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09:00-09:50 Session 5: Plenary Session II
Location: New York
Variation squared

ABSTRACT. Inspired by work in comparative sociolinguistics (e.g. Tagliamonte 2001) and quantitative dialectometry (e.g. Nerbonne, Heeringa & Kleiweg 1999), this talk sketches a corpus-based, variationist method (Variation-Based Distance & Similarity Modeling – VADIS for short) to rigorously quantify the similarity between varieties and dialects as a function of the correspondence of the ways in which language users choose between "alternate ways of saying ‘the same’ thing" (Labov 1972: 188). In other words, the basic idea is to measure inter-speaker variability by assessing intra-speaker variability: hence “variation squared”. To showcase the potential of the method, I present a case study that investigates three syntactic alternations (the dative alternation, the genitive alternation, and the particle placement alternation) in some nine international varieties of English. Key findings include the following: (a) probabilistic grammars are remarkably similar and stable across the varieties under study; (b) there is a fairly robust split between “native” (a.k.a. Inner Circle) varieties, such as British English, and “non-native” (a.k.a. Outer Circle) varieties, such as Indian English; and (c) there is not much coherence across alternations, which suggests that probabilistic grammars in the aggregate are a collection of independent and independently constrained alternations.

09:50-10:15Coffee Break
10:15-12:20 Session 6A: Attitudes and Social Meaning
Location: Brussels
Language variation and attitudes in Ningbo, China


Although often perceived as a monolingual country with one standard language, Putonghua (literally ‘common language’), China is becoming more and more multilingual due to its rapid globalisation. However, sociolinguistic research on the diversity of languages, communities, and identities in contemporary Chinese society is still severely under-developed (cf. Liang, 2015; Xiao, 2007; Zhang, 2017).

As part of a bigger project examining language variation and attitudes in China, this paper investigates young adults’ use of and attitudes towards different languages/varieties in the city of Ningbo, a port city in Eastern China heavily influenced by the 1978 economic reform and the subsequent social changes. This study explores how young adults’ linguistic practices co-exist with the state’s language ideology and policies. The goal is to understand what language practices and standards exist in Ningbo and how younger generations perceive standard language ideologies in a fast-changing multilingual society.

This paper draws on data collected from 40 university students based at universities in Ningbo through interviews, questionnaires, and perceptual experiments. The two selected universities differ in their mediums of instruction: Ningbo City University (NCU) is a Chinese-medium university while Ningbo Metropolitan University (NMU) is English-medium. All participants are locally-born Ningbonese (aged 18-25) and multilingual in Putonghua, local vernacular dialect (Wu dialect), and English. Their production and perception of the three varieties/languages are collected and analysed. Linguistic features existing in their Putonghua  and Ningbo dialect are studied: merger of dental-retroflex fricative/affricates (/s~ʂ/,/ts~tʂ/, and /tsh~tʂh/), non-standard realisation of syllable final rhotacisation (erhua/rhotacisation), non-standard/vernacular intensifiers and use of SVO structure (as oppose to SOV which is used in standard Putonghua). Code-switching between Chinese (Putonghua and Ningbo dialect) and English is also studied.

Combining both quantitative and qualitative data analyses, I will show that, first, speakers use linguistic features from different varieties/languages in their speech and different features carry different social meanings (e.g. localness, standardness, modernity). Additionally, speakers’ attitudes towards different varieties of Chinese are similar across universities while their attitudes towards English differ. This demonstrates how these students, living in a multilingual environment within a largely monolingual country, perceive the rigid language policies of China and use different language/varieties to negotiate and construct their identity as Ningbo residents and competent language users.

This study contributes to the understanding of language variation and language attitudes in general by investigating an understudied topic, Ningbo and its languages/varieties. From a sociolinguistic perspective, I offer evidence showing that speakers utilise a wide range of linguistic features in the construction of social meanings. The study also demonstrates the impact of social changes, especially English as a global language, on language use and attitudes in contemporary Chinese society.



Liang, S. (2015). Language Attitudes and Identities in Multilingual China: A Linguistic Ethnography: Springer International Publishing.

Xiao, J. (2007). Putonghua zhongjieyu yanjiu shuping. [An overview on interlanguages in Putonghua]. Journal of Yunyang Normal College, 27(2), 119-122. doi:10.3969/j.issn.1008-6072.2007.02.030

Zhang, Q. (2017). Language and Social Change in China: Undoing Commonness through Cosmopolitan Mandarin. New York and London: Routledge.

An acquisitional perspective on the social meaning of borrowing


Situated on the intersection of contact linguistics and developmental sociolinguistics, this paper sets out to meet two objectives. First, we aim to validate the widely accepted, but largely unverified, idea that prestige plays a role in the borrowing process (see e.g. Matras 2009). Second, we want to contribute to current sociolinguistic research on the acquisition of prestige: if a variety is considered prestigious by a speech community, when do emerging L1 learners adopt this social meaning (e.g. De Vogelaer & Katerbow 2017). Specifically, we present the results of an experiment on the perception of English loanwords by 212 Dutch speaking primary school children evenly distributed over three age groups (ages 6-7; 8-9; 10-11) that aims to answer the following questions: (1) are primary school children sensitive to the prestige of English loans in Dutch?; (2) if so, what are the attitudinal dimensions shaping that sensitivity, and how do they develop with age?

The experiment combines the matched guise technique (Lambert et al. 1960) with an onomasiological perspective on lexical borrowing (Zenner et al. 2012). A newly created cartoon hero, Starman, is presented to our respondents in two guises: on the one hand, there is a Dutch-only guise, on the other the experiment includes a version of the cartoon with English alternatives for fifteen Dutch lexical items (e.g. koekjes/cookies or held/hero). In addition to this speaker evaluation task which allows us to measure prestige, participants were asked to complete two further tasks verifying whether they understood the English and Dutch words presented in the cartoon and whether they recognized the English loans as being English or at least as being foreign.

Our results reveal clear differentiation between the age groups: where the youngest group has no clear preference for either guise, the oldest group strongly prefers the English guise. Moreover, factor analyses indicate that an underlying structure of the children’s attitudes only emerges in the older groups. Echoing previous work (e.g. De Vogelaer & Toye 2017), these results seem to suggest that the social meaning of language variation develops gradually with age: first children acquire rather crude preferences which then slowly develop into more precise social meanings. Furthermore, our data suggests a strong link between language awareness and the prestige of loanwords: when given the opportunity to motivate their evaluations of the two guises, the children incrementally refer to language to explain their preference when getting older.



De Vogelaer G. & J. Toye. (2017). Acquiring attitudes towards varieties of Dutch: a quantitative perspective. In De Vogelaer, G. & M. Katerbow (eds.), Acquiring Sociolinguistic Variation, 117-155. Benjamins.

Lambert, W., R. Hodgson, R. Gardner & S. Fillenbaum. (1960). Evaluative reactions to spoken language. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 66: 44–51.

Matras, Y. (2009). Language Contact. Cambridge: CUP.

Zenner, E., D. Speelman & D. Geeraerts. (2012). Cognitive Sociolinguistics meets loanword research: Measuring variation in the success of anglicisms in Dutch. Cognitive Linguistics 23(4): 749-792.

Is Italian restandardizing abroad too? Evidence from language attitudes


At least since the 1980s, it has been claimed that the standard norm of Italian has undergone substantial changes. Scholars have interpreted these changes as a process of restandardization, whereby the traditional standard is converging towards spoken, regional and informal varieties, leading to the emergence of so-called neo-standard Italian (Cerruti et al. 2017). Up to now, research on neo-standard Italian is based exclusively on Italian used in Italy; very little is known about the status of contemporary Italian abroad. Remarkably absent in recent research are studies on Italian used by the large group of highly educated Italians that are moving to Northern European cities following the economic crisis in 2008 (with around 130.000 Italians leaving Italy every year). As they are living in international contact settings and in regionally mixed communities, this linguistic situation forms an exceptional laboratory for the study of ongoing processes of contact-induced variation and change (Natale & Krakenberger 2017).

As language attitudes are presumed to be the driving force of language change (Coupland & Kristiansen 2011), in this paper we investigate how attitudes towards neo-standard Italian are developing abroad, by comparing our results to attitude studies conducted in Italy. A recent study on attitudes towards regional neo-standard varieties pointed towards a change in standard language ideology whereby the Milanese regiolect is gaining more status as a reference variety. (De Pascale et al. 2017). In this study we verify to which extent the contact setting of expatriate Italians influences their attitudes towards Italian neo-standard varieties.

A speaker evaluation experiment was taken in a large group of Italians living in two Germanic cities, viz. Bern (Switzerland) and Leuven (Flanders, Belgium). To measure indirect attitudes, a speaker evaluation experiment was conducted, where we asked participants (n=100 for both cities) to rate five speech samples. One speech sample was in a variety close to a regionally unmarked standard Italian, while the remaining four samples were representative of neo-standard Italian, as it is spoken in four cities that represent the main geographical areas of Italy (Milan, Florence, Rome and Naples).

The results of this investigation have several implications. On a descriptive level, it substantiates the importance of observing linguistic developments of new expatriate communities to access ongoing process of standard language change. Theoretically, as this sample of Italians living abroad has different attitudes towards what we call neo-standard Italian, this study adds to previous findings on contact-induced language change.



Cerruti, M., C. Crocco & S. Marzo (Eds.). 2017. Towards a New Standard: Theoretical and Empirical Studies on the Restandardization of Italian. Mouton.

De Pascale, S., S. Marzo & D. Speelman. 2017. Evaluating regional variation in Italian: towards a change in standard language ideology. In Cerruti et al. 2017.

Coupland, N. & T. Kristiansen. SLICE: Critical perspectives on language (de)standardisation 11, Kristiansen & Coupland. (Eds), Standard Languages and Language Standards in a Changing Europe. Oslo: Novus Press.

Natale & Krakenberger 2017. Reti sociali e abitudini linguistiche dei 'cervelli in fuga' italiani in Svizzera. B. Moretti et al. Linguisti in contatto 2. Ricerche di linguistica italiana in Svizzera e sulla Svizzera. Bellinzona: Olsi.

Oh wow, you sound so big! A bigger data perspective on the correlation between accent evaluation and physical appearance.


In order to access implicit attitudes, speaker evaluation experiments aim to keep participants ignorant of the research goal. One way of doing this is drowning critical measures in “bogus questions” that obfuscate that goal. In a speaker evaluation investigation into regional accent variation conducted in 2009, we asked participants to estimate the height of speakers they could not see. Although intended to be a distractor question, the height measure correlated significantly with three evaluative dimensions: superiority, dynamism, and integrity.

In the sociological and psychological literature, much has been written about the impact of height and other physical appearance characteristics on social status (for an overview, see Judge & Cable, 2004; Berry, 2012; Blaker et al., 2013; Stulp et al., 2015): height has been demonstrated to positively influence impressions of social status, workplace success, and income. Conversely, successful people are perceived as taller. These findings are explained from an evolutionary viewpoint: tall people exhibit more leadership qualities, because they display interpersonal dominance and are perceived as healthier and more intelligent.

To investigate the interaction between body height, social status and language attitudes, we systematically asked participants to estimate speaker height in all subsequent experiments conducted between 2010 and 2018. We have entered all the data from these experiments in a superordinate dataset, containing over 800 participants and over 50 speakers. We applied mixed linear modeling with participants, experiment and accents as random factors and with fixed, explanatory factors related to participant characteristics (gender, region of origin, age) and accent/speaker features (regional and ethnic accent, accent strength, voice features, speaker gender).

Results show that there are systematic positive correlations between perceived height and superiority evaluations, irrespective of attitude object and the demographics of the respondent panel. Results for dynamism and integrity evaluations are somewhat more mixed, though correlations with height are also predominantly positive.

What was originally intended to be a distractor question has engendered a vein of research which links accent evaluations to an evolutionary perspective on human behavior, an angle rarely pursued in sociolinguistics. From a methodological point of view, the systematic correlation between the social stratification of accent and physical appearance provides speaker evaluation researchers with a convenient prestige proxy (height as the embodiment of social success).



Berry, B. (2012). The Power of Looks. Social Stratification of Physical Appearance. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing.

Blaker, N., Rompa, I., Dessing, I., Vriend, A., Herschberg, C., van Vugt, M. (2013). The height leadership advantage in men and women: Testing evolutionary psychology predictions about the perceptions of tall leaders. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 16(1), 17–27.

Judge, T., Cable, D. (2004). The Effect of Physical Height on Workplace Success and Income: Preliminary Test of a Theoretical Model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(3), 428—441.

Stulp, G., Buunk, A., Verhulst, S., Pollet, T. (2015). Human Height Is Positively Related to Interpersonal Dominance in Dyadic Interactions. PLoS ONE 10(2): e0117860.

Language attitudes in center and periphery: Investigating the varying influence of urban centers on rural areas


Verbal guises studies have shown how processes of language change are taking place in the direction of the ways of speaking which are evaluated positively in such experiments (e.g. Kristiansen 2009; Grondelaers and Kristiansen 2013). In this paper, we compare the results of verbal guise experiments from peripheral sites and urban centers in two Danish dialect areas. The comparison not only sheds light on language attitudes in the two areas; by comparing the results to recent and ongoing studies of language use, we can also compare processes of dialect levelling.

A recent study from the Danish periphery showed quite different patterns between language use and language attitudes among youth from Hirtshals in Northern Jutland and Bylderup in Southern Jutland (Maegaard, Monka, Mortensen & Stæhr fc.). With regard to language use, the young people in Northern Jutland used some regional variants but no traditional local dialect in their unmarked everyday language, whereas some of the young people in Southern Jutland used traditional local dialect unmarked (Maegaard & Monka fc.; Monka fc.). The results of language attitude experiments in the two peripheral sites also differed considerably. A verbal guise experiment featuring 12 guises (two boys and two girls representing local, regional and Copenhagen, respectively) showed that in Northern Jutland, young listeners were inconsistent in locating the Northern Jutlandic voices correctly within the region, and the linguistic differences across the 12 guises only had limited influence on the perceptions. A similar matched guise experiment in Southern Jutland showed that the young people in this area recognize the dialect guises as local, and they ascribe the local speakers in their standard guises to the city of Aabenraa. In a Danish context, the most remarkable result is that the Southern Jutlandic youngsters overall judge the Copenhagen guises more negatively than the local dialect guises (Maegaard & Quist fc).

In this paper, we compare the above results to results of language attitudes experiments from the regional centers in Northern and Southern Jutland, Aalborg and Aabenraa. By using the same design as in the above mentioned studies, we are able to point to differences between the two regions, considering the normative orientation towards standard speech. The results from Aalborg are hardly distinguishable from those from Hirtshals. In Aabenraa, however, the attitudes of the young listeners differ greatly from those in Bylderup; they downgrade the local dialect and upgrade the Copenhagen guises. These findings are seen as a reflection of both the local histories of the two areas, and the different aspects of peripherality prominent in rural Northern Jutland and rural Southern Jutland, leading to different value systems in Hirtshals and Bylderup. The results are interpreted within the frame of sociolinguistic change (Andoutsopoulos 2016, Coupland 2014, 2016, Maegaard et al fc., Mortensen fc.), which offers a perspective on language change as an integrated part of social change.

10:15-12:20 Session 6B: Computational Sociolinguistics
Location: London
Big data for a small language: Mapping variation in Welsh on social media

Widespread use of social-media platforms like Twitter generates unprecedented quantities of data on real-time language use, which in principle allow us to examine the propagation of variants across the population in finer detail than is possible using traditional variationist and dialectological methods. However, data quality rapidly becomes the limiting factor; how do we acquire enough metadata to connect an individual user’s ‘production’ with their sociolinguistic position? We demonstrate in this paper, focusing on geographic information, that this is practical, even for a ‘small’ language such as Welsh, and that patterns of variation obtained via traditional methods are adequately replicable; but that this requires new methods of localization.

Previous geospatial social-media studies, based on major world languages such as American English and worldwide Spanish, use the automated geolocation tags provided with raw Twitter data. Twitter’s geographic metadata are only provided when a user explicitly opts in (<2% of global posts); this restriction is sufficient to exclude all but the most frequent (often lexical) variables from analysis and is particularly problematic for small or minority languages. Use of geolocation restricts the pool of speakers used and makes unrealistic assumptions about their geographical affinities, leading to poorer predictions of the distribution of variables.

Our results employ a corpus of tweets collected since October 2017, representing all posts whose language was auto-detected by Twitter as Welsh (filtered to exclude false positives); a corpus of 12m words in 730,104 tweets from 24,325 unique individuals. An initial sub-corpus, intended to reproduce the methodology of previous Twitter-based work, takes only points for which geocoding was present: this consists of 47k tweets (6.3%). A second sub-corpus trials an improved automated localization method: user-provided ‘bio’ and ‘location’ fields were searched for strings corresponding to known Welsh place names, and cross-correlated with other available non-linguistic information; users were then assigned ‘best-guess’ place names and corresponding coordinates. We applied this method, first to the same 47k tweets and then to the entire 730k-tweet corpus. In this last case, ‘best-guess’ locations could be successfully assigned to 569k tweets (79%). This two-step procedure allows us to separate out changes in performance due to the difference in localization method from those due to the vastly increased size of corpus that the method permits.

We compare the performance of these datasets over a set of morphosyntactic variables in Welsh for which spatial distributions have previously been derived by traditional dialectological methods — the Welsh Dialect Survey, and the more recent Syntactic Atlas of Welsh Dialects. Three variables are considered: the innovation in north Wales of the second-person pronominal form chdi in place of conservative ti; deletion of present-tense auxiliary ‘be’ (cf. English Are you going now?); and the form of the embedded focus particle mai/na/taw): In each case, the keyword-localized dataset’s predictions are both quantitatively and qualitatively more like the predictions of traditional data. Clear regional patterns of variation can be mapped in the keyword-localized data, but are frequently obscured if only pre-existing geocoding information is considered.

Digital regiolects: Tracing regional variation of German in social media communication


The analysis of regional variation in German is currently characterized by a peculiar situation: While the importance of social media for everyday communication constantly increases, most variational linguistic studies still build on traditional approaches that focus the analysis of a limited set of predefined variables in spoken language corpora. In most cases, such data are collected experimentally (dialect translation, discussion among friends, interview) and analyzed using established methodology (variable analysis, perception experiments, discourse analysis). At the same time, computational linguistics promotes the quantitative analysis of large-scale corpora of written language as well as the development of powerful processing algorithms, but hardly ever includes linguistic knowledge about the social conditionality of language variation systematically in data modeling.

Starting from this, we discuss an integrated joint approach to the study of language variation and change that combines the strengths of both sociolinguistic and computational approaches (interpretation-driven and data-driven) to contribute to the emerging field of "computational sociolinguistics" (Nguyen et al., 2016).

Our study analyzes a corpus of more than 3 million anonymous discussions collected from the social media app "Jodel" in the entire German speaking area (Author 2/Author 1, 2018). Data processing uses methods from computational linguistics (neural networks, representation learning, agglomerative clustering) without assuming a specific linguistic structure regarding the regional variation or the socio-pragmatic organization of conversations in the data set. Nonetheless, the analysis reveals clear-cut regional clusters of language use that can be interpreted against the background of linguistic and socio-cultural spatial structures (dialect division, socioeconomic mobility, sociocultural orientation, attitudes).

The analysis of the emerging spatial structures shows that (even anonymous) social media communication of young adults in the German-speaking area is characterized by "digital regiolects" which are a) regionally distinct, b) structured by the use of specific linguistic resources, and c) closely linked to the overall socio-cultural structure of the German speaking area, e.g., regarding regional languages or socio-economic exchange.

The typical language use of different regional user groups mirrors region-specific linguistic style profiles. These profiles provide information about the linguistic resources that dominate language practice in the respective community. Beyond that, they shed light on different aspects of language dynamics in social media communication, e.g., regarding the spread of, attitude towards, and establishment of new regional or community-specific variants.



Author 2/Author 1 (2018). Capturing Regional Variation with Distributed Place Representations and Geographic Retrofitting. Proceedings of EMNLP 2018. Brussels, 4383–4394.

Nguyen, Dong, Seza Doğruöz, Carolyn Rosé & Franciska de Jong (2016). Computational sociolinguistics: A survey. Computational Linguistics, 42(3), 537–593.

Smartphone Sociolinguistics in Minority Language Areas: ‘Stimmen’


This paper presents a tool for citizen science and sociolinguistic research: the application ‘Stimmen’ (Voices in Frisian). Citizen science is an umbrella term for projects in which the public partakes as data collectors, data processors, analysts, educators or formulators of research questions (cf. Bonney et al. 2016). While sociolinguists have made use of citizen science for a long time, recent technological developments, such as smartphones, have made it easier than ever to involve the public in our research.

‘Stimmen’ is inspired by language documentation efforts that rely on the public as collectors of speech recordings and translations, but with the inclusion of gamified components.  To give users an incentive to use the app it contains a perceptual dialectology task that guesses where the user is from (within the Netherlands). Additionally, a picture naming task is available, designed specifically to collect speech data from lesser-used and oral languages. The picture-naming task consists of 88 different pictures (without text) that must be named by the user (in the language of their choice).

