LING480 Study Guide - Final Guide: Phonological Change, Blue-Collar Worker, Participant Observation

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The researchers in the article conducted observations among adolescents in detroit in order to study the mechanisms of the spread of sound change, moving outward from urban areas and upward through the socioeconomic hierarchy. The study two polarized groups: the jocks and the burnouts to represent social structures within varied age cohorts. They claim that parent"s socioeconomic class does not determine phonological variation between these two groups, and argue that the phonological variation comes from category affiliation and differences in social network structure. The study goes on for three years following six hundred high school students as they grow and change linguistically, participating in participant observation and sociolinguistic analysis. Eckert specifically studied this change looking at the linguistic change both outward from cities and upward through the socioeconomic hierarchy. She found that when correlated with phonological change, identity as a motivator in adolescent populations is a statistically significant variable for linguistic change.

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