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Chapter 7

Soc. Chapter 7

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LING 320
Charles Boberg

Chapter 7: Some Findings and Issues PART 1 An Early Study Earliest studies of variation was FISCHERS STUDY (1958) o (ng) variable - [n], or [+ o Part of a study in child-rearing practices in New England o 12 boys and 12 girls (ages: 3-10) o 3 INTERVIEW STYLES: Administered in a very FORMAL situation the Thematic Apperception Test, than had a LESS FORMAL interview, and an INFORMAL interview o RESULTS: boys used more in forms than girls in the most formal situation o Compared model boys to typical boys in terms of *n+ and *+. The model boy worked well in school and was described as being popular, thoughtful, and considerate. The typical boy was described as being strong, mischievous, and apparently unafraid of being caught doing something wrong. Model boys used many more ing endings than typical boys and typical boys used approximately an even amount of ing and in endings (favoring -in a little more) if the formality of the situation was controlled for. The model more also used in more as the formality of the situation decreased (they were able to adjust to the situation) As children relaxed (in the informal interview): produced more in for specific verbs like HIT, CHEW, SWIM, PUNCH because they described everyday activity. Formal verbs were much more likely to be given the ing ending, such as for verbs like CRITICIZE, CORRECT, READ, VISIT. CONCLUSION: The choice between the ing and the in variants appears to be related to sex, class, personality, mood of the speaker and to FORMALITY of the conversation and the specific VERN spoken New York City Labovs study in New York City: first great quantitative study Hypothesis: r-pronunciation after vowels was being re-introduced in New York City and that it was a feature of the younger people rather than of older people. Was more likely to occur as formality increased and more likely at word endings (floor), than before consonants (fourth). Experiments described in class as taking place in Saks (high0end store), Macys (middle class store) and S-Klein (working class store). RESULTS: r-pronunciation was favored in Saks to a greater extent than in Macys, but much less so in S.Klein. Careful repetition of the utterance nearly always increased r-pronunciation, and pronunciation of r was more often found in floor than in fourth in all circumstances In Saks it was older people who used r-pronunciation less, data from S.Klein about this was inconclusive, and in Macys: r- pronunciation was said more with older participants. Conclusion: MEMEBERS OF THE HIGHEST AND THE LOWEST SOCIAL GROUPS TEND NOT TO CHANGE THEIR PRONUNCIATIONS after it becomes fixed in adolescence but members of middle class do change their r-pronunciation habits due t social aspirations of being better and becoming part of the upper class. R-pronunciation is now valued in words like car or guard (word finally). They are associated with the upper class even if they do not use such a pronunciation all the time and in all situations R-pronunciation was not always valued in NYC. R-lessness predominated until WWII. When population movement into the city occurred r-pronunciation was heard more by people coming from different regions and thus became popular again SUBJECTIVE REACION TESTS showed that upper middle class and under age 40 almost always approved r-pronunciation even though fewer than half actually used r in all instances. Above age 40, approval fell off to about 60% and use showed a drastic decline and went down to 10%. Look at graph on page 171 (also shown several times in class) and notice: the amount of r use increases by social class and by formality of style. However, there is one noticeable exception: the lower middle-class speakers outperform the upper middle-class speakers on word lists and minimal pairs. They outperform the people theyre supposed to be modeling! This CROSS OVER in the graph is called HYPERCORRECTION. o Hypercorrection occurs when individuals consciously try to speak like people they regard as socially superior but actually go too far and overdo the particular linguistic behavior SHORTCOMINGS OF THE EXPERIMENT: no information about the amount of variance about the means so we cannot be sure how comparable they are. They are also based on small numbers of participants. We cant be sure that means are significantly different, which means the cross-over can theoretically at least, be a result of data manipulation, or chance. LABOVS OTHER EXPERIMENT [t], [t+, *+, the last being the standard pronunciation when saying thing and three. The first *t+ is the most nonstandard, coming out like ting and tree. This is the (th) index Results: (table seen in class and on page 172) In every context members of the speech community are differentiated by the use of the variable, but nevertheless every group behaves the same way: as the formality of their speech increases from casual speech, to careful speech, to reading style, to word lists there is an increase in *+ (the standard style). Other variables, like (dh) in this and then, have a similar distribution(th) variables indicate that there is a SHARP BREAK in the theta pronunciation between working- class groups and middle-class groups (sharp increase seen all of a sudden). THIS SHARP BREAK IS CALLED SHARP STRATIFICATION NORWICH AND READING Trudghill incestigated 16 phonological variables in Norwich, England Demonstrated, like Labov, how the use of variants is related to social class and level of formality Higher the social class the more frequent is the use of *+, *t+, *h+. , females showing a greater preference for *+ than males, regardless of social class SHORTCOMINGS: Trudghill noticed that perhaps his own use of glottal stops shadowed the use of the participants glottal stops. The more the participants used a glottal stop, the more did he. Fortunately, his use almost always trailed any others use. This is an example of CONVERGENT ACCOMODATION When style is kept constant, the lower the social class the greater the incidence of nonstandard variant, when class is constant: the less formal the style the more the nonstandard was seen. Cheshire: (s) variable in the speech of three groups of boys and girls. The (s) variable in this case is the extension of third-person singular verb makings in 13 boys and 12 girls, aged 9- 17. o Has
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