‘Stimmen’ was launched in late 2017.  More than 15,000 users have provided data so far, and more than 46,000 speech recordings have been made. This paper presents results from the perceptual dialectology task as well as the picture naming task. The discussion focusses on the Frisian data, and some changes within the minority language in the Netherlands. Two main findings are discussed: the fact that stereotypical regional features in Frisian have stable isoglosses; and that, in our data, language loss and regional dialect levelling cannot be sufficiently teased apart. The latter finding indicates that crowd-sourced data, e.g. from citizen science projects, must be enriched with additional qualitative methods, emphasising the importance of triangulation for investigations language change. I end with some comments about the value and future outlook of citizen science for studies of language variation and change.



Leemann, A., Kolly, M. J., Purves, R., Britain, D., & Glaser, E. (2016). Crowdsourcing language change with smartphone applications. PloS one, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0143060

Using Social Media to Uncover the Social Meaning of Variation


In recent years, the emergence of ‘Computational Sociolinguistics’ (CS: Nguyen et al., 2016) has signalled the increasing prevalence of social media data in the variationist paradigm. These analyses have, almost exclusively, focussed on orthography, examining orthographic variation as a proxy for spoken language (e.g., Jones, 2015).

However, whilst research in CS is promising, in this paper I argue that the focus on orthography in explaining spoken sociolinguistic patterns, is restricted. I suggest instead that a refocussing of efforts is needed in order to integrate social media data into contemporary sociolinguistic theory. Specifically, I argue that the value of social media is in its multimodal potential (e.g., memes, videos) to explain the social meaning of spoken variation.

Drawing on a year-long sociolinguistic ethnography in an East-London youth group, I draw on data from interviews, self-recordings and social media accounts from 25 adolescents to offer a ‘blended’ (Androutsopoulos, 2008) perspective of linguistic variation, that considers the interrelationship between offline and online sociolinguistic identities. Specifically, this paper focusses on TH-stopping (/θ/ à [t]) and the use of the pronoun ‘man’ to examine the sociolinguistic distribution of these features among the sample of speakers, linking the use of these features to a micro-level identity: The Gully – boys who orient towards a more ‘urban’ centric lifestyle. By using social media data collected from Facebook and Snapchat, I then go on to link these local, micro-level stances to their broader, macro-level realities.

In making these arguments, I therefore suggest a reconfiguration of social media data in variationist sociolinguistics which simultaneously avoids the shortcomings of CS and first-wave Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) research (see Georgakopoulou, 2006). Specifically, I suggest that social media data can be used to examine the social meaning of variation, by connecting situated identities with those that operate within the larger speech community – a perspective which is more in line with contemporary third-wave theory (cf. Eckert, 2012).



Androutsopoulos, Jannis. 2008. Potentials and limitations of discourse-centred online ethnography. Language@Internet, 5:1-20.

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.

Georgakopoulou, Alexandra. 2006. Postscript: Computer-mediated communication in sociolinguistics. Journal of Sociolinguistics. 10: 548–557.

Jones, Taylor. 2015. Toward a description of African American Vernacular English dialect regions using “Black Twitter”. American Speech. 90: 403-440.

Nguyen, Dong; A. Seza Doğruöz; Carolyn P Rosé and Franicska de Jong. 2016. Computational Sociolinguistics: A Survey. Computational Linguistics. 42: 537-593.

On the perception of Hate Speech in Germany and Denmark


The issue of hate speech currently receives a significant amount of attention - in recent studies, the majority of respondents stated that they encountered hate speech at least once on social media platforms (cf. Landesanstalt für Medien NRW 2018). In a 2018 study in Germany, 44 % of the younger generation (14- to 24-year-olds) even experienced “frequently” Hate Speech. However, the question is what respondents consider to be hate speech.

Hate speech could be defined as any communication that attacks a person or a group “on the grounds of ‘race’, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, language, religion or belief, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and other personal characteristics or status” (Council of Europe 2016). Still there is no clear legal definition of what constitutes hate speech. 

Our corpus, consisting of data from Facebook and Twitter (since November 2017), shows that in Germany and Denmark muslims are a regular target of hate speech (see also Zuleta / Burkal 2017). In many tweets or posts they are defamed, e.g. by the use of slurs (like germ. Kanake / dan. perker ‘dago’), dehumanising metaphors (like Kanalratte (‘sewer rat’), svin (‘pig’)) or stereotypes (like Sozialschmarotzer (‘welfare scrounger’), kriminel (‘criminals’)). The first part of the talk provides a brief overview of how hate speech manifests itself to muslims on a linguistic level and how Germans and Danes differ in their statements here.

The focus of the talk is on how ordinary internet users define Hate Speech, how they classify different examples. Furthermore, it will answer the following questions: How would they react to hateful comments? What are their attitudes towards them? Are there differences in valuation in terms of gender, origin or social background? For this purpose, 20 people per language (German and Danish) selected from different groups were questioned as part of narrative interviews.



Council of Europe.2016. General Policy Recommendation No. 15 on Combating Hate Speech. >https://rm.coe.int/ecri-general-policy-recommendation-no-15-on-combating-hate-speech/16808b5b01< (12.10.2018).

Landesanstalt für Medien. 2018. Ergebnisbericht Hassrede. >https://www.heise.de/downloads/18/2/4/5/6/6/0/8/forsaHate_Speech_2018_Ergebnisbericht_LFM_NRW.pdf< (12.10.2018).

Zuleta, L. / Burkal, R. 2017. Hadefulde Ytringer i den Offentlige Online Debat. Copenhagen: Institut for Menneskerettigheder.

10:15-12:20 Session 6C: Syntactic Variation
Location: Madrid
Variation within South Schleswig Danish: a dialectological approach to a contact variety


South Schleswig, the most Northern part of Germany in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, has continuously been shaped by multilingualism. Besides Standard German, the North German variety, Low German and Frisian, Danish is also spoken, including Standard Danish (and, until a few decades ago South Jutish dialects) as well as a contact variety, South Schleswig Danish (SSD), which is used among members of the Danish minority in South Schleswig. Characterized by the multilingualism of all speakers (who mostly have German as L1 and Danish as an early L2), the SSD linguistic system reflects the complex situation of long-term language contact.

Characteristic SSD structures have been described mainly in terms of divergences from Standard Danish in previous research, which is primarily based on anecdotal language material (i.a. Christophersen 1985, Pedersen 2000) or on data on the bilingual language use of adolescents (Kühl 2008). An empirically based analysis of specific features in adult language use has not been carried out yet, although it has been called for since the beginning of research on SSD (Braunmüller 1996, Kühl 2015).

My project aims to capture the actual linguistic system of SSD in its heterogeneity, particularly morphological and syntactic features, on the basis of a mixed-methods dialectological approach. In order to get suitable information on the morphosyntactic system of SSD as a whole, the project is subdivided into three partial studies: (1) questionnaire study, (2) interview study and (3) corpus analysis of written language.

This paper focuses on indirectly elicited data from the first study: Based on a catalog of 29 morphosyntactic features, questionnaire data from 151 male/female adult informants (i.e. ca. one percent of the minority) of all professions provides insights into the range of SSD structures in actual language usage as well as their geographical distribution. The paper discusses how SSD can be described in terms of Auer’s model of a diaglossic repertoire (2011: 491) and how the structural distance between Standard Danish and SSD differs across South Schleswig. A first insight into the data suggests that the North-South distribution and the center-periphery dimension certainly do affect the usage of SSD.



Auer, P. (2011): Dialect vs. Standard: a typology of scenarios in Europe. In Kortmann, B. & J. v. der Auwera (ed.): The Languages and Linguistics of Europe. A Comprehensive Guide: 485–500. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Braunmüller, K. (1996): Sydslesvigdansk – et regionalsprog?. In Institut for dansk Dialektforskning (ed.): Talesprogsvariation og sprogkontakt. Til Inger Ejskær på halvfjerdsårsdagen den 20. maj 1996: 33–44. Kopenhagen: Reitzel.

Christophersen, H. (1985) Det danske sprog i Sydslesvig. Birkerød: Rostras Forlag.

Kühl, K.H. (2008): Bilingualer Sprachgebrauch bei Jugendlichen im deutsch-dänischen Grenzland. Hamburg: Kovač.

Kühl, K.H. (2015): South Schleswig Danish. Caught between privileges and disregard. In Muhr R. et al. (ed.): Pluricentric languages: New Perspectives in Theory and Description: 243–256. Wien: Peter Lang.

Pedersen, K.M. (2000): Dansk sprog i Sydslesvig. Det danske sprogs status inden for det danske mindretal i Sydslesvig. Aabenraa: Institut for grænseregionsforskning.

Widening the envelope of variation: Stative HAVE (GOT), negation and contraction


This paper concerns variation between the stative possessive markers HAVE and HAVE GOT, e.g. I have (got) a car. Previous variationist analyses of this alternation have focused predominantly on affirmative contexts rather than negative ones, often because the dialects studied exhibit little variability under negation – e.g., in Canadian English, negated stative possession is nearly always expressed with HAVE plus DO-support (Tagliamonte et al. 2010; D’Arcy 2015). However, British English is more variable: HAVE GOT is used more often and HAVE can function either as a lexical verb – resisting contraction and taking DO-support – or as an auxiliary that allows contraction and negative-marking on the verb (Denison 1998). The present investigation focuses on HAVE (GOT) in negative contexts, using a 2.5-million-word sample of conversational speech from the British National Corpus 2014 (Love et al. 2017). I analyse the interaction between three domains of variability that traditionally have been considered separate variables/constraints – stative possessive, negation and contraction – as together, they limit the possibilities in the grammar:  

Predicate type                  Sentence                         DO-support           Auxilary-/Not-contraction         



With any predicate        I don’t have any money              Yes                                     n/a

                                      I’ve not any money                   No                                   Aux-c

                                     I haven’t any money                  No                                   Neg-c

Negative indefinites       I have no money                        No                                      No

                                         I’ve no money                       No                                    Aux-c

HAVE GOT             

 With any predicate    I’ve not got any money                  No                                    Aux-c

                                  I haven’t got any money               No                                    Neg-c

 Negative indefinites    I have got no money                    No                                       No

                                      I’ve got no money                    No                                     Aux-c

Instances of stative HAVE (GOT) with these types of negation were extracted from the corpus, yielding 1,000+ tokens for quantitative variationist analysis. The results show that HAVE tends to be negated with DO-support and rarely undergoes contraction itself, thus exhibiting syntactic behaviour of a lexical verb, whereas HAVE GOT is nearly always contracted. These findings allow two independent observations of subject-type constraints on contraction (McElhinny 1993) and stative possession variation (Tagliamonte et al. 2010) to be reconciled. I demonstrate that the preference for HAVE > HAVE GOT with NP subjects arises because this is the context in which contraction is phonotactically most restricted. Overall, the findings show how insights gained from separate analyses of single linguistic variables can be explained as part of a larger system within the grammar. 



D’Arcy, A. (2015) At the crossroads of change: Possession, periphrasis, and prescriptivism in Victoria English. In Collins, P. (ed.) Grammatical Change in English World-Wide: 43-63. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Denison, D. (1998) Syntax. In Romaine, S. (ed.): The Cambridge History of the English Language, Vol. 4: 1776-1997: 92-329. Cambridge: CUP.

Love, R., C. Dembry, A. Hardie, V. Brezina and T. McEnery (2017) The Spoken BNC2014: Designing and building a spoken corpus of everyday conversations. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 22: 319-344.

McElhinny, B. (1993) Copula and auxiliary contraction in the speech of White Americans. American Speech 68: 371-399.

Tagliamonte, S., A. D’Arcy and B. Jankowski (2010) Social work and linguistic systems: Marking possession in Canadian English. Language Variation and Change 22: 149-173.

“Just google up the answer”: Patterns of variation in particle placement in Ontario, Canada


This study explores the effects of linguistic, social and demographic factors on word order variation in particle placement in Ontario, Canada (cf. 1-2) drawing comparisons to recent work on World Englishes.

  1. split order
    I used to pick[verb] people[direct object] up[particle].
  2. joined order
    I went to the store to pick[verb] up[particle] something[direct object].

In contrast to other syntactic phenomena, the alternation between split and joined order has only recently been studied from a quantitative, variationist perspective. This research has documented numerous internal factors, e.g. length of direct object or semantics of the verb phrase, conditioning the choice of variant. Additionally, cross-variety studies of different national Englishes (e.g. India, Singapore, England, USA, etc.) have found a significant contrast between L1 and L2 varieties of English (e.g. Szmrecsanyi et al. 2016).

The current study expands on these findings by probing these factors on particle placement in Ontario, Canada, but adding in the social and geographic dimension. The data come from a corpus of vernacular conversational interactions from six communities in Ontario ranging from urban to rural locales.  Restricting the variable context to nominal direct objects only (since pronominal objects almost categorically occur with split order), we extracted 6,047 variable tokens of particle placement and coded them for length of the direct object, as well as community type, education, sex, age, and occupation. The data were then analyzed using mixed-effects modeling (Pinheiro & Bates 2000) and conditional inference trees (Hothorn et al. 2004) in order to assess the significance of predictors and the internal structure of the variation.

Our results corroborate previous findings in that variation in particle placement is predominantly determined by the length of the direct object. We discovered no regional effect across Ontario communities, consistent with the well-known homogeneity of Canadian English (Chambers 2012). However, our findings also unexpectedly expose a significant effect of age: younger speakers are more likely to use the joined variant than older speakers. Further analysis confirms that this apparent time effect is consistent across speech communities and lexical items, but does not have any social or cognitive correlates. We suggest that younger speakers’ preference for the joined variant may be a bona fide change in progress, possibly due to ongoing grammaticalization of particles, e.g. up, as they develop an aspectualizing effect on the English verb phrase (cf. Brinton 1996:163ff.).



Brinton, L. J. (1996) Pragmatic Markers in English: Grammaticalization and Discourse Functions. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Chambers, J. K. (2012): Homogeneity as a sociolinguistic motive in Canadian English. World Englishes 31(4): 467–477.

Hothorn, T. et al. (2004): Unbiased Recursive Partitioning: A Conditional Inference Framework. Research Report Series Report 8(July).

Pinheiro, J. C. & D. M. Bates (2000) Mixed-effects models in S and S-PLUS. New York: Springer.

Szmrecsanyi, B. et al. (2016): Around the world in three alternations: Modeling syntactic variation in varieties of English. English World-Wide 37(2): 109-137.

Case in Upper German dialects: Evicence from a corpus-based analysis


German dialects are generally regarded as being comparatively well-researched. Morphological phenomena however are just starting to move into the focus of German dialectology. Especially case marking has been discovered as a rewarding research subject only in recent years in studies such as e.g. Alber & Rabanus 2011, Dal Negro 2004, Baechler 2017 and Perrig 2018. These analyses still cover but parts of the case marking system, i.e. concentrate on single word classes (Alber & Rabanus 2011, Dal Negro 2004, Baechler 2017) or selected cases only (e.g. Perrig 2018).

In my study I investigate case in an exemplarily selected geographical area including several Upper German dialects. For this area, I analyse the complete case marking system which involves at least three cases (nominative, accusative and dative) manifest in several word classes (pronouns, adjectives and articles). The study aims at identifying hierarchical structures within the case marking system with respect to different word classes, case, gender and number: It identifies basic units – those parts of the system showing a high amount of distinct forms – and delimits them from peripheral case markers (showing only a low amount of distinction).

The study is based on a corpus of spoken language. In this corpus, each potentially case marking word form, such as definite and indefinite articles, pronouns and adjectives, has been analysed regarding its case marking patterns as well as diverse morpho-syntactic variables (e.g. gender, number, person). Thus, I am able to gain frequency-based findings on both basic regularities in the system and special phenomena differing between subsystems and to collect data which allows for statistical analyses of patterns within the case marking system.

The talk presents general structures of the Upper German system and discusses both benefits and disadvantages of using a corpus- & frequency-based approach to analyse these structures. It will introduce findings on general tendencies in the conditioning of distinct vs. syncretic case marking. The data will be cross-checked with typological findings (e.g. Aikhenvald & Dixon 1998, Blake 2001) in order to classify Upper German case marking from a cross-linguistic perspective.



Aikhenvald A. & R.M.W. Dixon (1998) Dependencies between grammatical systems. Language 74: 56–80.

Alber B. & S. Rabanus (2011) Kasussynkretismus und Belebtheit in germanischen Pronominalparadigmen. In Glaser E., Schmidt J.E. & N. Frey (eds.): Dynamik des Dialekts – Wandel und Variation: 2–46. Stuttgart: Steiner.

Baechler, R. (2017) Absolute Komplexität in der Nominalflexion: Althochdeutsch, Mittelhochdeutsch, Alemannisch und deutsche Standardsprache. Berlin: Language Science Press.

Blake, B. J. (2001) Case: Second Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dal Negro, S. (2004) Artikelmorphologie: Walserdeutsch im Vergleich zu anderen alemannischen Dialekten. In Glaser E. & N. Frey (eds.): Alemannisch im Sprachvergleich: Beiträge zur 14. Arbeitstagung für Alemannische Dialektologie. 101–111. Stuttgart: Steiner.

Perrig, G. (2018) Kasussynkretismus im Alemannischen: Zum Zusammenfall von Nominativ und Akkusativ in der Schweiz und in den angrenzenden Dialektregionen. Stuttgart: Steiner.

Variation in the R-word ER in quantitative constructions in regional Dutch


In standard Dutch, indefinite (but not definite) noun phrases containing a cardinal numeral such as twee ‘two’ or a weak quantifier may co-occur with so-called quantitative er (…) (cf. Broekhuis Syntax of Dutch 2013: 370). An example of a standard Dutch quantitative er construction is presented in (1):


        (1) Jan   heeft       er       [NP  twee [e ]]      gekocht. [quantitative er ]

             Jan     has    there               one              bought

             ‘Jan has bought one [e.g., book].’

             (Broekhuis Syntax of Dutch 2013: 296)


However, in contrast to standard Dutch, quantitative er is optional in a regional variety, namely Heerlen Dutch, as illustrated in (2). In (2) er is left out:

Jansen (tape 3):

       (2) daar      staan   nou    altijd    twee ----van  te     koop   he

             there    stand   now   aways  two         of   for      sale   eh

             ‘two of them are for sale there’


Whereas er is inserted in (3), where standard Dutch doesn’t allow it, namely in those constructions where the empty noun refers to years and kilos in (3a) and (3b), respectively. The constructions in (3) are ungrammatical in standard Dutch:


   (3) a. Ik     ben          er              [NP     45 [e ]]

             I       am          there                    45

             ‘I        am 45  [e.g., years].’

         b. Ik              weeg er              [NP  70 [e ]]

             I               weigh there                 70

             ‘I weigh 70 [e.g., kilos].’


In the presentation, we focus on the use of optional quantitative er combined with cardinal numbers and quantifiers such as ‘some’ (enkele) in spontaneous speech of 67 speakers (33,5 hours of recording). The speakers were selected randomly by the city council and they all agreed to participate. Three speaker variables were taken into account in order to investigate the social distribution: language background, education/occupation and age. The data were collected by means of the so-called sociolinguistic interview.

83 tokens of optional ER were detected with ‘one’. In this talk, we will discuss why the optionality of er reveals no social variation and discuss linguistic internal factors which may account for the optionality of quantitative er in this regional variety, in particular, grammatical gender and number distinctions.

10:15-12:20 Session 6D: Panel Phonemic Splits
Location: Moscow
Perspectives in phonemic splits in English


This panel examines issues related to phonemic splits such as learnability, geographical diffusion and social stratification and is therefore highly relevant to the theme of the conference as we are focusing on a linguistic process which leads to variation and change. Based on spoken data from different varieties of English, the nine papers in this panel explore this language change process from various angles.

A phonemic split is the process in which one phoneme develops a new contrast, i.e. two phonemes arise. Splits (and also the reversibility of mergers) are highly relevant for our understanding of language variation and change processes as learning a new contrast is a fairly complex process and Labov (1994: 310) states that “much attention has been paid to the mechanism of splits, but almost none to their consequences for the diffusion of change or to their cognitive consequences for language learners […] we will have to pay attention to the learnability of distinctions and the spread of such learning.” Therefore, the aim of this panel is to shed some light on these aspects.

The majority of talks in this panel focus on two dialect boundaries which run through the Midlands of England and which distinguish split from unsplit areas: the foot-strut and the bath-trap isogloss. Both are showcases for investigating splits as phonological change. Studies from the transition areas around these isoglosses (cf. Upton 1995) in which speakers come into contact with both phonological systems provide new information about the learnability of splits within communities which has been neglected mostly.

The key questions which will be discussed in this panel are (1) How do splits develop? (2) How are splits evaluated by speakers? and (3) What can splits tell us about phonology? Each presentation deals with at least one of these questions, applying different methods: On the one hand, traditional data collection including sociolinguistic interviews, reading passages and minimal pair lists are used. On the other hand, experimental, perceptual and crowdsourcing data are used to investigate the nature of splits, their learnability and social stratification.

The main aim of this panel is to bring together researchers working on phonemic splits from a number of different linguistic perspectives (e.g. phonetics and phonology, (perceptual) dialectology, variationist sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics) to deepen our scholarly understanding of splits as phonological process.

