect of idioms. Linguistic Inquiry 33, 665- 672.
Swinney, D., & Cutler, A. 1979. The access and processing of idiomatic expressions. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 18, 523-534