The panel includes nine presentations (25 minutes presentation + 5 minutes of discussion) in addition to an introductory presentation on phonemic splits and an open discussion session after the nine talks to discuss the key questions among the presenters but also to include comments from the audience.



Labov, W. (1994). Principles of linguistic change. Internal factors. Oxford: Blackwell.

Upton, C. (1995). Mixing and fudging in Midland and Southern dialects of England: the cup and foot vowels. In Lewis, J. W. (ed.) Studies in General and English Phonetics: 385-394. London: Routledge.

The FOOT-STRUT Split outside England


Among the primary distinguishing features of Northern and Southern English in England is the lack of a split in the FOOT and STRUT lexical sets (Wells 1982: 196-198) in the North of England (Hickey 2015: 10-12). The split goes back to an early modern development in which an increasingly lowered pronunciation of the /u/ of the STRUT set became common in the South of England. This change did not go to completion and some phonetically recalcitrant examples have retained the high rounded back vowel to this day, e.g. push, pull, bush, bull. These are normally explained as having a phonetic environment favouring rounding (a labial in the syllable onset and a SH or velarised L in the coda). Because of the dating - the mid-seventeenth century (Dobson 1968: 688-689) – it is safe to assume that for many varieties of English which arose before that time, there was no FOOT-STRUT split. This applies to early overseas settlements such as the east of North America and Caribbean islands such as Barbados and St. Kitts (Hickey ed., 2004) but also to regions of the British Isles such as Ireland and Scotland. Among all these locations there is only one in which the FOOT-STRUT split is not in evidence today, that is Dublin where the local form of English has no split (Hickey 2005: 35-37). However, it is present in the supraregional variety of Dublin, and by extension Irish, English (Hickey 2013). So all varieties outside the North of England and local Dublin have adopted the southern STRUT pronunciation at some stage. This fact is sociolinguistically interesting especially considering the not inconsiderable emigration of speakers from the North of England to overseas anglophone locations such as Natal in South Africa and Australia/New Zealand. A likely reason for this is the social opprobrium associated with a high back realisation of the non-lexicalised vowels in the STRUT set, e.g. in words lie cup, but, love, done, this leading to its avoidance by later generations of Northern heritage speakers overseas. In the present paper this sociolinguistic interpretation for the avoidance of non-split vowel realisations will be pursued with both historical (Beal 2012; Hickey 2009) and  contempoary (Hickey 2004) data being considered.




Beal, Joan C. 2012. ‘“By those provincials mispronounced”: the STRUT vowel in eighteenth-century pronouncing dictionaries’, Language and History 55.1: 5–17.

Dobson, Eric J. 1968. English Pronunciation 1500-1700. Second edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Hickey, Raymond 2004. A Sound Atlas of Irish English. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter

Hickey, Raymond (ed.) 2004. Legacies of Colonial English. Studies in Transported Dialects. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hickey, Raymond 2005. Dublin English. Evolution and Change. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Hickey, Raymond 2009. ‘Telling people how to speak. Rhetorical grammars and pronouncing dictionaries’, in: Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade and Wim van der Wurff (eds) Current Issues in Late Modern English. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, pp. 89-116.

Hickey, Raymond 2013. ‘Supraregionalisation and dissociation’, in:  J. K. Chambers and Natalie Schilling (eds) Handbook of Language Variation and Change. Second edition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 537-554.

Hickey, Raymond 2015. ‘The North of England and Northern English’, in: Raymond Hickey (eds) Researching Northern English. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 1-24.

Wells, John C. 1982. Accents of English. 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The FOOT-STRUT split in the East Midlands


This paper is a real-time investigation of the phonetic realisation and phonemic status of the foot-strut vowel(s) in the East Midlands. This area is seen as a transition zone between the north and south (see Braber 2015a, 2015b) and the strut vowel can be realised variably in this region. The dialect app data by Leemann et al. (this panel) suggest that in the Midlands area where the lack of the foot-strut split is still robust in the middle of the 20th century, the split seems to make its way inroads. Some work has been carried out by Upton (1995; 2012) examining mixed and fudged varieties in the Midlands area and Hughes et al. (2005: 60) state that intermediate forms can be found in the south Midlands. However, the sources do not provide any detail about possible diffusion patterns in the East Midlands, i.e. in the counties of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The following questions are addressed in the talk:

  1. What is the status of the foot-strut split in the three counties?
  2. Do we see a geographical diffusion pattern northwards as Leemann et al. claim?
  3. What are speakers’ perception of this variation?

The presentation draws on a number of sources: On the one hand, reading passage and minimal pair list data were recorded in 2018 with 60 people from two age groups who had lived in either one of the three counties for most of their lives. The sound files were subjected to forced alignment of segments and acoustic measurement were extracted using FAVE scripts (Rosenfelder et al. 2014). Mixed-effects models were used to investigate the apparent time change. In addition, the SED data for the three counties are examined as well as the data from the Millennium Memory Bank, from the BBC Voices project and from oral history recordings conducted as part of a British Academy funded project in 2012. The data provides a real-time perspective on the status of the strut vowel in relation to the foot vowel in the East Midlands. While Leemann et al. show that a change is in progress in the Midlands for foot/strut, the data presented here provides a much more robust picture of the stability of the isogloss and therefore the limited geographical diffusion of this change.



Braber, N. (2015a). Language perception in the East Midlands. English Today 31(1): 16-26.

Braber, N. (2015b). Nottinghamshire Dialect. Sheffield: Bradwell Books.

Rosenfelder, I, J.Fruehwald, K. Evanini, S. Seyfarth, K. Gorman, H. Prichard, & J. Yuan. (2014). FAVE 1.1.3. ZENODO. doi:10.5281/zenodo.9846

Upton, C. (1995). Mixing and fudging in Midland and Southern dialects of England: the cup and foot vowels. In Lewis, J. W. (ed.) Studies in General and English Phonetics: 385-394. London: Routledge.

Upton, C. (2012). The importance of being Janus. Midland speakers and the ‘North-South Divide’. In Markus, M., Iyeiri,Y, Heuberger, R. and Chamson, E. (eds.) Middle and Modern English Corpus Linguistics: 257-268. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.




Wells (1982: 352) remarks that ‘in the West Midlands conurbation…it is probably true to say that all speakers do to some extent have a STRUT vs. FOOT opposition, but that it is variably neutralized and sometimes of uncertain incidence.’ Thorne (2003:99) reporting on the city of Birmingham and a White working class sample, reports that ‘/ʌ/ is virtually non-existent in Birmingham speech.’ His speakers produced FOOT and STRUT as homophonous, he reports. In the neighbouring Black Country, Asprey (2007) reports a FOOT / STRUT split which operates for some speakers, whilst others appear to have a full merger. STRUT tokens there range from [ʊ ~  ɤ ~ ʌ ~ ɒ]. Khan’s 2008 study of Birmingham moots the possible influences of Caribbean [ɔ] and Indian English [ʌ ] in the STRUT set but does not look more closely at these lexical sets. A comprehensive acoustic account is thus long overdue, particularly since the FOOT STRUT split is regularly invoked as a North/South shibboleth.

This paper examines the processes which lead to a phonemic split, since as Kiparsky argues, even from a generative perspective a social input is needed to explain why some splits do not complete:

new phonemes do not arise by spontaneous fission; they arise when allophonic processes become opaque by an overlay of new sound changes (and of course through borrowing, diglossia, and dialect mixture) (2016, 2).

Unlike the situation further north (see e.g. Manchester (Baranowski and Turton: 2017)), Birmingham speakers are more likely to produce what Chambers and Trudgill term a ‘fudge’ vowel [ɤ] in the STRUT set since this set is apparently more advanced in the process of shifting towards [ʌ]. The city itself is further south and below the isogloss identified in Wells (1982:351) as running from “the Severn estuary in the West to the Wash in the East”.

We present word list and reading passage results from 16 females and 16 males between the ages of 18-26. Participants must have lived in the city of Birmingham all their lives. The sample uses parents’ occupation for class and participants self declared ethnicity. We seek to clarify the lexical incidence and social correlates of the incipient FOOT/STRUT split within Birmingham.



Asprey, E., 2007. Black Country English and Black Country Identity. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Leeds.

Baranowski, M.and & D. Turton. 2017. The FOOT-STRUT vowels in Manchester: synchronic evidence for the historical trajectory of the split? Paper presented at the third Edinburgh Symposium in Historical Phonology, 30th November - 1st December 2017, University of Edinburgh.

Khan, A., 2006. A sociolinguistic study of Birmingham English : language variation and change in a multi-ethnic British community. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Lancaster.

Kiparsky, P. 2016. Labov, sound change, and phonological theory. Journal of Sociolinguistics 20:4, 464-488.

Thorne, S., 2003. Birmingham English: a sociolinguistic study. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Birmingham.

Wells, J. 1982. Accents of English Volume 2: The British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

To split or not to split? Evidence from Northern British English speakers’ production and perception of the FOOT-STRUT contrast


Northern British English (NBE) accents differ from Southern British English (SBE) accents in terms of their vowel inventory; words like took and tuck are produced as /tʊk/ and /tʌk/ respectively, in southern varieties, but as /tʊk/ in northern varieties (Evans & Iverson, 2007). This study uses behavioural methods alongside electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings to examine how NBE university students differ from SBE speakers in terms of their production, discrimination and detection of the foot/strut split, and whether or not this changes with experience with SBE.

Data was collected from NBE (Northerners: n=21) and SBE participants, (Southerners: n=7), and compared for the following tasks:

  1. a production task in which participants were recorded producing target vowels in keywords embedded in carrier sentences, and a short passage
  2. a 3-way alternative forced choice discrimination task in which participants identified vowels from a /ʊ/-/ʌ/ synthetic continuum embedded in target words (alongside a control involving /æ/-/ʌ/)
  3. a vowel change detection task with EEG recording (for /ʊ/ and /ʌ/, changing from /æ/; standard oddball paradigm) in Attend and Ignore conditions

All participants were university students who had moved to London for university. Fourteen of the Northerners were tested within a month of their arrival (freshers); the remainder had been in London for at least 2 years (non-freshers).

In production, non-freshers demonstrated a word-specific shift in the acquisition of /ʌ/. In perception, EEG results revealed differences in Northerners’ identification of the strut-foot vowel split depending on the level of conscious attention paid to the vowel. In the lexically-guided Attend condition, non-freshers could detect vowel changes with a surprisingly high degree of accuracy and were no different from Southerners in terms of their P300 Event Related Potential (ERP) response, but freshers in the same condition exhibited a much smaller P300 ERP. However, in the Ignore condition (no conscious effort, no explicit lexical retrieval), the amplitude of the non-freshers’ Mismatch Negativity (MMN) ERP response was inbetween that of Southerners (largest MMN) and Northern freshers (smallest MMN).

MMN amplitude has been shown to reflect language-specific phoneme representations (Näätänen et al., 1997), and so Northerners’ smaller MMN response for /ʌ/ in Ignore suggests an underlying unfamiliarity with this vowel, indicating that even after extensive experience with SBE, processing does not change to become native-like. These findings extend previous work showing that whilst northerners living in the south of England might change their production, such changes are likely not accompanied by changes in underlying category representations (Evans & Iverson, 2007).



Evans, B.G. & P. Iverson (2007). Plasticity in vowel perception and production: A study of accent change in young adults. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 121: 3814–3826.

Näätänen, R., A. Lehtokoski, M. Lennes, M. Cheour, M. Huotilainen, A. Iivonen, M. Vainio, P. Alku, R.J. Ilmoniemi, A. Luuk, J. Allik, J. Sinkkonen & K. Alho. (1997) Language-specific phoneme representations revealed by electric magnetic brain responses. Nature 385: 432–434.

10:15-12:20 Session 6E: Language Contact
Location: New York 3
The expletive use of the marker -(a)la in Souletin Basque: a contact-based explanation


Throughout the two last millennia Basque has experienced a constant situation of contact with Latin and the subsequent Romance languages spoken in the area. Thus, Souletin Basque (easternmost dialect) has undergone intensive contact with Gascon Occitan, then overlapped by the more recent contact with French (see Haase 1992). This paper focuses on the use of the complement clause marker ‑(a)la in independent sentences in Souletin, considered ungrammatical in the rest of Basque varieties —example 1 illustrates this usage, and example 2 shows the canonic use of ‑(a)la, acceptable for any Basque speaker. This phenomenon, rarely attested in written texts and neglected by scholars, can be regarded as an ongoing change in the sense of Aikhenvald 2006.

(1)     Margaita  arrajin                 dela.

          Margaret   come again.pfve   aux.comp

          ‘Margaret has come again.’

(2)     Uste   düt    Margaita  arrajin                  dela.

          think  aux   Margaret   come again.pfve   aux.comp

          ‘I think that Margaret has come again.’

(3)     Lo      pair     que      se’-n                va          tà           Agen.

          det    father   decl    refl-pro.gen  go.3sg   towards  Agen.

          ‘The father leaves to Agen.’

Our research is based on both a corpus of historical Souletin (16th‑20th centuries) and present‑day data. We will argue that the use of the complement clause marker (a)la in independent clauses is an adaptation of the Gascon enunciative particle que (Rohlfs 1970; Massoure 2012; see example 3). Additionally, speakers’ linguistic perception and/or educational background may alter the way in which expletive ‑(a)la occurs in Souletin Basque.



Aikhenvald, A. (2006) Grammars in Contact: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective. In Aikhenvald, A.  & R.M.W. Dixon (eds.): Grammars in Contact: A Cross-Linguistic Typology: 1-66. Oxford University Press.

Haase, M. (1992) Sprachkontakt und Sprachwandel im Baskenland: Die Einflüsse des Gaskognischen und Französischen auf das Baskische. Hamburg: Helmut Buske.

Massoure, J.-L. (2012) Le Gascon, les mots et le système. Paris: Honoré Champion.

Rohlfs, G. (1970 [1935]) Le Gascon. Études de philologie pyrénéenne. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.

On the different ways of being a bi-dialectal immigrant. From speech isolation through code-switching to full integration. The case of Argentineans in Malaga (Spain)

ABSTRACT. Keywords: Speech variation, dialects in contact, immigration, and Spanish varieties in contact

In this paper we analyse the accommodation (convergence) or divergence of young immigrants born in Buenos Aires, Argentina but living in Malaga, Spain (n = 22). For analysing this community, we took advantage of previous studies on dialects in contact such as Auer et. al. (2000), Hinskens et. al. (2016), Kerswill & Williams (2000), or Trudgill (1986), among others.

We have focused our attention on a very salient feature of the variety of Buenos Aires: the realization patterns of the voiced palatal fricative /ʝ/ (n = 1176) by young immigrant speakers. In such an immigration context, different realizations of /ʝ/ are observable, from open [j] to voiceless fricative realizations [ʃ]. An acoustic analysis based on standardised zero crossings rate, relative intensity, and other complementary measurements allows us to set the acoustic parameters underlying palatal /ʝ/ allophones, and to reveal a clear recession in the use of the native closed – and even voiceless – allophones by the Buenos Aires young immigrant speakers.

Young immigrants who exhibit similar personal and attitudinal stances, social networks and time of residence in the host city, can be classified through two-step cluster analysis in three groups: one group is almost completely divergent (showing low indexes of accommodation) (n = 5), other shows mixed linguistic behaviours and seem to be bi-dialectal (n = 9), and the other exhibits almost full accommodation towards the variety of Malaga (n = 8).

Through the systematic scrutiny of also other components of their grammar (morphology, syntax and lexis), we demonstrate that accommodation (convergence): a) is not always coherent and does not follow fixed patterns, b): is highly influenced by the immigrants’ personal characteristics and c) that phonological accommodation is only part of overall accommodation (convergence). This paper aims to be a portrait of how speakers under the influence of two different but quite close linguistic norms of Spanish (Malaga and Buenos Aires) negotiate their social stances and how their linguistic behaviours change in dialect contact interactions[1].


Auer, P.; Birgit B. & B. Grosskopf (2000): “Long-term linguistic accommodation and its sociolinguistic interpretation: Evidence from the Inner-German Migration after the Wende”. In Dialect and Migration in a changing Europe, K. Mattheier (ed.). Frankfurt: Lang, 79-108.

Kerswill, P. & A. Williams (2000): “Mobility and social class in dialect levelling: evidence from new and old towns in England”. In K. Mattheier (ed.), 1-13.

Hinskens, F.; van Meel, L. & van Hout, R. (2016). Co-variation and varieties in modern Dutch ethnolects. Lingua172-173, 72-86.

Trudgill, P. (1986): Dialects in contact. Oxford: Blackwell.

[1] This Project is granted and financed by the Ministry of Education (FPU15/01552) and is part of DGICyT Research Project Complementary STUDY of the Sociolinguistic Patterns of CASTILIAN Spanish/Estudios Complementarios de los Patrones Sociolingüísticos del Español de España) (FFI 2015-68171-C5-1-P).

The use of personal pronouns in Cité Duits, a moribund Dutch-German-Limburgian contact variety


The aim of this talk is to discuss the use of personal pronouns in Cité Duits, a Dutch-German-Limburgian contact variety spoken in the former coal mining district of Eisden-Maasmechelen in Belgian Limburg. Cité Duits, which developed among locally-born children of immigrant miners of different European language backgrounds in the 1930s, is on the cusp of disappearing, with approximately ten speakers left (cf. Pecht 2019).

In this talk, I will show to which degree its contact varieties have contributed to the internal structure of Cité Duits. The behavior of pronominal forms in contexts of language contact provides a good acid test for the stability of structural features. In language contact situations that are mainly characterized by code-switching and borrowing, we expect to identify pronominal forms from contact variety A and B and possibly C. Speakers who switch between two or more varieties make use of more than one system. Yet, once these systems fuse and become a stabilized variety, we can assume that certain features lose ground whereas others take over. Whereas situations of code-switching or intense borrowing allow for variation with several grammatical systems existing side-by-side, stabilized varieties show a high degree of homogeneity within the system itself (cf. Auer 1999). This raises some interesting questions. First, with which contact varieties do pronominal forms in Cité Duits exhibit congruence and second, to which degree are these forms used in a coherent way? Directly related to this is the question as to whether the position of a pronoun effects its form. As shown by others, it is often the syntactic position of a pronominal element in a given variety that gives rise to ‘unpredictable’ form variation (de Vogelaer 2007: 145). Empirically, I will be particularly concerned with three issues: (1) Frequency: What does the distribution of pronominal forms look like? (2) Internal properties: Do we encounter phonological or lexical variation for a given pronoun? (3) Position: To what extent is variation of a given pronoun interrelated with its position to the finite verb and complementizer? The analyzed data consists of audio and video recordings of spontaneous-like interactions (320 minutes) from eight male multilingual speakers collected through a method of sociolinguistic interview (cf. Labov 2001) in 2012/13 and 2015/16.



Auer, P. (1999). From Code-switching via Language Mixing to Fused Lects: Toward a Dynamic Typology of Bilingual Speech. International Journal of Bilingualism 3/4. 309-332.

de Vogelaer, G. (2007). De Nederlandse en Friese subjectsmarkeerders: geografie, typologie en diachronie. Gent: Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde.

Labov, W. (2001). Principles of Linguistic Change. Volume 2: Social Factors. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Pecht, N. (2019). Grammatical features of a moribund coalminers’ language in a Belgian cité. In: Cornips, L. & P. Muysken. Language in the mines. International Journal of the Sociology of Language (IJSL).


10:15-12:20 Session 6F: Historical Sociolinguistics
Location: Paris
The Northern Subject Rule: variation, stability and change from Middle English to modern dialects


The Northern Subject Rule (NSR) can be illustrated with the sentences they run and hides and children hides. It is typically analysed as a combination of two conditions on present-tense inflection: the subject condition (under which pronoun subjects trigger different inflection than full noun phrase subjects) and the adjacency condition (under which the special inflection with pronoun subjects is only triggered when verb and subject are adjacent).

However, in present-day English NSR dialects, non-pronominal plural subjects do not uniformly affect verbal inflection. Noun phrases headed by quantifiers and relative pronouns trigger more non-standard -s inflection than simple noun phrases do (Buchstaller, Corrigan, Holmberg & Maguire 2013), and so do conjoined noun phrases (cf. Montgomery, Fuller & DeMarse 1993, Godfrey & Tagliamonte 1999, Beal & Corrigan 2000, McCafferty 2003). The adjacency condition is often absent in present-day NSR dialects (Pietsch 2005), and, where it persists, may in fact be found only in conjoined verb phrases (they run and hides). De Haas (2011) has found that there was variation in the presence and strength of both conditions even in early Middle English NSR dialects, but the question remains what roles individual syntactic constructions played in these dialects.

This paper will present a detailed syntactic analysis of early Middle English data from a corpus of localized early Middle English texts from Northern England and the Northern Midlands (LAEME), and integrate it with existing findings on early and late Middle English dialects, as well as present-day varieties. The paper will also trace inter-and intra-dialectal variation and change in verbal inflection through Middle and Modern English, showing that some present-day patterns of variation have surprising time depth.



Beal, Joan, & Karen Corrigan. (2000). Comparing the present with the past to predict the future for Tyneside English. Newcastle & Durham working papers in linguistics 6 (13-30).

Buchstaller, Isabelle, Karen Corrigan, Anders Holmberg, Patrick Honeybone, & Warren Maguire. (2013). T-to-R and the Northern Subject Rule: questionnaire-based spatial, social and structural linguistics. English Language and Linguistics 17 (85-128).

Godfrey, Elizabeth, & Sali Tagliamonte. (1999). Another piece for the verbal -s story: Evidence from Devon in southwest England. Language Variation and Change 11 (87-121).

de Haas, Nynke. (2011). Morphosyntactic variation in Northern English: the Northern Subject Rule, its origins and early history. Dissertation. Utrecht: LOT. Available online via <www.lotpublications.nl>

LAEME: Laing, Margaret, & Roger Lass (2008-). A linguistic atlas of early Middle English 1150–1325. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh. Online at <http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/ihd/laeme2/laeme2.html>

McCafferty, Kevin. (2003). The Northern Subject Rule in Ulster: How Scots, How English? Language variation and change 15 (105-139).

Montgomery, Michael, Janet Fuller & Sharon DeMarse. (1993). ‘The Black Men has wives and sweet hearts (and third person plural -s) jest like the white men’: Evidence for verbal -s from the written documents on 19th century African American speech. Language Variation and Change 5 (335–57).

Pietsch, Lukas. (2005). Variable grammars: Verbal agreement in Northern dialects of English. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

The remarkable career of a lost feature. How the adnominal genitive in German became a marker of written language


The adnominal genitive in German today is a marker of formal, standard language (cf. Barbour/Stevenson 1990: 61), whereas it is virtually absent from German dialects and most intermediate varieties. It was allegedly lost in spoken German in the 15th century (Behaghel 1923: 479¬–480), and various reasons for its demise have been brought forward (cf. e.g. van der Elst 1982; Donhauser 1998). But why written language did not follow suit and lose the genitive as well, as was the case in other Germanic languages, remains unclear. In the following centuries, the adnominal genitive was used even more frequently in writing, according to some accounts (cf. e.g. Ágel 2000: 1889; Reichmann 2003: 47), and eventually became part of the written standard. I will use the concept of polarisation to describe the differential development in spoken and written mode and to account for the genitive becoming a marker of formal written language. I will look at the usage of the adnominal genitive in written sources in the diachronic perspective, covering the time span from early Old High German (9th century) up to the 19th century, using a corpus of sermons. While restricted in terms of genre and region (only Upper German sermons were analysed), the wide temporal scope of corpus together with its single-genre character makes it possible to track usage patterns over longer periods of time in a consistent manner. The results show that the usage frequency of the adnominal genitive has risen considerably since the 14th century, and that this increase happened in steps rather than gradually. The development of the usage frequency over time is further analysed with regard to internal and external factors, and a tentative explanation for the divergent development of the adnominal Genitive in spoken and written German is offered.



Ágel, Vilmos (2000). Syntax des Neuhochdeutschen bis zur Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts. In: Werner Besch, Anne Betten, Oskar Reichmann & Stefan Sonderegger (eds): Sprachgeschichte. Ein Handbuch zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und ihrer Erforschung, volume 2. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 1855–1903.

Barbour, Stephen & Patrick Stevenson (1990). Variation in German. A critical approach to German sociolinguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Behaghel, Otto (1923–1932). Deutsche Syntax. Eine geschichtliche Darstellung. 4 volumes. Heidelberg: Winter.

Donhauser, Karin (1998). Das Genitivproblem und (k)ein Ende? Anmerkungen zur aktuellen Diskussion um die Ursachen des Genitivschwundes. In: John Ole Askedal (ed.): Historische germanische und deutsche Syntax. Akten des Internationalen Symposiums anläßlich des 100. Geburtstages von Ingerid Dal. Frankfurt a. M. et al.: Peter Lang, 69–86.

Reichmann, Oskar (2003). Die Entstehung der neuhochdeutschen Schriftsprache: Wo bleiben die Regionen? In: Raphael Berthele, Helen Christen, Sibylle Germann & Ingrid Hove (eds): Die deutsche Schriftsprache und die Regionen. Entstehungsgeschichtliche Fragen in neuer Sicht. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter, 29–56.

van der Elst, Gaston (1984). Zur Entwicklung des deutschen Kasussystems. Ein Beispiel für Sprachökonomie. Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik 12, 313–331.

Language change from above and language history from below: relative clauses in Basque


In Basque, apart from the more usual prenominal relative (1), there is also a postnominal construction with a pronoun (usually zein ‘which’) (2). It is widely attested in printed texts before the 20th century, though its use has decreased due to linguistic awareness and purism: it is considered a calque from Romance languages.

(1) Liburutegia-n              dago-en           hizkuntzalari-a
library-INES               be.3SG-SUB  linguist-DET
‘The linguist who is in the library’

(2)  Hizkuntzalari-a           zein                 liburutegi-an              bai-tago
linguist-DET               which[ABS]   library-INES               SUB-be.3SG
‘The linguist who is in the library’

 In this paper we analyze the use of the construction in private letters before 1800. The most interesting aspect of zein relatives in letters are several non-standard variants, not found in printed canonical sources (and no longer used in modern Basque). They involve a form (usually inessive) of the pronoun zein functioning as an invariable relative particle. Contrary to the standard construction (2), the pronoun does not take the case that corresponds to the argument relativized:

(3) Hizkuntzalari-a           zein-etan         liburutegi-an              bai-tago
linguist-DET               which-INES   library-INES               SUB-be.3SG
‘The linguist who is in the library’

To explain the emergence of this pattern, we propose that zein relative was firstly involved in a language change from above. It could have been introduced in Basque through –more or less conscious– imitation of the Romance texts’ style (e.g. importing epistolary formulae) by bilingual writers. These formulae and other partially fixed expressions were then acquired by less experienced writers who needed easy to reuse prefabricated elements to help them in the writing process (see Rutten & Van der Wal, 2012 on Dutch).

Monolingual Basque speakers frequently did not understand very well the syntax of zein relative, and came to use a form of the pronoun as an invariable relativizer. These non-standard variants then spread among not-so-literate people, who copied the epistolary formulae. We propose that non-standard variants emerged when writers reanalyzed the syntax of these formulae and started to use the construction productively (see Romaine, 1982; Rissanen, 1999; Bergs, 2005 for similar explanations for English wh- relatives).

In this paper, thus, we show that assuming a perspective from below (Elspaß, 2005) provides us with interesting insights on the history of Basque: on the syntactic change, as well as on the writing practices of not-so-literate people.  



Bergs, A. (2005). Social networks and historical sociolinguistics. Studies in Morphosyntactic Variation in the Paston Letters (1421–1503). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Elspaβ, S. (2005). Sprachgeschichte von unten. Untersuchungen zum geschriebenen Alltagsdeutsch im 19. Jahrhundert. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

Rissanen, M. (1999). Syntax. In Hogg, R.M. & Lass, R. (eds.): The Cambridge history of the English language, vol. 3: 187-331. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,.

Romaine, S. (1982). Socio-historical linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rutten, G. & M.J. Van der Wal (2012). Functions of epistolary formulae in Dutch letters from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Journal of Historical Pragmatics 13(2): 173-201.

Smyrniot Greek: the fate of a cosmopolitan variety


Smyrniot Greek was the Greek variety spoken in and around the city of Smyrna (today’s Izmir) in Asia Minor till the 1920s, when the disastrous Greek military campaign led to the partial destruction of the city in 1922 and the migration of many thousands of refugees in Greece. Since Smyrna constituted the main urban center of the area (and one of the biggest in eastern Mediterranean), the Greek variety spoken there would be expected to exhibit ‘urban’ features, such as dialect mixing. This remains unproven, however, as Smyrniot Greek has hardly been the object of linguistic analysis, with very few exceptions (cf. e.g. Liosis, 2016).

Consequently, the first aim of this paper is to partially remedy this situation, especially with regard to one prominent feature of this variety, i.e. multilingualism. Smyrniot exhibited a high level of multilingualism, as it incorporated borrowings from mainly two sources, namely Turkish and Romance (French and Italian) languages. It will be shown that the effects of multilingualism were to a great extent socially determined, as the upper classes of the urban population incorporated many loanwords from Romance languages, while the variety of the lower classes showed greater influence from Turkish. It will also be shown that the Greek variety of Smyrna, as all other Greek urban varieties of the time, exhibited the well-known diglossia with regard to the contrast between the official and the everyday registers, complicating further its sociolinguistic picture.

Apart from the sociolinguistically multifaceted character of the variety, the main reason for the fact that Smyrniot Greek has almost completely escaped linguistic notice is its quick disappearance. It is considered today a dead variety, as its speakers apparently shifted to the Greek variety of their surroundings almost immediately (?) after their migration into Greece. The second aim of this paper is to elucidate the sociolinguistic conditions which led to the death of the Smyrniot dialect, giving particular emphasis on the linguistic attitudes on behalf of the Smyrniot speakers that allowed (or even felicitated) the dying out of this variety. The investigation into the linguistic attitudes of Smyrniot speakers will be based on primary material (interviews, narratives etc.), and can provide new insights on the timely topic of the nature of the relationship between migration and language in a historical setting of mass migration that resulted in dialect contact and dialect death (cf. for instance Piller 2016).



Liosis, N. (2016). Cosmopolitan or local? The dialects of the Smyrna region. In Ralli A. et al. (eds.): Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Modern Greek dialects and linguistic theory: 102-113. University of Patras.

Piller, I. (2016). Language and Migration. Critical concepts in Linguistics. London: Routledge.

Loanword/Native word Variation in Old and Middle Icelandic


It is a well-known fact that current Icelandic language policy urges users to resort to the inner potential of their mother tongue instead of borrowing lexemes. This holds true for the Icelandic lexicon as a whole and it often leads to the formation of word pairs consisting of a loanword and its respective native equivalent, being that the process of borrowing sistematically eludes the tight tangles of language policy. The outcome of such coexistence in Modern Icelandic is known and widely researched. What is less known is that older stages of Icelandic were not free from this phenomenon, which can therefore be regarded as having roots which largely antedate Icelandic purism (end of the 16th c.- beginning of the 17th c.).

My doctoral project seeks to answer an up-till-now unaddressed question, namely how and to which extend loanwords and native words interacted in the Old and Middle Icelandic period (up till 1550). The object of research is thus constituted by synonyms (and near-synonyms to a limited extent) forming word pairs which are constituted by one (or more) loanwords to which corresponds one (or more) native lexemes (e.g. dýfliza, prísund - myrkvastofa ‘prison’; kápa - feldr ‘cape, mantel’; angist - ótti ‘fear’; kanúki - kórsbróðir ‘canon (clergyman)’; partr - hlutr ‘part’; dividera, partera - skipta ‘to divide’). This general research question entails more specific research items such as investigating the semantic typology of the elicited word couples, exploring the strategies lying behind the enrichment of the native lexicon, determining the provenance of loanwords and thus the cultural influences which the Icelandic society has undergone. Not least, the project takes also into consideration the manuscript tradition of each researched text and examines textual variation with reference to the phenomenon under research. The methodology used throughout this project is  threefold, as it is rooted in philology, loanword studies and etymology.

In this paper, I will present the project and its main findings in their entirety. Special attention will be given to exploring the strategies at the core of the investigated phenomenon. An account is given of the relationship existing between loanwords and their native synonyms from a lexico-historical point of view: is there a link between the nature of the native word (semantic calque, structural calque or neoformation), the period of borrowing and/or prestige/necessity loanwords? In other words: 1) Do native words which have been coined after or before a certain loanword had been borrowed show tendencies with regard to their typology? and 2) Is the prestige/necessity variable related to the typology of the corresponding native synonym?

12:20-14:00Lunch Break
12:20-14:00 Session 7: Posters Presentations
Location: Central Hall
“Language is flexible but people are not”: Availability and innovation of gender non-binary language in Polish and English, and cultural attitudes regarding this


Language is key in expressing one’s identity, and the availability of appropriate language is crucial for transgender and gender non-conforming communities (eg. Zimman, 2017). In natural gender languages (eg. English), gendering of individuals occurs through pronouns and gendered nouns. However, in grammatical gender languages with rich agreement systems (eg. Polish), gendering occurs more frequently (eg. on adjectives and past tense verbs). In reference to human adults, Polish grammatical gender is typically assigned according to the person’s assumed (binary) gender. Non-binary individuals, who do not identify exclusively as either male or female, often face problems due to this.

Previous studies have explored non-binary speakers’ language use in English (eg. Yeadon-Lee, 2016), however, the language of Polish and Polish-English non-binary speakers has received comparatively little attention. Given differing cultural and linguistic contexts between Poland and Great Britain, the barriers non-binary people must navigate to express their identities in Polish differs to that in English.

The present study consists of two parts, informed using data gathered through online surveys. Survey A respondents were 93 non-binary speakers of Polish and/or English who have lived in Great Britain and/or Poland. Survey A informed about the strategies and innovations (if any) that these speakers use to linguistically represent their identities. Survey B respondents were 97 members of the wider Polish and/or English speech communities in both Great Britain and Poland. Survey B collected respondents’ evaluations of Polish and/or English ‘non-binary language’ to inform how cultural factors interact with linguistic ones, and the effects this can have on the success of implementation and spread of non-binary linguistic variation.

Survey A responses indicate that non-binary speakers implement a range of standard and non-standard non-binary/gender-neutral language. In both Polish and English, this is achieved using lexical features however, in Polish, some speakers additionally alter and de-binarise the grammatical gender system, especially when communicating online. According to Survey B, members of the wider Polish and English speaker communities rate Polish non-binary language as less ‘natural’-sounding, familiar, and comfortable to implement - and, therefore, less accessible - compared to that in English. Polish respondents overall demonstrate less accepting attitudes towards non-binary people than English respondents. These results suggest that non-binary language - and non-binary identity creation - is much harder to achieve in the Polish context than it is in English, both culturally and linguistically.

This study highlights the significance of language as a part of identity creation, and reinforces the importance of promoting linguistic acceptance of minority groups.



Yeadon-Lee, T. (2016): What’s the Story? Exploring Online Narratives of Nonbinary Gender Identities. The

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies 11 (2): 19-34.

Zimman, L. (2017) Trans people's linguistic self-determination and the dialogic nature of identity. In: Hazenberg,

E. & M. Meyerhoff (eds.): (Re)Presenting Trans: Linguistic, Legal, and Everyday Perspectives: 226-248. Wellington:

Victoria University Press.

Establishing identity from language: sociolinguistic variation among the Slovak community in Edinburgh, Scotland


The present study adds to existing literature on urban migratory experiences (Howley, 2015), comparing cross-cultural variation of immigrants’ speech with their local peers (Drummond, 2010; Newlin-Łukowicz, 2016) by exploring linguistic and social constraints on language acquisition among bilingual Slovak immigrants. Connections between identity and production are well recognised (Kobiałka, 2016; Regan and Ni Chasaide, 2010), but the present study highlights the role of language as both a tool for cultural integration and a reflection of personal identity.

Sociolinguistic interview data were obtained from 20 Slovak immigrants, 8 Edinburgh Scottish participants, and 6 English-Slovak bilinguals in Slovakia. By considering linguistic and social factors that influence Slovak immigrants’ variation, this paper examines the extent to which local language communities shape immigrants’ identity and pronunciation. Immigrant participants’ pronunciations of face and goat lexical sets (Wells, 1982) were evaluated in comparison to native Scottish participants in Edinburgh, with more monophthongal realisations (Schützler, 2015); and to English-Slovak bilinguals residing in Trnava, Slovakia, whose diphthongal vowel productions were similar to Received Pronunciation (RP) constructions.

Immigrants’ mean face and goat realisations were found to be distinct from both standard varieties. However, their pronunciations varied widely, and data modelling revealed associations between key social factors and pronunciation. Settings of high formality, strong European and Slovak identities, and intentions to return to Slovakia were associated with relatively more diphthongal pronunciations. Decreased formality, strong Scottish identities, and decreased pre-immigration English instruction were associated with relatively more monophthongal pronunciations.

 Key findings in the study reinforce observations of multi-cultural identities in long-term Slovak immigrants. Drawing on work that explores identity formation among L2 speakers (Kobiałka, 2016) and production in migratory settings (Meyerhoff and Schleef, 2014), I argue that there is a tendency for immigrants to shape their multi-cultural identities in response to linguistic and social contexts.



Drummond, R. (2010). Sociolinguistic variation in a second language: The influence of local accent on the pronunciation of non-native English speakers living in Manchester. Unpublished PhD Thesis, The University of Manchester.

Howley, G. (2015). The acquisition of Manchester dialect variants by adolescent Roma migrants. Unpublished PhD thesis, The University of Manchester.

Kobiałka, E. (2016). Language, identity and social class among Polish migrants in Ireland. In V. Regan, C. Diskin and J. Martyn (Eds.), Language, identity and migration: Voices from transnational speakers and communities (pp. 191-216). Bern: Peter Lang.

Meyerhoff, M. and Schleef, E. (2014). Hitting an Edinburgh target: Immigrant adolescents’ acquisition of variation in Edinburgh English. In R. Lawson (Ed.), Sociolinguistics in Scotland (pp. 103-128). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Newlin-Łukowicz, L. (2016). Co-occurrence of sociolinguistic variables and the construction of ethnic identities. Lingua 172-173, 100-115.

Regan, V. and Ni Chasaide, C. (Eds.) (2010). Language practices and identity construction by multilingual speakers of French L2: The acquisition of sociostylistic variation (modern French identities). Bern: Peter Lang.

Schützler, O. (2015). A sociophonetic approach to Scottish Standard English. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English (vol. 1). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schnëssen-App - Corpus building with a smartphone application


In this poster we will present the design and workflow of our crowd-sourcing application Schnëssen, which was developed to document the language variation of present-day Luxembourgish. Similar to other smartphone applications (e.g., Dialäkt Äpp, Deutschklang, English Dialects App or Stimmen; see Leemann et al. 2016, 2018), the participants of Schnëssen-App provide audio recordings when reacting to certain visual or written stimuli.

The overall aim is to motivate as many speakers as possible to gather language data to analyse ongoing patterns of language change. In order to make participation attractive, interested users can start recording audio data right away after entering some social data (i.e., age, gender, place of birth, education, language competencies). To minimize the effort, no user registration is foreseen. Among the users’ tasks are translations of sentences into Luxembourgish (from either German or French), reading or picture naming tasks. All items have been created on the basis of available information on processes of ongoing language change covering phonetics/phonology, morphology, syntax, pragmatics, lexis (especially language contact phenomena related to French and German). Among others, all major phenomena from older dialect surveys of Luxembourgish are covered in order to determine the amount of dialect change. Additionally, a sociolinguistic questionnaire on the multilingual situation of Luxembourg has been integrated.

Due to the fact that aspects related to the Luxembourgish language generally lead to huge interest in the public, it turned out to be relatively easy to attract a great number of participants. Since April 2018, three rounds of data collection have been launched, each comprising between 80 and 100 items. Until today around 1.300 users have contributed to the large amount of more than 180.000 audio recordings. Around 2.700 users have also completed the sociolinguistic questionnaire. All data is stored in a database, data annotation is carried out with Google Spreadsheets and statistical and cartographical analysis is done in R.

Besides the design of the application and the process of the crowd-sourcing, selected results from phonology and lexis will be presented.



Leemann, A., Kolly, M., Purves, R., Britain, D., Glaser, E. (2016). Crowdsourcing language change with smartphone applications. In: PLoS ONE 11, 1

Leemann, A., Kolly, M., Britain, D. (2018). The English Dialects App: the creation of a crowdsourced dialect corpus. In: Ampersand. 5, 1-17

Smartphone application Kielimestari as a way to increase minority language awareness


In our poster, we will introduce a smartphone application Kielimestari (‘Language master’). The idea for this application has born from the need to increase language awareness and knowledge of minority languages among Finnish people and to gather data for linguistic research with the crowdsourcing method.

The minority languages, which can be studied in the application, are Swedish, Karelian and Northern Sami. The application includes quizzes and language learning games that are related to minority languages and enhance people’s linguistic knowledge. Also, the application includes microphone function that allows the user to record his/her own dialect.

Around the world, language learning apps are one of the most downloaded sub-categories on the application market today. The most popular applications (e.g. Duolingo, Mondly) have more than 10 million downloads. Also, in the field of linguistics, smartphone applications have been utilized in many countries. Although utilization of smartphone technology in linguistic studies is becoming more common (e.g., Leemann, Kolly, Purves, Britain & Glaser 2016), it is still a new field in Finland. In the Kielimestari application, these features combine: in addition to language learning, the application serves research purposes.

We are developing Kielimestari in cooperation with the game studio Red Shirt Games which specializes in the design of games for smartphones. In our poster, we'll show with illustrative drawings how the application works and how the data will be utilized in research. With this app we collect data for research on Finnish people’s language awareness and language regards as well as on Finnish dialects. We will study what is considered a valuable language skill and attitudes toward minority languages. In addition, we will update the atlas of the Finnish dialects, which is 80 years old.



Leemann, Adrian – Kolly, Marie-José – Purves, Ross – Britain, David – Glaser, Elvira 2016: Crowdsourcing Language Change with Smartphone Applications. – PLOS One.


“I'm dead posh in school”: Attitudes and Linguistic Behaviour of Adolescents in Merseyside Schools


This poster considers the results of a study regarding Merseyside English in educational contexts. The research examines how adolescent speakers in two areas of Merseyside, Liverpool and Wirral, use local dialect to create different social meanings at school and at home.
The data consists of three semi-structured group interviews, and individual word list readings, by 27 participants aged between 14 and 17. 13 speakers are from an all-girls school in Wirral, and 14 are from a mixed-sex school in Liverpool. This mixed-methodology investigates how adolescents make use of stylistic variation in different speech contexts, that is, spontaneous and careful speech.

Primarily this research views speakers as agents of social meaning, in that they actively and intentionally use language to construct and reflect the world around them. To this end, the study considers how speakers’ attitudes towards Merseyside English dialect impact the ways in which they use regional dialect in differing social situations.

I also focus upon the ways in which young speakers relate linguistic behaviour and identity. In particular, I discuss which linguistic features adolescents consider to be socially marked as indexing a ‘Scouse’ identity.

‘Scouse’ English, or Liverpool English, is often considered to be a stigmatised variety (Montgomery, 2012). By interviewing informants from Liverpool and the Wirral, a locality just outside of Liverpool but with strong connections to the area, I consider how prevalent these attitudes are in Merseyside.
Younger speakers are often less conservative than older speakers in their judgements of stigmatised varieties (Coupland and Bishop, 2007: 85), and my results frequently reflect this. However, the young speakers in this study also show an awareness that their use of ‘Scouse’ may be judged negatively by others, leading them to diverge away from particular features when speaking to, for example, teachers or parents.

The results of the study also indicate that there is variation of attitudes between geographical region, gender, and age. Young speakers in Liverpool often perceived the use of Liverpool English features as being strongly linked to a ‘Scouse’ identity. Many viewed ‘Scouse’ identity as highly static and fixed, that is, that speaking with a Liverpool English dialect is not enough to define somebody as a ‘Scouse’ person.
In Wirral, speakers acknowledged that they use some Scouse features but not others, and did not identify themselves as ‘Scousers’, even where speakers from other regions may consider them as such.
Despite these differing perceptions, all participants showed an awareness that they make use of style-shifting in different contexts at school and at home, and for some older students, this is also beginning to impact professional contexts.

Based upon these results, I argue that young speakers are often more positive in their attitudes towards Liverpool dialect than their parents. Despite this, the results confirm that adolescents are aware that particular ‘Scouse’ features are socially marked, and this has a direct impact upon the ways in which they use language in different speech contexts.



Lithuanian and Latvian languages belong to the Baltic branch of Indo-European language family, more specifically to the group of Eastern Baltic languages. The main aim of this report is to describe and discuss the vowels (using International Phonetic Alphabet) of the contemporary standard Baltic languages on the same principles and with the same methods, on the bases of acoustic measurements as well as on the results of recent experimental research.  

Both contemporary Baltic languages have many features in common, including the opposition of long and short vowels, an abundance of diphthongs, and a system of pitch accent. Naturally, however, throughout many years the languages have not evolved in the same manner, therefore besides the similarities they have also developed substantial differences that (can) determine the existence of different phonemic inventories. For example, Latvian has fixed stress and a large subsystem of palatal consonants, while Lithuanian has variable stress, secondary (i type) palatalization and a phonological opposition of palatalized vs. non-palatalized consonants, etc. An opposition between palatalized and non-palatalized consonants and a developed system of pitch accent in the same language, as in Lithuanian, nowadays is typologically rare. Accordingly, these considerations were included in the preparation of the research material with the aim of comparing vowels of the contemporary Baltic languages. Using the same methods and equipment permits not only a reliable comparison when identifying perceptual and allophonic vowel variation, but also permits a reliable comparison of phonetic inventories (possible classifications) and creates a base for further comparative research of the sound systems.

For this study, the Lithuanian and Latvian short and long vowels were produced both in zero contexts and in natural speech flow. The research material was read by native Lithuanian and Latvian speakers, aged 20–50 years, with pronunciation consistent with the norms of Standard Lithuanian and Latvian, respectively. The analyses of the vowels were carried out with Praat (developed by Paul Boersma and David Weenink) and WaveSurfer software (developed by Kåre Sjölander and Jonas Beskow).

The Lithuanian and Latvian vowel systems were investigated, measured and compared by native speaking researchers Jurgita Jaroslavienė and Juris Grigorjevs, respectively. Additionally results from related research (provided by other investigators) will be included in this study.

The Lithuanian and Latvian vowel systems will be discussed from the viewpoint of the following dimensions of variation: a) perceptual similarities and differences between the vowels of two contemporary Baltic languages; b) speech perception, highlighting variation between production and perception; c) allophonic vowel variation, expressing context-dependent realizations.

Neighbourhood proximity and the organisation of words in the brain


Our research investigates the way in which frequency and neighbourhood proximity cause unfamiliar words (loan words, foreign words) to be minimally modified so that their form becomes wholly identical to familiar words. An example of this process is the modification of ‘asparagus’ in colloquial English to ‘sparrow grass’. Neighbourhood proximity (Wallis 2007), referred to as analogy in philology, is a measure determining how similar any two given words are with respect to their form and their meaning. Form similarity can be formalised as Levenshtein Distance. There is no generally accepted formalisation of semantic proximity. Informally it involves the sharing of salient semantic features such as <human>, <animate>, and so on. The process of modification, of form adaptation, is also known as folk etymology (e.g. De Vooys 1908, Maiden 2008) and it is far from arbitrary. A successful modification characteristically yields a compound consisting of elements which are identical to frequent words, and which belong to the same semantic sphere as the loan word (semantic proximity). A comparison of ‘sparrow grass’ to ‘asparagus’ makes clear that the modifications result in formal identity to frequent words (sparrow, grass) in the semantic neighbourhood (plants and animals) of the loan word (asparagus). In our talk we analyse several of such examples and propose the outline of an evaluation metric which is successful in predicting the outcome of folk etymological changes on the basis of the three factors mentioned: formal identity, semantic similarity and high frequency.



Hoekstra, Eric & Frits van der Kuip. 2017. Peanut butter, compositionality and semantic transparency in loan translations. Taal en Tongval 69 (1), 137-156.

De Vooys, Cornelis. 1908. Iets over zogenaamde volksetymologie. [Something about so-called folk etymology]. De Nieuwe Taalgids 2, 273-285.

Maiden, Martin. 2008. Lexical nonsense and morphological sense: On the real importance of 'folk etymology' and related phenomena for historical linguists. In Thórhallur Eythórsson (ed.) Grammatical Change and Linguistic Theory: The Rosendal papers. John Benjamins, Berlin, 307-328.

Wallis, Walter. 2007. A Beginner’s Guide to Graph Theory. Birkhäuser, Basel.

Modern Geolinguistic research in Lithuania at the beginning of the 21st century


New methods have been developed for the sociolinguistic and geolinguistic examination of dialects, which was used to describe dialects and subdialects, and to prepare the Atlas maps and commentaries. 60 years of political, social, cultural and demographic changes had altered the situation in rural Lithuania, so the decision was made to conduct a study of residential points on the Lithuanian Language Atlas to determine the current status of dialects in Lithuania (research was provided in the frame of the global grant project entitled Modern Geolinguistic Research in Lithuania: the Optimisation of Network Points and the Interactive Dissemination of Information).

The following objectives were set in order to achieve these aims: 1) to gather and present new material about central and peripheral Lithuanian dialects; 2) to specify or readjust the boundaries of Lithuanian dialect and subdialect areas; 3) to gather the most important sociolinguistic data from the entire Lithuanian language area and conduct an initial analysis of it. During the relatively short period of time between 2010 and 2014, the information gathered from the entire Lithuanian language area by a group of 33 qualified researchers enabled the initial analysis of dialectical data without violating syntopic and diatopic principles. All 735 points in Lithuania were surveyed as well as 15 points abroad. Points that were thriving, dying out or had died out already were identified, and new points were established. Thus, the existing point network was optimised for further research. 5000 hours of digital speech recordings were acquired from the optimised point network (the goal was to acquire 1.5h recordings from no less than 6 speakers at each point). These were then used to compile an audio archive of Lithuanian dialects from the beginning of the 21st century (accessible online via www.tarmes.lt). More than 4000 point and source surveys were also completed. The results of the initial analysis were accordingly summarised in matrices. 14 geolinguistic maps (using geographical coordinates of the location) were created.

In the current geolinguistic landscape of Lithuania, all the local variations of other languages (Polish, Belarusian, local Russian, etc.) could be thought of as topolects. These topolects undergo the same processes of change as do traditional Lithuanian dialects.

Having linked the geographic, social and cultural coordinate systems of the Lithuanian regions, geolinguistics legitimised a holistic methodology for the research of language variance in Lithuanian linguistics. This methodology allows assessment of the continuum from both horizontal and vertical perspective without giving preference to any one point of view. Such a methodological change in Lithuanian linguistics means the continuation of the geolinguistic perspective – it means investigating variability through the prism of development and change, and not decline. It replaces the ideological perspective that has always emphasized the opposite.

It is precisely because of the dynamism of linguistic processes that research should be conducted once again after a few decades.

How can we determine at what level of abstraction lectal predictors operate? A case study of the alternation(s) between the Dutch direct and prepositional object

ABSTRACT. How can we determine at what level of abstraction lectal predictors operate? A case study of the alternation(s) between the Dutch direct and prepositional object

In syntactic alternation studies, the level of abstraction at which to investigate the variant distribution at issue is commonly determined a priori. For instance, the English conative alternation may be lexically delineated only by the preposition at, with the subject, verb and object slots in principle kept open (Perek 2015). In other occasions, an alternation may be limited to only the instances of a single verb and a single preposition, as in Pijpops et al. (2018), or researchers may focus on even more concrete lexical combinations, as in Lehmann and Schneider (2012).

Still, the most appropriate level of abstraction at which to investigate a specimen of language variation is not always a given. To illustrate this, we will look at the alternation between the direct and prepositional object in Dutch, as in (1)-(2).


(1)     Voor    iedereen   dien     je     (naar)  een  individuele  oplossing  te  zoeken. 

          for       everyone  ought   you (to)      an   individual   solution    to  search

                          (Sonar corpus, id: WS-U-T-B-0000000143.p.7.s.3, Oostdijk et al. 2013)

‘You ought to search for an individual solution for everyone.’


(2)     Maar   Caroline   weerstaat    (aan) de   verleiding.

          but       Caroline   withstands  (to)    the  temptation


‘But Caroline withstands the temptation.’


We ask at which level of abstraction this variation functions. That is, should we consider occurrences such as (1)-(2) as instantiating a single alternation between an abstract transitive and prepositional construction, or should we look at each preposition, verb, or even object separately? In particular, we will focus on the influence of lectal predictors.

To investigate this, we propose a corpus-based procedure that involves two steps. The first step defines the several levels of abstraction, ranging from lexically specified syntactic slots to entirely open slots. In second step, we fit regression models at each level. From our first results, it appears that the influence of lectal predictors seem to be tied to specific lexical elements. For instance, we find outspoken differences between the Belgian and Netherlandic regiolects for particular verbs, such as weerstaan (aan) ‘withstand (to)’ and peilen (naar) ‘gauge (at)’ or even for particular verb-object combinations such as (aan) de kar trekken ‘carry the load, lit. pull the cart’.


Lehmann, H.M. & G. Schneider (2012). Syntactic variation and lexical preference in the dative-shift alternation. In Mukherjee J. & Huber M. (eds.): Corpus Linguistics and Variation in English: 65–75. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Oostdijk, N., M. Reynaert, V. Hoste and I. Schuurman (2013). The Construction of a 500-Million-Word Reference Corpus of Contemporary Written Dutch. In Spyns P. & Odijk J. (eds.): Essential Speech and Language Technology for Dutch, Theory and Applications of Natural Language Processing: 219–247. Heidelberg: Springer.

Florent. P. (2015) Argument structure in usage-based construction grammar: experimental and corpus-based perspectives. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Pijpops, D., D. Speelman, S. Grondelaers & F. Van de Velde. (2018): Comparing explanations for the Complexity Principle. Evidence from argument realization. Language and Cognition 10 3: 514–543.

Málráð okkara, meinar tú tað? (Our Language council, are you being serious?) Online debates on the spelling of loanwords in Faroese.


This paper gives a Folk linguistic analysis of online negotiations of spelling norms for Faroese. The data material includes online statements on orthography, and in particular the spelling of loanwords in Faroese from the Facebook group Føroysk rættstaving (‘Faroese ortography’) from April 2018 to March 2019. The Facebook group has 13 846 members in March 2019 and a high activity level. Though some members are foreign learners of Faroese, the large majority of the members are Faroese living in the Faroes, and the Facebook group thus represents a central platform for language debate in this country of 50 000 inhabitants.

The Faroese online statements on spelling norms appear to reflect an underlying model of language and correctness in which dictionaries have limited validity and power, and in which each native speaker of Faroese is entitled to an equal share of ‘linguistic capital’ (Bourdieu 1977). Normative descriptions, such as dictionaries, can, in this approach, be critized according to the ‘usus principle’, and thereby a reference to usage is percieved to be a valid argument in the question of correctness. This seemingly egalitarian approach forms a stark contrast to the U.S. folk model on language suggested by Niedzielski and Preston (2000: 18), in which a usage based norm would be rejected based on an assumption that dictionaries are a source of correctness, as they are seen as reflecting a Platonic abstraction of ‘language’.

The paper gives insight to the negotiation of language norms and the public and semi-public debates on language planning in a small language community with a young standard language, including the negotiation of questions of authority, linguistic capital and ownership of the written representation of one’s mother tongue.



Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. The economics of linguistic exchanges. Social Science Information 16 (645)

Niedzielski, Nancy and Dennis Preston. 2000. Folk linguistiscs. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter

Cluster Analysis of German Base Dialects using an Ontology-based Approach


This contribution describes a quantitative analysis of a language area based on an ontology presented in Engsterhold (in prep.). It utilizes the digitized data of The Linguistic Atlas of the Middle Rhine (MRhSA, Bellmann et al. 1994–2002), which was made available by the REDE project. An Ontology (phonOntology) was developed to further enrich the IPA-annotated observations of the atlas by breaking down each sound into its sound-properties (see Horrocks 2013 for details about ontologies). This is possible due the inference capabilities of the ontology and the used Database, a so called Triple Store. This allowing for the creation of quantitative datasets that contain representative feature vectors for each place covered by the MRhSA. The study starts with a comprehensive dataset including all of the observations for an older generation of speakers interviewed during the field work for the MRhSA. In the next step, subsets of these are then extracted on the basis of which datasets associated with the Middle High German and West Germanic reference systems are then generated.

These datasets are first analyzed via clustering algorithms and then evaluated based on different stability metrics. This happened within a workflow designed in python and utilized the Gold Standard libraries for scientific computing (NumPy, SkLearn) for python. The clustering algorithms are K-Means, Gaussian Mixture Model and Ward Clustering for 2<=k<=5. The preprocessing steps includes a z-score normalization and a principle component analysis (PCA). Because of the lack of Ground Truth verification metrics, it includes different jack knife methods like bootstrapping and consistency metrics such as the silhouette-coefficient and the Calinski-Harabasz-score or two-dimensional embeddings like multidimensional scaling (mds) and t-distributed Stochastic Neighbor Embedding (t-SNE) (see Engsterhold in prep. for details about the metrics and the references cited therein). The clusterings are rendered as high quality maps, while the metrics are visualized as graphs as the case may be.

The results show a structural difference between the northern region called Moselle Franconian and the southern region called Rhine Franconian. This difference is not bound to specific isoglosses, but can be found within the sound properties themselves. It is possible to conduct an apparent-time analysis because the MRhSA also offers a second dataset that takes a second generation of younger speakers into account. The results of this analysis shows that the structural difference is still in place; however, there are measurable normalization tendencies between these dialects, which may be attributable to a closer approximation to Standard German.



Bellmann, G. et al. (1994–2002) Mittelrheinischer Sprachatlas. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag.

Engsterhold, R. (in prep.) Sprachraumanalyse mit Hilfe einer phonetischen Ontologie. Marburg: Dissertation.

Horrocks, I. (2013). What are Ontologies Good For? In Küppers, BO., Hahn U., Artmann S. (ed.): Evolution of Semantic Systems: 175–188. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.

Morpho-syntax of the Regional Languages of German. Survey Methods and Techniques


The project Regionalsprache.de (REDE) has among its primary goals the first systematic documentation and analysis of the structure and dynamics of the modern regional languages of German (see Schmidt/Herrgen 2011 for the notion Regionalsprache; see Ganswindt et al. 2015 for information about REDE). This concerns, among others, the (morpho-)syntactic level of description. Our investigation aims at the entire variative spectrum between the two poles, dialect and standard language, for the regional languages. To this end, we document the regional syntactic variants that speakers of any sociodemographic profile actually use, be they dialectal, regiolectal or colloquial standard variants (in the sense of Schmidt/Herrgen 2011). At the same time, we control for the variety. We launched the first questionnaire of a multi-part online survey at the end of the summer of 2018. The results of the project should lead to the creation of an atlas and database of the (morpho-)syntax of the regional languages of German.

Our goal and procedure differ from those of dialect-syntactic atlas projects since the turn of the century in important respects. In the projects Syntax hessischer Dialekte (Fleischer et al. 2012), Syntax des Alemannischen (Brandner 2015), among others, the goal has been the documentation of the oldest dialect syntactic variants that the oldest generation of speakers is acquainted with. Our goal and procedure also differ from projects such as the Atlas zur deutschen Alltagssprache (AdA), where that is documented “what can be heard at a given location – irrespective of whether it is closer to dialectal or closer to the standard […], also including base-dialectal and Standard-German variants, as long as they conform to the actual language use at this location” (Elspaß/Möller 2015: 520; our translation).

As a consequence, the poster presentation is of methodological nature and has the purpose of demonstrating how surveying data from speakers with heterogeneous sociodemographic profiles can be combined with controlling for the variety of their answers.



Brandner, E. (2015). Syntax des Alemannischen (SynAlm). Tiefenbohrungen in einer Dialektlandschaft. In Kehrein, R./Lameli, A./Rabanus, S. (ed.): Regionale Variation des Deutschen. Projekte und Perspektiven: 289–322. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.

Elspaß, Stefan/Möller, Robert (2015): Atlas zur deutschen Alltagssprache. (ADA). In Kehrein, R./Lameli, A./Rabanus, S. (ed.): Regionale Variation des Deutschen. Projekte und Perspektiven: 519–539. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.

Fleischer, J. et al. (2012): Die Erhebung syntaktischer Phänomene durch die indirekte Methode: Ergebnisse und Erfahrungen aus dem Forschungsprojekt „Syntax hessischer Dialekt“ (SyHD). Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik 79(1): 2–42.

Ganswindt, Brigitte/Kehrein, Roland/Lameli, Kehrein (2015): Regionalsprache.de (REDE). In Kehrein, R./Lameli, A./Rabanus, S. (ed.): Regionale Variation des Deutschen. Projekte und Perspektiven: 425–457. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.

Schmidt, J.E./Herrgen, J. (2011) Sprachdynamik. Eine Einführung in die moderne Regionalsprachenforschung. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag.

Gay Frysk: Expressing LGBT identity in a minority language


LGBT youth use linguistic practices to construct their sexual and gender identities (Munson & Babel, 2007). In this poster, we discuss the question of whether young LGBT speakers of Frisian do this as well.

There are a number of reasons to assume that sexual and gender identity expression is not prevalent in Frisian. Firstly, Frisian function predominantly as a home language. The dominant language of socialisation in schools is Dutch, especially in more urban areas, and it is likely that identity expression occurs mostly in that language — and to a lesser extent in English (cf. Vriesendorp & Rutten, 2017). Secondly, Frisian is associated with rurality and through that with conservative values and ideals of gender roles that may not square with an LGBT identity.

In this poster, we present pilot results from a project researching the language of Frisian LGBT youth. The results are based on an analysis of c. 50 sociolinguistic interviews with Frisian speaking youth aged 16–22 of various genders and sexualities.

We focus on two variables:

(s) — A fronted pronunciation of /s/ has been shown cross-linguistically to vary by gender and to be used by gay men as an identity marker (Mack & Munson, 2012; Pharao et al., 2014; Bekker & Levon, 2017; Munson et al., 2017). Because of this strong cross-linguistic pattern, this feature may also be used by Frisian LGBT youth to express their identity.

(sk) — The pronunciation of final -sk clusters in Frisian is undergoing change from /sk/ to /s/. As change is typically led by women and gay men, this is a salient feature available for identity expression. However, as (sk) also varies by level of literacy (Hilton et al., 2012), and given the frequent association of gay men with proper, precise speech (Eckert, 2008), LGBT youth may also lag rather than lead in this particular change.

We hope that this work inspires more research into language variation and LGBT identity in minority or peripheral language communities.



Eckert, P. (2008). Variation and the indexical field. Journal of Sociolinguistics 12. 453–476.

Bekker, I. & Levon, E. (2017). The embedded indexical value of /s/-fronting in Afrikaans and South African English. Linguistics 55. 1109–1139.

Hilton, N.H et al. (2012). The effect of writing skills on phonetic variation: The case of word-final /sk/ in Frisian. Paper presented at Dei fan de Fryske taalkunde, Fryske Akademy, Leeuwarden, 14 December 2012.

Mack, S. & Munson, B. (2012). The influence of /s/ quality on ratings of men’s sexual orientation. Journal of Phonetics 40. 198–212.

Munson, B. & Babel, M. (2007). Loose lips and silver tongues, or, projecting sexual orientation through speech. Language and Linguistics Compass 1. 416–449.

Munson, B. et al. (2017). Implicit and explicit gender priming in English lingual sibilant fricative perception. Linguistics 55. 1073–1107.

Pharao, N. et al. (2014). Indexical meanings of [s+] among Copenhagen youth. Language in Society 43. 1–31.

Vriesendorp, H. & Rutten, G. (2017). ‘Omg zo fashionably english.’ Taal en Tongval 69. 47–70.

How Language Technology Meets the World's Linguistic Diversity in Smartphone Keyboard Applications


With the advent of social media, many language varieties that were previously typically not written are increasingly commonly written (e.g. Kral 2010, Cunliffe et al. 2013, Jongbloed-Faber et al. 2013, and Nguyen et al. 2015). Frequently, social media are accessed using smartphones, where text input is facilitated by a virtual-screen keyboard application, displaying a keyboard layout (such as QWERTY or AZERTY) on-screen and using the touchscreen capability to detect taps or gestures. Because smartphone screens are small, machine-learning language technologies like predictive text and auto-correction can help make virtual-keyboard input faster and more accurate (Ouyang 2017). Historically, these technologies were available in about 100 languages; to support users across the world, they need to be brought to many more languages (ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission 2017).

This poster will sketch the process of building out smartphone keyboard support for a new language, including layout design and the creation of machine-learning language models. Then, we will discuss in more detail some challenges posed by language variation in our efforts to bring more languages to our keyboard application. We will also discuss some sociolinguistic observations made along the way.

Specifically, we will focus on approaches to modeling language varieties with a large degree of internal linguistic variation, e.g. Romansh or Limburgish, where providing high-precision auto-corrections is challenging due to orthographic and lexical variation, which also complicates providing accurate next-word predictions. We will discuss feedback from some user experience studies and sketch potential future work.

Another interesting challenge we have observed is that even when support for a given language variety does become available, awareness and use of this new technology tends to spread only slowly. This means speakers continue to use a suboptimal input method for their variety, e.g. using the English input setting and overriding the auto-correct functionality word-by-word until the keyboard application "learns" the target language, while a better alternative is available. We will discuss qualitative observations from our user experience research as to why this happens, and possible mitigations.



Cunliffe, D. et al. (2013). Investigating the differential use of Welsh in young

speakers’ social networks: A comparison of communication in face-to-face settings in

electronic texts and on social networking sites. In: Jones, E. H. G. and Uribe-Jongbloed,

E. (eds.): Social media and minority languages: Convergence and the creative industries: 75-86. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission (2017): The State of Broadband 2017: Broadband catalyzing sustainable development. Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development.

Jongbloed-Faber, L. et al. (2013): Language use of Frisian bilingual teenagers on social media.

Treballs de Sociolingüística Catalana 26: 27-54.

Kral, I. (2010): Plugged in: remote Australian indigenous youth and digital culture. Canberra: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research.

Nguyen, D. et al (2015): Audience and the use of minority languages on Twitter. Proceedings of the Ninth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media: 666–669.

Ouyang, T. et al (2017): Mobile Keyboard Input Decoding with Finite-State Transducers. CoRR abs/1704.03987.

Change of multilingualism: language situations of 20th Century Yiddish Speakers


Uriel Weinreichs’ atlas-project the »Language and Culture Archive of Ashkenazic Jewry« (LCAAJ) can be regarded as the last attempt of interviewing Yiddish speakers which were born into the old language area before the holocaust: »[…] what we do not collect in the coming decade or so will be lost forever« (Weinreich 1962: 27). It offers invaluable insights into the structure and language situation of the former Yiddish dialects.

Between 1959 and 1972 fieldworkers of the LCAAJ collected over 5.700 hours of interviews with nearly 1.000 speakers born in 603 different places. They all grew up with different, and sometimes multiple coterritorial contact languages (cf. Figure 1). Even though the informants found themselves in quite new surroundings after WWII, in linguistic terms they were still immersed in a multilingal setting.



Weinreich, Uriel (1962): Multilingual dialectology and the new Yiddish atlas. Anthropological Linguistics, 6–22.

Microvariation in stop realization as a consistent regional feature of Danish


This poster presents research in which microvariation in the realization of stop consonants in Danish is mapped on the basis of multiple acoustic parameters. Previous research (Puggaard 2018) has indicated consistent microvariation in the realization of /t/ in both Voice Onset Time (VOT) and the extent of affricated release on the basis of dialect area. The current poster expands on that research, investigating regional variation in the realization of all Danish stops /b,d,g,p,t,k/. This study focuses on the Jutland peninsula, using a subset of a very large audio corpus (5,000+ hours) of older stages of dialectal Danish (Andersen 1981). The subset consists of recordings from the period 1971-1976 of speakers who were elderly at the time of recording. Recordings of speakers from around 200 different parishes were used.

In a highly influential study, Lisker & Abramson (1964) proposed that phonological stops generally cluster into the neat categories of pre-voiced, voiceless and aspirated. While these three main types of VOT provide a useful typological classification, later studies (e.g. Cho & Ladefoged 1999) have indicated that VOT patterns are continuous rather than categorical. Likewise, there are other factors than VOT that may provide important cues to stop distinctions, and for some languages such as Swiss German (Kraehemann 2001), VOT plays no role at all in the distinction between fortis and lenis categories. Major differences in phonetic cues for stop distinctions have thus been found across languages; the current study takes a microtypological perspective and investigates how the phonetic cues differ within a single language.

In this study, microvariation in stop realization is measured on the basis of both VOT and other relevant acoustic features, such as the center of gravity and development of affrication noise throughout the aspiration phase of relevant stops. There are consistent patterns of variation in both VOT and the spectral pattern of the aspiration phase – Southern dialects have longer and noisier stops than Northern ones, and these differences are continuous – but also in the patterns of reduction and lenition. These patterns of variation cannot be explained on the basis of physiological considerations; rather, they must be learned by the speaker. This has implications concerning the level of phonetic granularity that is assumed to be relevant in the perception and production of language, as well as the level of phonetic granularity assumed to be relevant in imparting social meaning, such as that used in communicating and perceiving information about the geographical origin of oneself and one’s interlocutor.



Andersen, T.A. (1981): Dialektbånd og databehandling. Ord & Sag 1: 11-18.

Cho, T. & P. Ladefoged (1999): Variation and universals in VOT. Evidence from 18 languages. Journal of Phonetics 27: 207-229.

Kraehenmann, Astrid (2001): Swiss German stops. Geminates all over the word. Phonology 18: 109-145.

Lisker, L. & A.S. Abramson (1964): A cross-language study of voicing in initial stops. Acoustical measurements. Word 20 3: 384-422.

Puggaard, R. (2018): Realizations of /t/ in Jutlandic dialects of Danish. Linguistica Lettica 26: 368-393.

14:00-15:40 Session 8A: Language Contact
Location: Brussels
Variation between closely related languages: Finnish-Karelian language contact


The core of this presentation is a language contact and variation between two closely related languages: Finnish and Karelian. Border Karelia was part of Finland before the Second World War. The Karelian language was a spoken language in Border Karelia. Most Karelian speakers living in Finland come from this region. Nowadays Karelian is a minority language spoken in Finland and in Russia. According to the latest research, the number of Karelian speakers in Finland is about 5,000 – 10,000 and in Russia about 25,000. (Koivisto 2018.)

Current research investigates the variation of the active past participle in Border Karelian dialects as a case study of variation using Cross-tabulation and Decision tree modeling as the main statistical methods (Baayen 2008; 2013; Riazi 2016). Research material consists of 3,500 examples of singular active past participle forms used in grammatical constructions. I analyze one hour of speech from every informant, 42 hours in total. This research data is a part of The Corpus of Border Karelia. All informants come from Border Karelia. The data recording was done during 1960–70. Typically, one or two forms of the participle are present in one dialect form. However, nine or even more variants may vary in Border Karelian dialects. In addition to two languages, there were also two dialects of Karelian overlapping in Border Karelia and influencing each other (Palander & al. 2018: 11). The focus of the research is on morphosyntactic environment that describes the occurrence of each variant of the participle. The main aim of investigation is to study how and through what linguistic context Finnish forms of the participle were borrowed into Karelian and what is a territorial and individual distribution of the variation. The border between Finnish and Karelian is not that clear on the area. The high level of variation is an evidence of gradual language change or a dialect continuum. Speaker-level variation is high.  

I will present the results of statistical tests and evaluate their usage from the language contact and variation point of view. The analysis of variation could support the standardization of the endangered Karelian language. I will briefly cover the present situation of Karelian and language revitalization.    



Baayen, R. H. (2008). Analyzing Linguistic Data. A Practical Introduction to Statistics Using R. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Baayen, R. H. (2013). Multivariate statistics. In Podesva, R. & Sharma, D. (eds.): Research Methods in Linguistics: 337-372. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Koivisto, V. (2018). Border Karelian dialects: A diffuse variety of Karelian. In Palander M., Riionheimo H. & Koivisto V. (eds.): On the Border of Language and Dialect: 56-84. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society.

Palander M., H. Riionheimo & V. Koivisto (2018). Introduction: Creating and Crossing Linguistic Borders. In Palander M., Riionheimo H. & Koivisto V. (eds.): On the Border of Language and Dialect: 7-15. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society.

Riazi, A. (2016). The Routledge Encyclopedia of Research Methods in Applied Linguistics: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed-methods Research. London & New York: Routledge.

Shifting borders, shifting languages: Investigating the commemorative cityscape at the Polish-German border


In this paper we investigate the ways in which changes in official language as a consequence of the shifting German-Polish border are semiotically encoded in language choices in the street names of two urban linguistic landscapes. The paper centers around two cities that have changed political allegiance due to the redrawing of national boundaries in the past century: Poznan (which became Polish post-1920, reverted back to Germany 1939-1945 and again back to Poland post-1945) as well as Słubice (which has been in Poland since 1945). Our research focuses on streets that are vital for the reader’s understanding of the semiotic syntax of the cityscape, including street names which designate institutions in the city (city hall, museums, etc.), those which serve as orientation to transportation and administrative landmarks (Poststrasse [post office street], Bahnhofstrasse [train station street]), those leading towards other cities (Berlinerstrasse, Stettinstrasse), as well as such that are commemorative of the historical personages that capture the respective state ideology of the changing regimes (i.e. from Bismarckstrasse to ulica Pilsudski).

The analysis is based on a mixed methodological approach which draws on critical historical geography (Azaryahu 1986), the Discourse Historical Approach (Wodak & Meyer 2009, Wodak & Forchtner 2014), GIS visualisation techniques (Buchstaller & Alvanides 2018) as well as quantitative methods derived from VALS (variationist landscape studies, see Soukoup 2016). Our findings show that ideological political changes are encoded in the city landscape to varying extent, depending on time, political context and function/positionality of the individual street. The interdisciplinary research design of our project allows us to pinpoint the localised ways in which cities that find themselves juggling the communicative needs of abrupt changes in official language find localised solutions that respond to social semiotic constraints as well as the pragmatic demands of the temporal succession in ideological climate.



Azaryahu, M. 1986. “Street Names and Political Identity: The Case of East Berlin”. Journal of Contemporary History 21: 581-604.

Buchstaller, I. & S. Alvanides. 2018. “Mapping the linguistic landscapes of the Marshall Islands”. Journal of Linguistic Geography.

Soukup, B. 2016. “English in the linguistic landscape of Vienna, Austria (ELLViA): Outline, rationale, and methodology of a large-scale empirical project on language choice on public signs from the perspective of sign-readers”. Vienna English Working Papers, Online.

Wodak, R. & M. Meyer. 2009. Methods of Critical Disourse Analysis. Sage.

Wodak, R. & B. Forchtner. 2014. “Embattled Vienna 1683/2010: right-wing populism, collective memory and the fictionalisation of politics.” Visual Communication 13: 231-255.

Dialect contact and vernacular formation among Greek-Canadians.


We examine the usage pattern of three different morphological features in the speech of Greek immigrants to Canada during the period 1945 to 1975 in order to determine whether this pattern provides evidence of dialect contact among the population of these new communities. Specifically, we investigate:

  1. The variation between the Standard Modern Greek (SMG) variant /usa/, and the non-standard /aɣa/ for the 1st person singular active of class 2 verbs (Browning, 1983).
  2. The variation between the SMG variant /odan/ and non-standard forms (such as /odusan/ and /osande/) for the 3rd person plural of passive voice (Kretschmer, 1905).
  3. The variation between presence of the unstressed past tense prefix (/e/) (non-standard) and its absence (SMG), (Ralli, 2005).

The study utilizes the corpus of recorded sociolinguistic interviews which were conducted for the purposes of the project Immigration and Language in Canada: Greeks and Greek Canadians (Immigrec, Anastassiadis et al., 2017). 443 speakers of Greek who immigrated to Canada during what is known as the second wave of Greek migration have been recorded, and approximately half of these interviews (210 at the moment) have been orthographically transcribed and time-aligned in Praat text grids. The participants represent both sexes, and almost all dialectal areas (13, of the 15 listed in (Trudgill, 2003) as well as three urban centers (Athens, Thesaloniki, Patras). There is also a wide spectrum of educational backgrounds, ranging from primary education to university.

Up to this point we have examined 120 of these interviews, which have yielded roughly 1500 tokens per variable. Our analysis shows that there is variation between features that belong to different style registers of Modern Greek. The variation corroborates the hypothesis that, even though at the time of immigration Greece was in a diglossic state (Frangoudaki, 1992), in which the High language was an archaizing variety, the synthesis of the common vernacular had already begun (cf. Horrocks, 2010). In terms of the imperfective, we find not only the adoption of the SMG forms by dialectal speakers; we also have examples of usage of the non-standard forms (/aɣa/, /odusan/) by speakers of varieties that do not employ these suffixes.



Anastassiadis, A., Ralli, A., Gekas, A., Pappas, P. A., Papanagiotou, C., Siotou, A., Tsimpouris, Ch., Tsolakidis, S. (2017). Immigration and Language in Canada: Greeks and Greek Canadians. [Electronic Database]. Retrieved from https://immigrec.com/en.

Browning, R. (1983). Medieval and Modern Greek (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Frangoudaki, A. (1992). Diglossia and the Present Language Situation in Greece: A Sociological Approach to the Interpretation of Diglossia and Some Hypotheses on Today’s Linguistic Reality. Language in Society, 21(3), 365–381.

Horrocks, G. C. (2010). Greek. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Kretschmer, P. (1905). Neugriechische Dialektstudien I. Der heutige lesbische Dialekt. Wien: Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften.

Ralli, A. (2005). Morphology [Μορφολογία]. Athens: Patakis.

Trudgill, P. (2003). Modern Greek dialects: A preliminary classification. Journal of Greek Linguistics, 4, 45–63.

What drives the choice between pre- and postverbal negation? A case of South Estonian Seto

ABSTRACT. What drives the choice between pre- and postverbal negation? A case of South Estonian Seto

In typological research it has been found that postverbal negation is much rarer than preverbal negation, i.e. there is a general tendency to place the negator before the main verb in standard negation (Dahl 2010: 23, Dryer 2013). South Estonian Seto, which is spoken in the border area of Estonia and Russia, is an exception among Uralic languages as it uses predominantly postverbal negation, i.e. the negator systematically follows the main verb.

However, there are three possible orderings of negation marker and main verb in Seto: preverbal (1), post-verbal (2), and double negation (3). Thereat, the postverbal negation marker is the most frequent and unmarked pattern. This feature distinguishes Seto dialect from other Finnic languages; only Veps, Lude, and Insular dialect of Estonian allow postverbal negation as a minor pattern.  

(1)   ei        võiq     jättäq               vällä

       neg     can       leave:inf         out

       ‘can not leave out’

(2) ku        marju               saa       as,       syss…

       when   berry.pl.prt    get       neg     then

       ‘when (we) did not get berries, then…’

(3) inne     ei         tulõ      vällä    eiq       ku        keskpäivä

       before neg      come   out       neg     than     mid.day.prt

       ‘(S)he doesn’t come out before the mid-day’  

Historically, all Uralic languages have had a negative auxiliary verb, which has been conjugated for mood, tense and person (Janhunen 1982). The negative auxiliary has lost most of its verbal features in Estonian. In South Estonian Seto, it has retained the difference between the present and past tense: ei(q) ~ õi(q) ~ ai(q) is used in the present tense and es ~ õs ~ as in the past tense (ex.-s 1, 2). When used postverbally, the negative auxiliary is usually cliticized, e.g. saa-as ~ saa-s ‘do not get’.  

In this paper, we look at the variation between pre- and postverbal negation in East Seto (spoken in present-day Russia), based on data gathered in fieldwork trips in 2010-2011. Applying quantitative methods (regression modeling, conditional inference trees, and random forest), we look for the variables that affect the choice between pre- and postverbal negation. Our preliminary results show that linguistic factors (such as tense and mood) do not play an important role in explaining the variation. The variation is rather affected by previous context (there are persistence effects, i.e. tendencies to repeat linguistic patterns, Szmrecsanyi 2005) and speaker. Although the main dominant languages in the area (Russian and Estonian) both use preverbal negation, Seto has well retained postverbal negation: about 80% of negative clauses in Seto represent postverbal negation.



Dahl, Östen (2010). Typology of negation. In Laurence R. Horn (ed.) The Expression of negation, 9-38. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Dryer, Matthew (2013). Order of negative morpheme and verb. In Matthew Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds.) The World Atlas of Language Structures Online. Available at http://wals.info/chapter/143.

Janhunen, Juha (1982). On the structure of Proto-Uralic. Finnisch-ugrische Forschungen 44, 23–42.

Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt (2005). Language users and creatures of habit: a corpus-based analysis of persistence in spoken English. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory 1, 113-149.

14:00-15:40 Session 8B: Acquisition of Variation
Location: London
From adaptation to acquisition: an experimental investigation of sociophonetic accommodation to on-going sound change


Phonological changes start out as variation in phonetics ([1]). Sociophonetic variation thus offers a fertile ground to experimentally investigate the progression of (possible) sound changes. [2], for instance, capitalizes on sociophonetic differences between Netherlandic Dutch (‘ND’) and Flemish Dutch (‘FD’) to show changes in perception precede changes in production. The present paper extends and enhances the results from [2]’s large-scale comparisons of regional variation, using data from sociophonetic migrants, i.e. people who migrate across sociophonetic boundaries and thus come to be surrounded by a different variety of the same language. These subjects provide an opportunity to study the acquisition of sound change in vivo, by operationalizing the acquisition of sound change as sociolinguistic accommodation. Prior research has shown that this is a long and difficult process, with variable outcomes ([3], a.o.).

I use laboratory-phonetic experiments to investigate the process of acquiring a sound change in Dutch-speaking Belgians who migrated to the Netherlands. Further extending [2], the focus is on the vowel system. Where the Belgian variety (Flemish Dutch, `FD’) has monopthongs [e:,ø:,o:] and weakly-diphthongized [ɛi,œy,ɑu], Netherlandic Dutch (‘ND’) developed diphthongs [ei,øy,ou,ɛi,œy,ɑu] over the past decades ([4]). I report a cross-sectional experiment comparing 45 ND speakers, 45 FD speakers, and 18 FD migrants who have lived in the Netherlands for a long time (mean = 18.71 years, SD = 11.18 years).  Production (word-list) and perception data (rhyme decision with morphed stimuli; allophone discrimination) were collected. A cluster analysis showed marked differences in production: the ND and FD groups are internally homogeneous and significantly different from each-other, and six of the eighteen FD migrants have adapted to ND, a difference which is significant (p < .01). Puzzlingly, and against [2], results from the perception tasks are unclear: no clusters can be identified.

The large differences between individuals and between the tasks have implications for the evolution of language variation into language change. The difference between the tasks indicates a role for categorical perception, which has implications for the learnability of sound change (consonants: acquisition of perception change easy, acquisition of production change difficult; vowels: the opposite). An explanation is offered in terms of [5]’s model of the learnability of variation.



[1] Ohala, J.J. (1989). Sound change is drawn from a pool of synchronic variation. Language change: Contributions to the study of its causes, 173-198.

[2] Pinget, A.C.H. (2015). The actuation of sound change. Utrecht: LOT.

[3] Blondeau, H., & Sankoff, G. (2007). Language change across the lifespan: /r/ in Montreal French. Language 83, 560–588.

[4] Van de Velde, H. (1996). Variatie en verandering in het gesproken Standaard-Nederlands. Nijmegen: Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen.

[5] Boersma, P.P.G. (1998). Functional Phonology. Formalizing the interactions between articulatory and perceptual drives. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.

On the importance of distinguishing three types of intra-speaker variation: Probabilistic conceptualization, underspecified form-meaning mappings and true speech errors


There is a recent increased interest in probabilistic approaches to grammar and syntactic variation (see especially articles in Grafmiller 2018, Bresnan and Hay 2008 and Manning 2003). Although these studies provide valuable data for modelling linguistic variation and change, their general monostratal approach leads to simplifications concerning the nature of the individuals’ linguistic competence, that potentially obscure our understanding of language acquisition, linguistic change and the psychology of language.

I will argue that attested intraspeaker variation must be split into three different types: (1) variation in how to conceptualize an event or state (the message level in production models like Bock & Levelt 1994); (2) non-deterministic mappings from (conceptualized) meaning to form (Grammatical encoding in B&L); and (3) true speech errors. The first type of variation is presumably best described in a probabilistic manner, with soft constraints, and covers “grammatical” phenomena such as choice of Voice (Passive/Active), Tense/Aspect and Possessive construction, but also lexical phenomena such as level of specification of the utterance (e.g. “I saw a bird/a black bird/a crow”). This variation lies outside the scope of traditional rule-based/generative approaches. The second type involves true synonymy between different word orders and is best described in terms of underspecified mappings from meaning to form on a “post-construction” level. Here, neither argument structure, information structure nor length has a direct effect on word order (with the possible exception of certain prosodic repairs). Examples of this include placement of light pronouns w.r.t. noun phrase subjects and adverbs in Swedish, NP-object placement in relation to certain particles in Icelandic, and embedded verb placement in Faroese. This type is certainly much rarer and occurs during language change (and may be missing from a language at a certain stage). Yet, this variation can be found over several generations (Kroch 2001) and should be seen as evidence that language learners and users can cope with truly stochastic processes in grammar. The third type, speech errors (see e.g. Garrett 1993), should be treated as spontaneously produced ungrammatical sentences (e.g. producing “You ordered up ending a fish dish” with the intended message “You ended up…”). As soon as one accepts the existence of speech of errors, one also accepts a categorical notion of (un)grammaticality.

From large-scale corpus studies, the three types of variation may look like the same phenomenon, and the challenge is to find the right methods for teasing them apart. Based on data from a large-scale production experiments conducted on closely related varieties of Scandinavian (Larsson&Lundquist 2018), I will argue that one and the same word order variation in one variety can be described as type 1-variation (conceptualization), in another variety as underspecification (type 2), and in a third as a simple speech error (type 3). The language learner will try to treat variation as meaningful (e.g. type 1), and as far as possible avoid underspecified form-meaning mappings, leading to relatively rapid development of new grammatical patterns.

Sociocognitive salience and L2 acquisition of structured variation: Evidence from quotative be like


Quotative be like is a rapid global innovation that has been attested at elevated rates in English-speaking communities worldwide (Buchstaller 2014; Labov 2018). The speed with which be like has been making inroads into L1 English vernaculars have attracted attention from students of language change who, in turn, have been able to ascertain that be like is not a mere lexical innovation but inherent part of the variable system called quotative marking, illustrated in (1) through (4):

  1. He said, ‘Take off your shirt. Now!’
  2. But I was standing in front of a group of people and thought, ‘Are you kiddin’ me? No f** way!’
  3. After which he was like, ‘Oh, okay, forget it!’
  4. And I, and I, “(making an emotional face).”

Crucially, its use can be predicted from a set of language-internal and language-external constraints that have been shown be highly uniform in L1 English (Tagliamonte, D’Arcy and Rodrígez-Louro 2016). The study reported here sets out to explore the language-internal mechanism of adaptation of the innovative variant in non-native speaker communities that use English as a second and a foreign language. The analysis draws on data stemming from 177 young adults (aged 18 to 26) – 80 from India and 97 from Germany – resulting in an overall set of 3530 quotations. While relying on evidence obtained from mixed-effects modelling run in Rbrul (Johnson 2009), I show that there are remarkable similarities underpinning the use of quotative be like. These are evidenced by (i) the relative frequencies; (ii) the significance and relative impact of language-internal predictors; and (iii) the ordering of individual constrains. This finding is, indeed, surprising as it runs counter to what we know about L2 acquisition of structured variation (cf. Labov 2007; see also AUTHOR XX for an overview). With this said, I argue that what must have guided L2 English learners into a successful appropriation of the patterns of structured variation are the high levels of sociocognitive salience attached to quotative be like. In so doing, elaborate on a theoretical definition of sociocognitive salience and explain how be like is a sociocognitively salient feature of speech.




Buchstaller, Isabelle. 2014. Quotatives. New trends and sociolinguistic implications. (Language in Society 41). Malden [etc.]: Wiley Blackwell.

Labov, William. 2018. The role of the Avant Garde in linguistic diffusion. Language Variation and Change 30(1): 1–21.

Labov, William. 2007. Transmission and diffusion. Language 83(2). 344–387.

Tagliamonte, Sali A., Alexandra D’Arcy & Celeste Rodríguez Louro. 2016. Outliers, impact, and rationalization in linguistic change. Language 92(4). 824–849.

14:00-15:40 Session 8C: New Methods
Location: Madrid
Mogst a weng a Schnitzala? A psycholinguistic approach to modality in the Bavarian nominal domain


The quantifying expression a weng is the Bavarian version of Standard German ein wenig (‘a bit’). However, in addition to its use as a quantifier, we claim that there is a modal function associated with a weng when used with evaluative predicates, similar to Horn’s (1989) ‘conventionalized strengthening rule’: evaluative expressions like ‘not very nice’ are interpreted as ‘not nice’. We propose that similarly, Bavarian examples like a weng a Fregger (‘a bit (of a) mischievous child’) can increase the strength of the evaluative features of the respective nominal expression (i.e., ‘a fairly mischievous child’), instead of decreasing them.

In this paper, we first introduce our hypotheses regarding the use of a weng as a modifier inside the nominal domain. Given our observations, we present data from two psycholinguistic experiments (data collection in progress) investigating the special status of a weng.

Exp.A. We present 50 speakers of Upper Franconian with snippets of conversation that contain emotive words such as nicknames or mild insults (see Fregger above). People judge the strength of the emotive content by using a gauge. According to the referential shrinking hypothesis (Kolmer, 1999), evaluative content should be diminished with the morphological diminutive marker -la and/or a weng, leading to lower values on the gauge, but according to a pragmatic strengthening account (Horn, 1989; Schiepek, 1908), it should be enhanced, leading to higher values.

Exp.B. We ask whether there is a literal meaning difference between the diminutive morpheme -la, a weng, and the unmarked form. Over headphones, 50 native speakers of Upper Franconian listen to a grocery list which contains items that are described with and without -la and/or a weng. Their task is to select the picture that best matches the item. If the diminutive -la and a weng shrink the referent, the average size of a chosen referent will be smaller for a word with -la and/or a weng, as opposed to a word without these Bavarian expressions. We hypothesize that if pragmatic strengthening is triggered by the emotivity of the nominals that are modified by a weng and -la, both the diminutive and a weng should be interpreted literally in this experiment: participants should choose the smaller items.

CONCLUSIONS. These experiments will show whether a weng can carry a modal component of intensification and to what extent this modal reading depends on the interaction between a weng and the emotivity of the nominals it modifies. We will connect our findings to recent work on the evaluative potential of diminutives (Fortin, 2011), and we move the study of dialectal variation closer to new methods in psycholinguistics.


References (selection):

Horn, L. (1989). A natural history of negation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Kolmer, A. (1999). Zur MASS/COUNT-Distinktion im Bairischen: Artikel und Quantifizierung. Universität Köln, Arbeitspapier Nr.34.

Schiepek, J. (1908). Der Satzbau der Egerländer Mundart, vol.2. Verlag des Vereines für Geschichte der Deutschen in Böhmen.

The dictionary of the Southern Dutch Dialects (DSDD): designing a virtual research environment for digital lexicographical research


The southern Dutch dialect area consists of four dialect groups in three countries: (1) the Flemish dialects, spoken in French, West, East and Zeeland Flanders; (2) the Brabantic dialects; (3) the Limburgian dialects; (4) the Zeeland dialects, spoken in Zeeland and Goeree-Overflakkee.

The dialect vocabulary of the Flemish, Brabantic and Limburgian dialects is collected in three regional dictionaries (WVD, WBD and WLD respectively), which are set up according to the same plan, conceived by prof. A. Weijnen (Nijmegen): they are onomasiologically arranged and published in thematic fascicles.

The three dictionaries describe the vocabulary of the traditional dialects of the first half of the twentieth century in a joint international and inter-university project. They were set up in parallel in order to make possible the aggregation of the data. To that effect, in 2016 a consortium of 12 linguists, computer scientists, digital humanities experts and geographers was created to support the DSDD-project. It aims at the aggregation and standardization of the three comprehensive dialect lexicographic databases into one DSDD-database. Dialectologists from UGhent work closely with the Dutch Language Institute (INT) to prepare the ground for the aggregation of the Southern Dutch dialect databases and their exploitation via a Virtual Research Environment for digital lexicographical research. An API will be developed to enable the export of the aggregated DSDD-dataset for analysis with existing digital research tools. To evaluate the applicability of the newly aggregated DSDD for digital scholarship, some research use cases will be developed, for example in the fields of geo-visualisation, qualitative lexicology and dialectometry, based on existing research questions from the DSDD consortium, such as:

1. Lexical diversity is defined as the number of different words that exist to refer to a particular concept. What is the relationship between concepts and their lexical diversity? Why does lexical diversity differ dramatically between different concepts? (Franco, 2017).

2. What systematic lexico-geographical patterns do the southern Dutch dialects show? Do they coincide with the traditional ones, based on phonology? (see De Vriendt 2012).

3. How far can the geographical spread of dialectology concepts be explored through the automatic generation of heatmaps from linked geocoordinates? Is it possible to automatically detect the homogeneity (or heterogeneity) of a particular dialectical concept using segmentation and clustering techniques?

3. How can cluster analysis be used to explore the linkage (and visualisation) of linguistic data with synchronic and diachronic extralinguistic data of all kinds?

At ICLAVE10 we will propose the state of affairs of the new research environment and the possibilities for digital scholarship.



De Vriendt, F. (2012), Tools for Computational Analyses of Dialect Geography Data. PhD Radboud University Nijmegen.

Franco, K. (2017), Concept features and lexical diversity. A dialectological case study on the relationship between meaning and variation. PhD KU Leuven.

Van Keymeulen, J. (1992), De algemene woordenschat in de grote dialectwoordenboeken (WBD, WLD, WVD): een methodologische reflectie. Onuitgegeven proefschrift, Ugent, Vakgroep Nederlandse Taalkunde

Mapping and Analyzing West-Germanic Varieties in the REDE SprachGIS


The REDE SprachGIS online application (available via www.regionalsprache.de) offers numerous options to search dialectological and, more generally, variation-linguistic materials quickly and easily. The application is available free of charge, as it is funded by the Academy of Sciences and Literatur in Mainz. The system’s primary focus is on West-Germanic varieties as it makes materials on German, Dutch, Frisian, Danish, Yiddish, and among others, available in the form of ca. 30 (linguistic) atlases, ca. 6,000 speech recordings, and more than 50,000 historical questionnaires (Wenkerbogen). With regard to the Dutch and West-Frisian language areas, the system currently offers digitized versions of the atlases Concise Linguistic Atlas of Dutch (KNSA), Fränkischer Sprachatlas (FSA), and the cross-border atlas Dialekt à la carte: Dialektatlas Westmünsterland – Achterhoek – Liemers – Niederrhein (DWALN). These materials permit a precise documentation of the language situation in the 19th and early 20th centuries for these areas, which serves a basis for investigating language change.

This talk will first introduce the materials that the REDE SprachGIS makes available and demonstrate some possibilities of doing an analysis with the aforementioned materials. Then, we will show how users can combine these materials with external data. This can be done for example by importing their own data from any area in the world, which can then be directly mapped in the system according to the users’ needs. In order to accommodate different users, the REDE SprachGIS offers several visualization possibilities illustrated in Figure 1a–1c, including point-symbol maps (1a), pie charts (1b), bar graphs, and choropleth maps (1c).


Figure 1a point-symbol-maps

Figure 1b pie-chart-map

Figure 1c choropleth-map (using the  Voronoi tessellation)

Figure 1a–c: Different visualizations of imported datasets

The maps can then be exported easily in various formats, and also published online in the system. Initially started as a mapping system focused on German-speaking areas, the REDE SprachGIS has developed into a worldwide mapping application and has also been made available with an English user interface. Thus, scholars dealing with any language or linguistic area are invited to use this system to map and publish their own space-related linguistic data.

This talk will introduce the system and present its contents and basic functions.



Schmidt, Jürgen Erich/Herrgen, Joachim/Kehrein, Roland (eds.) (2008 et seq.): Regionalsprache.de (REDE). Forschungsplattform zu den modernen Regionalsprachen des Deutschen. Prepared by Dennis Bock, Brigitte Ganswindt, Heiko Girnth, Simon Kasper, Roland Kehrein, Alfred Lameli, Slawomir Messner, Christoph Purschke, Anna Wolańska. Marburg: Forschungszentrum Deutscher Sprachatlas.

From 'wounds' to 'lacerations': variation in Flemish legal documents


 In this contribution, the variation between so-called Flemish ‘legalese’ (Kimble, 2012) and everyday language will be looked into more closely by means of a textual analysis. Even though professional jargon is often labeled as a specific register or genre of language (Bhatia, 2014), legalese can also be treated as a language variety (Heylen & Ruette, 2013; Mattila, 2016). This variety is often identified as a language which is incomprehensible, not only due to the legal jargon but also because of the use of long-winded sentences and complex constructions. The legalese variety will be put against corpora of everyday language and, at the same time, it will be broken down into more specific varieties of legalese. This study will more clearly position the judicial jargon in the linguistic landscape and determine the variety’s specifics.

Legal documents show a threefold of internal variance: differences between types of courts, document types, and document-internal sections. Firstly, the distance of the court towards the public impacts the type of language used. In our legal corpus, this ranges from a distant Supreme Court to a less distant Peace Court. Secondly, there are various types of documents which have a varying distance and relevance for the receiver in terms of the document’s goal. For instance, a judgment is relevant but might be more distant because of the legal-specific argumentation. A summons, on the other hand, is also relevant and might be less distant because of its brevity. Thirdly, a document might exhibit internal variance based on its various sections. A section which lists formalities of a judgment can be defined as less relevant than a section which contains the actual facts of the judgment. Overall, the textual analysis will validate whether differences between various types of courts, legal documents and document-internal sections also translate to actual examples of linguistic variance.

A linguistically annotated corpus of unpublished legal documents is used as main source of the analysis. These enriched documents are compared to two large benchmark corpora via probabilistic language modelling and more specifically cross-entropy (Axelrod et al., 2011). Our benchmark corpora are considered to be an illustration of ‘normal’ / ‘plain’ language in its more spontaneous and comprehensible variety: the NLCOW internet corpus (Schäfer & Bildhauer, 2012) and the LeNC newspaper corpus (KU Leuven). The method of cross-entropy will assess all documents both lexically and syntactically in order to fully grasp the linguistic variance.



Axelrod, A., He, X. & Gao, J. (2011). Domain Adaptation via Pseudo In-Domain Data Selection. EMNLP’11: 355-362.

Bhatia, V. (2014). Analysing genre: Language use in professional settings. London: Routledge.

Heylen, K. & Ruette, T. (2013). Degrees of semantic control in measuring aggregated lexical distances. In Approaches to Measuring Linguistic Differences. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.

Kimble, J. (2012). Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please. Carolina: Academic Press.

Mattila, H. (2016). Comparative Legal Linguistics. London: Routledge.

Schäfer, R., & Bildhauer, F. (2012). ‘Building Large Corpora from the Web Using a New Efficient Toolchain’. LREC’12: 486-493.

14:00-15:40 Session 8D: Panel Phonemic Splits
Location: Moscow
A difference without a distinction? How speakers split word classes without acquiring new categories


In community-level language change, phonological mergers tend to spread at the expense of distinctions, an observation known as “Herzog’s Principle” (Labov 1994). Labov and others (e.g. Herold 1990) have explained this dialect-level observation in terms of asymmetric constraints on individuals in contact situations. For example, while a speaker who distinguishes cot/caught need only neutralize this contrast to accommodate to a merged dialect, a speaker with the cot/caught merger who would acquire a distinction between them must not only create a new category but determine, for potentially hundreds of lexical items, whether each belongs in this new category. I argue here that speakers can, even in adulthood, acquire a small phonetic distinction between two word classes that were previously merged; however, this split seems to be the result of gradient changes in individual lexical items, not a category-level split resulting in new phonemic structure.

Tokens of THOUGHT, CLOTH, and LOT were drawn from sociolinguistic interviews recorded in 2018 with 11 men and 11 women who lived in Toronto, Canada until at least age 18, then later moved to New York City, where they had lived for at least 5 years. Toronto English, like most of Canadian English, is characterized by a long-standing merger of the THOUGHT/CLOTH/LOT word classes (Boberg 2008); in contrast, the New York City region is one of a few areas in North America in which the low back vowel distinction remains robust (Labov et al. 2006).  Lobanov-normalized formants values were extracted using FAVE scripts (Rosenfelder et al 2014). Analysis with linear mixed effects models showed that 16/22 speakers exhibit a significant phonetic distinction between LOT and THOUGHT along the F2 dimension in their conversation speech. Moreover, high frequency LOT items were produced with significantly higher F2 than low frequency items, suggesting that most speakers are "undoing" their historical merger by fronting LOT.  At the same time, the size of this distinction is fairly small (nowhere near that of native New Yorkers), and speakers are not aware of the difference: speakers produce no distinction between cot and caught words in minimal pair tasks, and accordingly judge pairs to sound the same.  This suggests that speakers are not acquiring a new phonemic distinction, even as they start to diverge the relevant word classes as a result of contact. 



Boberg, C. (2008): English in Canada: Phonology. In Schneider, E.W. (ed.): Varieties of English: The Americas and the Caribbean, Volume 2: 1440169. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Herold, R. (1990) Mechanisms of merger: The implementation and distribution of the low back merger in Pennsylvania. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.

Labov, W. (1994) Principles of linguistic change: Internal factors. Oxford: Blackwell.

Labov, W, S. Ash, & C. Boberg. (2006). The Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, phonology, and sound change: A multimedia reference tool. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Rosenfelder, I, J.Fruehwald, K. Evanini, S. Seyfarth, K. Gorman, H. Prichard, & J. Yuan. (2014). FAVE 1.1.3. ZENODO. doi:10.5281/zenodo.9846

Crowdsourcing variation and change of FOOT / STRUT and TRAP / BATH across England


Dialects across England vary in different linguistic domains including morphosyntax, lexicon, as well as in phonetics and phonology. In terms of phonology, a typical marker of a Northern vs. Southern divide is the presence or absence of a split in the lexical sets FOOT and STRUT as well as in TRAP and BATH – with the North typically not showing such splits, as attested by mostly historical surveys (Orton & Dieth 1962; Wells 1982). Since the most recent nationwide survey of these splits is now over 50 years old, it is pertinent to ask whether these isoglosses have shifted over the past decades (see Britain 2002; Kettig 2015). Here we provide a first attempt at capturing contemporary nationwide variation of the two splits.

We analyzed data crowdsourced through the smartphone app ‘English Dialects’ (Leemann et al. 2018). Through the app, more than 3,500 speakers across the UK recorded a reading passage and, for the current study, we analyzed data from 112 speakers from 12 localities across England (Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Norwich, Nottingham, Peterborough, Sheffield, York). Audio recordings of 10-12 speakers per locality, aged between 18 and 30 were analyzed for the present study. The onset and offset boundaries of FOOT, STRUT, TRAP, and BATH vowels from the Boy Who Cried Wolf reading passage were force-aligned and then manually corrected using Praat (Boersma & Weenink 2018), before carrying out formant estimation.

Data analysis is still ongoing, but based on first exploration of the corpus (Britain et al 2016, Leemann et al. 2018), it appears that the FOOT / STRUT isogloss has moved in a northerly direction (with parts of Yorkshire already implementing the split), while the TRAP / BATH isogloss seems to have remained more stable or even have moved in a southerly direction, with the absence of the split spreading towards the south. This research will allow comparison with historical studies and enable us to expand our perspective from a focus on regional variation alone to include other relevant social factors such as age, gender, social class, ethnicity and educational background.



Boersma, P. & Weenink, D. (2018). Praat 2018 – http://www.fon.hum.uva.nl/praat/

Britain, D. (2001). Welcome to East Anglia!: two major dialect ‘boundaries’ in the Fens. In Peter Trudgill and Jacek Fisiak (eds.) East Anglian English. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. 217-242.

Britain, D., Grossenbacher, S., Leemann, A., Blaxter, T., and Kolly, M.-J. (2016). Smartphone app methodologies for regional dialectology: the English North-South divide in data from the English Dialects App. Conference on Spatial Boundaries and Transitions in Language and Interaction: Perspectives from Linguistics and Geography Monte Verità, Switzerland.

Kettig, T. (2015). The BAD-LAD Split: a Phonetic Investigation (Doctoral dissertation, PhD. dissertation, Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge).

Leemann, A., Kolly, M.-J., & Britain, D. (2018). The English Dialects App: The creation of a crowdsourced dialect corpus. Ampersand, 5, 1-17.

Orton, H., & Dieth, E. (1962). Survey of English dialects : Introduction. Leeds: E.J. Arnold.

Wells, J. (1982). Accents of English. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

The BATH TRAP split in the West Midlands a real time investigation


The West Midlands linguistic area is large, covering, according to Trudgill (2000) Birmingham and the Black Country, with its Western limits at Shropshire; north to Lancashire and West Yorkshire, and with southern limits in Central Worcestershire.

The Black Country area lies just to the north of the short /a/ versus long /ɑː/ isogloss (cf Wells 1982b:353) thus the variety has [a] in both BATH and TRAP sets. Thorne (2003:96) reports that there is variation between the northern [a] and the southern [ɑː] form in Birmingham, charting a split across time with some older working-class speakers using [a ~ ɑ:] for the BATH set in apparently free variation. Asprey reports [a:] among speakers in the southern Black Country (historically northern Worcestershire) in the BATH set.

Jeffries and Kailoglou (2017) report that in Worcester, speakers variably use [a], [ɑː] and [a:] for the BATH set. The [a:] variant is most consistently used by the older speakers, one of whom also uses [a:] in the PALM set but not the TRAP set. Younger middle-class speakers use more of the [ɑː] variant. Mees and Osorno also discuss this vowel with reference to social class in Cardiff (2015; 2017). Asprey (2007) found speakers in Stourbridge (the most south westerly location of her work in the Black Country) with [a:] in the BATH set.

The status of this split in the West Midlands is complex and unclear. In Worcester, the use of [ɑː] does not appear to be lexically driven, unlike the data from Thorne in Birmingham (2003) and Piercy (2011) in Dorset. Furthermore, in Worcester, some speakers use front variants of an intermediate length [aˑ].

This paper compares data from speakers in Birmingham and the Black Country with speakers from Worcestershire to tease out some of the ongoing changes in the distribution of [a ~ aˑ ~a:~ ɑ]. It compares 21 speakers from Worcestershire, recorded between 2013 and 2016, aged from 19 to 67, with 26 speakers from Birmingham and the Black Country recorded in 2017 in a traditional sociolinguistic interview, analysing tokens of the BATH and TRAP sets acoustically.



Asprey, E. (2007). Black Country English and Black Country Identity. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

Jeffries, E and L. Kailoglou, (2017). Not exactly West Midlands: findings from the Worcester Dialect Archive. Poster presented at the 11th UKLVC, Prifysgol Caerdydd, 29-30th August 2017.

Mees, I and C. Osorno (2015). Cardiff English : A Real Time Study of Stability and Change between Childhood and Mid-Adulthood. English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries 12:2, 53-77.

Mees, I and C. Osorno, (2017). The complexity of the BATH words  in Cardiff English. Linguistica 57:1, p. 229-245.

Piercy, C. (2011). One /a/ or Two?: Observing a Phonemic Split in Progress in the Southwest of England. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 17:2.

Thorne, S. (2003). ‘Birmingham English: a sociolinguistic study.’ Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Birmingham.

Trudgill, P. (2000). Dialects of England (2nd edition). Oxford: Blackwell.

Lexical set membership in contact varieties of English: the re-organisation of BATH and TRAP in Indian English


In this study we test the BATH-TRAP contrast in a cohort of 50 English-medium educated speakers of Indian English in their early twenties, at the start of their studies at the University of Edinburgh. The group of English-medium educated, and/or functionally native speakers of English has expanded dramatically in India in recent decades. The English ideal was once represented by the RP-focused “Educated Indian English” with a clear BATH-TRAP contrast (Mesthrie and Bhatt 2008, Nihalani et al 2004). However, increasingly varied models of English have helped more centralised variants (Wiltshire and Harnesberger 2006) and fronted BATH /ae/ vowels (Hansen Edwards 2015, Tan 2016) gain wider acceptance. We hypothesize that older variants for BATH and TRAP will demonstrate contrast (e.g. /a/ and /ae/, respectively), and newer variants for both BATH and TRAP will be under pressure from substrates (both Indo-Aryan and Dravidian) to centralise.

The BATH-TRAP variable offers three kinds of information: 1) group and individual variation in the realisation of the contrast; 2) variation within the BATH and TRAP sets, and 3) variable assignment of set membership to particular lexemes. Because the BATH set is the result of an uncompleted change, membership is quite arbitrary (gas vs grass). It is assumed that NS of a dialect with the contrast will control the set; less is known about functionally native speakers in a contact setting. 

Speakers were recorded producing BATH vowels in a diapix task (Baker and Hazan 2009), a word elicitation task, and two reading tasks. Overall the IndE speakers demonstrate a contrast in F2, but this is much less of a contrast than in the SSBE control group. For almost half of the individuals there is substantial overlap. The IndE speakers show more variability than the SSBE among the BATH lexical set, controlled partially by following phonetic environment. Gender is the only social factor that interacts with the contrast, with women more likely to have a contrast. We explain this with reference to divergent course choices in this particular group of international students: the women largely pursued courses where the older norm had high prestige (e.g. literature), while sampled men primarily followed courses where newer variants were more prevalent (e.g. IT, engineering).



Baker, R., & Hazan, V. (2009). Acousticphonetic characteristics of naturallyelicited clear speech in British English. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125(4), 2729-2729.

Hansen Edwards, J. G. (2015). Hong Kong English: attitudes, identity, and use. Asian Englishes, 17(3), 184-208.

Mesthrie, R., & Bhatt, R. M. (2008). World Englishes: The study of new linguistic varieties (Key Topics in Sociolinguistics). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nihalani, P., Tongue, R. K., Hosali, P., & Crowther, J. 2004. [1979] Indian and British English: A handbook of usage and pronunciation. Second edition. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Tan, Y. Y. (2016). The Americanization of the phonology of Asian Englishes: Evidence from Singapore. Communicating with Asia: The future of English as a global language, 120-134.

14:00-15:40 Session 8E: Panel Online Practices
Location: New York 3
Migration and Multilingualism in computer-mediated communication: practices of language choice and code-switching

ABSTRACT. The paper focuses on the practice of language choice in RuNet among migrants mostly from Uzbekiztan and Kyrgystan and other post-Soviet countries. The notion of computer-mediated communication (CMC) among immigrants is very fruitful for studies on linguistic diversity and for understanding of multilingual communication. Social media platforms are transforming migration since online channels provide a possibility for spreading information that is important to migrants’ life in the host society (Dekker, Engbersen 2014). CMC can link disintegrated family and support a sense of collective belonging (cf. ‘digital diaspora’, Diminescu, Loveluck 2014). Moreover, CMC is changing linguistic practices including the ways of speaking and writing in a second-language.

Computer-mediated communication (CMC) reflects a choice of language and code switching (Androutsopoulos 2007, 2013). Forums and thematic groups in popular networks joining migrants from CIS countries residing in Russian cities can be both in Russian and in other languages. There are examples of CMC in Uzbek among migrants including non-native Uzbek and such forums represents some grammar interference and phonetic traces of Kyrgyz pronunciation. The online communication in Russian as a second language contains specific linguistic features, which are common for non-native speakers from different ethnic groups.

As a result, people increasingly produce and encounter hybridized linguistic forms that become a constitutive element of everyday social practice. This paper will describe such communication including the language choice between Russian and Uzbek and, in particular, it focuses on language variation in these ‘hybridized linguistic forms’.



Androutsopoulos, J. (2007). Language choice and code switching in German-based diasporic web forums. In: Danet, B. and Herring, S. C. (Eds.), The multilingual Internet: Language, Culture, and Communication online (pp. 340–361). Oxford University Press.

Androutsopoulos, J. (2013). Networked multilingualism: Some language practices on Facebook and their implications. International Journal of Bilingualism 19 (2), 185–205

Dekker, R. and Engbersen, G. (2014). How social media transform migrant networks and facilitate migration. Global Networks 14, 401–418.

Diminescu, D. and Loveluck, B. (2014). Traces of dispersion: online media and diasporic identities. Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture 5 (1), 23–39.

Language use within the online space of Russian-speaking migrants in London

ABSTRACT. Russian-speaking migrants in London represent a broadly heterogeneous group of people, with their mother tongue sometimes being the only thing they have in common. Despite the distinctions which stem from their diverse background, they feel the need to communicate with each other in order to deal with day-to-day issues as well as to re-establish a certain kind of informal relationships they are used to (Byford 2014; Malyutina 2016; Pechurina 2015).

The migrants’ possibility to interact on a daily basis becomes much easier with the development of online social networking sites with Facebook being the most popular one. Online practices of interaction enable migrants to form entities with a high level of cooperation among their members. The Russian language there is not only a kind of lingua franca for people from the Russian Federation and the former Soviet Union countries, but also might become the main issue under discussion and the reason for intragroup conflicts.

Certain way of language behaviour becomes a marker of education, socio-economic status and commonality of biography points. The preferable patterns of interaction and even the use of either English or Russian within a certain online entity highly depend on its leaders’ agenda and core members’ intents and expectations. Drawing upon participant observation and in-depth interviews with moderators of popular Facebook groups and other migrants who are recognized as opinion-leaders within the online space of Russian-speakers in London, I explore what language use and patterns of communication they consider being acceptable or otherwise unfavorable. I also examine how the norms of language use introduced by the leaders influence the process of communication observed online, and how these norms transform online space either into social junctions and sources of mutual support or hostile environment for certain Russian-speakers.



Byford, A. (2014). Performing 'community': Russian-speakers in the contemporary Britain. In: Cairns, L. & Fouz-Hernández, S. (Eds.). Re-thinking ‘identities’ Western cultural articulations of alterity and resistance in the new millennium (pp. 115–39). London: Peter Lang.

Malyutina, D. (2016). Friendship in a ‘Russian bar’ in London: An ethnography of a young Russian-speaking migrant community. Urban Studies 55 (3), 589–604.

Pechurina, A. (2015). Material cultures, migrations, and identities: What the eye cannot see. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Practical aspects of living in ‘paradise’: Russian-speaking online community in Dahab, Egypt

ABSTRACT. Sociolinguistic studies on online communication in diasporic communities are important since they reveal both patterns of language variation and social, ethnic, and language stereotypes typical for those communities and shaping their identity construction and attitudes to other groups and individuals. ‘Classical’ diasporas, i.e. communities of people moved permanently to other countries from their own ones, are well-studied both sociologically and linguistically (for Russian diasporas see e.g. Ryazanova-Clarke 2014). Less established groups such as, e.g. seasonal labour migrants or downshifters, traditionally attracted less attention from researches; at the same time, with the recent focus on transnationalism (Bauböck and Faist 2010), it becomes evident that studies on such groups are important as well. Considering instability of memberships in such groups, digital communication can play a crucial role for them: it helps to maintain group identity and commitment among those who are temporary away from the group itself.

The paper deals with community of Russian speaking people (mostly Russian and Ukrainian by origin) permanently or temporarily staying in a city of Dahab, Egypt. It is based on the study of communication in several thematic Facebook groups dealing with different aspects of living there: accommodation; shopping; obtaining visas; education for children; sport activities; spiritual practices; entertainment. Announcements and comments in these groups are analyzed from several angles: usage of multilingual vs. monolingual practices; expressing different ethnic, social, and linguistic stereotypes; strategies of creating and maintaining group identity and belonging as well as alienation of others; rules and norms of in-group communication. Dahab is often pictured by members of these Facebook groups as a paradisiacal, or even mystical, place; maintaining this image is important for group identity. At the same time this idealized image enters into a conflict with many practical matters and problems of living there discussed on everyday basis, so different strategies of adjustment are used. Similarly, an attempt to live in imagined peaceful spiritual place and communicate politely collides with often aggressive and rude communicative habitus typical for Russian internet (see Kuntsman 2010; Zvereva 2012) creating very interesting case for sociolinguistic research.



Bauböck, R. and Faist, Th. (2010). Diaspora and Transnationalism: Concepts, Theories and Methods. Series: IMISCOE Research. Amsterdam University Press.

Kuntsman, A. (2010). Webs of hate in diasporic cyberspaces: the Gaza War in the Russian-language blogosphere. Media, War & Conflict 3 (3), 299–313.

Ryazanova-Clarke, L. (Ed.) (2014). The Russian Language Outside the Nation. Edinburgh University Press.

Zvereva, V. (2012). Setevye razgovory: Kul’turnye kommunikatsii v Runete [Network conversations: Cultural communications in RuNet]. Bergen: Slavica Bergensia. 2012. № 10.

On Facebook in Finland: the cultural language of Russian speakers online

ABSTRACT. Russian-speakers are the largest and fastest growing linguistic minority in Finland (as of 2016, over 75,000 people) and Russian has become the third most spoken language in Finland. In previous research on Russian-speaking immigrants in Finland researchers, emphasising different theoretical, methodological and practical aspects, have focused on the construction of cultural and ethnic identity within offline groups of migrants (Davydova 2009; Pöyhönen 2013; Varjonen et al. 2013), linguistic and educational challenges among young Russian-speaking migrants (Rynkänen and Pöyhönen 2010), learning and teaching of Russian as a heritage language (Protassova 2008), and the values Russian-speaking people attach to their linguistic repertoire (Lähteenmäki and Vanhala-Aniszewski 2012).

In social media, Russian is a tool that enables communication between immigrants who came to Finland from different post-Soviet countries, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and so on. Online communities can be seen as a resource for the discursive production, performance and dissemination of identities, while their linguistic and discursive resources may be used to index the social, ethnic, and cultural diversity of Russian speakers. This paper focuses on the cultural language of the ‘Russian speakers in Finland’ groups on Facebook. It endeavours to examine the lexis of users writing about themselves and their life in Finland, and to analyse cultural semantics and connotations of the key words with which the Russian speakers describe their attitudes and values. This analysis aims to reveal features of the different cultural identities of Russian speakers in Finland as constructed through language and discourse, which knowledge would in turn lead to a better understanding of what kinds of impact the different experiences of living in Finnish society and Western Europe have had on Russian speaking migrants and their identities.



Davydova, O. (2009). Suomalaisena, venäläisenä ja kolmantena. Etnisyysdiskursseja transnationaalissa tilassa. Joensuun yliopiston humanistisia julkaisuja 57.

Pöyhönen, S. (2013). Language and ethnicity, lost and found: Multiple identities of Ingrian Finnish teachers in Russia. In: S. Smyth & C. Opitz (Eds.) Negotiating Linguistic, Cultural and Social Identities in the Post-Soviet World (pp. 203–226). Bern: Peter Lang.

Varjonen, S., Arnold, L. and Jasinskaja-Lahti, I. (2013) “We’re Finns here, and Russians there”: A longitudinal study on ethnic identity construction in the context of ethnic migration. Discourse and Society 24 (1), 110–134.

Rynkänen, T. & Pöyhönen, S. (2010). Russian-speaking young immigrants in Finland: Educational and linguistic challenges to integration. In: M. Lähteenmäki & M. Vanhala-Aniszewski (Eds.) Multilingualism in Finland and Russia. Language Ideologies in Transition (pp. 175–194). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Protassova, E. (2008). Teaching Russian as a heritage language in Finland. Heritage Language Journal 8 (1), 127–151.

Lähteenmäki, M. & Vanhala-Aniszewski, M. (2012). Hard currency or a stigma - Russian-Finnish bilingualism among young Russian-speaking immigrants in Finland. In: J. Blommaert, S. Leppänen, P. Pahta & T. Virkkula (Eds.), Dangerous Multilingualism – Northern Perspectives on Order, Purity and Normality (pp. 121–134). Basingstoke: Palgrave.

14:00-15:40 Session 8F: Historical Change
Location: Paris
I think (that) social mobility matters: Variable complementizers in the individual and the community


The apparent-time construct assumes that speakers’ grammars remain relatively stable after adolescence (Cukor-Avila & Bailey, 2013); however, this overlooks the possibility of age-grading or lifespan change. Recent studies have uncovered certain types of linguistic malleability in individuals after high school (Brook et al., forthcoming; De Decker, 2006; Wagner, 2012; Wagner & Sankoff, 2011; inter alia). Kohn (2015:20) notes that these changes are likely due to “the shifting social pressures that accompany entrance into the workforce” and highlights a need for longitudinal studies with more time-points across different variables. This paper adds to this growing body of literature with a comparative quantitative analysis of a single speaker interviewed every year between the ages of 16 and 31, covering the period from high school to university to professional life, alongside a large socially-stratified corpus of the city where she was born. With the goal of testing the possibility of age-grading, we focus on a linguistic variable with well-known stylistic correlates (i.e., increased use in formal settings and among educated speakers): the presence vs. absence of complementizer that.

(1)       a. I didn’t even know Ø it was him. (Age 16)

            b. I’m a little bit sad that I’m not a part of it. (Age 31)

The linguistic constraints on this variable, such as matrix verb, subject, and complexity, are significant and stable in the individual by age and across all age-cohorts in the community. However, the individual exhibits increasing use of that from 53% at age 16 to 64% at age 31 close to her age-matched cohort in the community data at 71%. This finding suggests that the function of that is highly sensitive to speaker age and is linked to an increase in education and professional standing. We will explore these data further using statistical modelling; however, these preliminary findings support lifespan malleability and call for greater attention to the impact of social mobility in studies of variation and change.



Brook, M., B. L. Jankowski, L. Konnelly, & S. A. Tagliamonte (forthcoming). “I don’t come off as timid any more”: Real-time change in early adulthood against the backdrop of the community. Journal of Sociolinguistics.

Cukor-Avila, P., & G. Bailey (2013). Real and apparent time. In Chambers, J. K. & N. Schilling (eds.), The handbook of sociolinguistics: 237–262. Second edition. Oxford, UK and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

De Decker, P. (2006). A real-time investigation of social and phonetic changes in post-adolescence. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 12: 65–76.

Kohn, M. (2015). “The way I communicate changes but how I speak don’t”: A longitudinal perspective on adolescent language variation and change. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Wagner, S. E. (2012). Age grading in sociolinguistic theory. Language and Linguistics Compass 6: 371–382.

Wagner, S. E., & G. Sankoff (2011). Age grading in the Montréal French inflected future. Language Variation and Change 23: 275–313.

Ecological conditions for new dialect formation in Northern Scandinavia


Narvik and Kiruna are two industrial towns situated on each side of the Norwegian/Swedish border in Northern Norway/Sweden. The towns were established by the same company around 1900, extracting iron ore from the mountains of Kiruna and transporting the iron by railway to the port in Narvik. Both locations experienced a massive population growth in the first few years of the establishment; Narvik grew from 300 inhabitants in 1898 to over 3300 inhabitants in 1900 (Aas 2001), while Kiruna grew from no population to 2-3000 inhabitants in 1901 (Brunnström 1981). This indicates that the speech of the in-migrants formed a new dialect/koine (Kerswill and Trudgill 2005).

This paper explores and compares the ecological conditions for creating the new town koines in Narvik and Kiruna (Mufwene 2001). The comparison of the two towns is interesting on the local level because of the economic dependency and interchange of inhabitants between the towns, and on the national level because the towns are placed in two countries with different language policies and differing social norms for language use (cf. Pedersen 2005).

The main issue addressed in this paper is the question of how the first in-migrants in Narvik and Kiruna spoke and accommodated to each other. To map the language use at this crucial point is essential, as it forms the linguistic basis for the further koine formation process (Trudgill 1986, Trudgill 2004). The paper outlines where the in-migrants came from and what dialects and languages they brought with them, and explores how the two different national contexts of language policies and social norms for language use, influenced the local language use. The official population census from Narvik and Kiruna conducted in 1900, provides empirical data on the in-migrants’ birthplace and languages. This information is combined with empirical studies of the linguistic adjustments the in-migrants made to their birthplace dialects, based on sound recordings from the 1950s of speech of the in-migrant generation (born before 1900) in Narvik and Kiruna. The study point to the different national contexts, in particular social norms for standard language use, as explanations for the differing language use in the two communities in this first stage of the koine formation.



Brunnström, L. (1981) Kiruna – ett samhällsbygge i sekelskiftets Sverige. Umeå: Umeå Universitet.

Kerswill, P. & P. Trudgill (2005) The birth of new dialects. In Kerswill, P., P. Auer & F. Hinskens (ed.): Dialect Change: Convergence and Divergence in European Languages, 196–220. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mufwene, S. (2001) The ecology of language evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pedersen, I. L. (2005) Processes of standardisation in Scandinavia. In Kerswill, P., P. Auer & F. Hinskens (ed.):  Dialect Change: Convergence and Divergence in European Languages, 171–195. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Trudgill, P. (1986) Dialects in contact. Oxford: Blackwell.

Trudgill, P. (2004) New-dialect formation: the inevitability of colonial Englishes. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Aas, S. (2001) Byen, banen og bolaget. Narviks historie, 1902–1950. Fagernes: Stiftelsen Narviks Historieverk.

Rediscovering not-so-bad data: a language contact perspective on Wenker’s Danish material


While Georg Wenker’s questionnaire-based collection of dialect data in the 1880s has laid the foundation for pioneering work in German dialectology, most notably his Linguistic Atlas of the German Empire (regionalsprache.de), it is often overlooked that dialects of minority languages in then German territory were included in Wenker’s data as well (Wenker 2013). One example are the South Jutlandic dialects of Danish that were spoken in the region of Schleswig (then part of Prussia, today divided between Denmark and Germany), documented in almost 300 questionnaires that are being transcribed in an ongoing digitization project at Kiel University.

This paper addresses the quality and validity of Wenker’s Danish data from a language contact perspective. In traditional Danish dialectology, the data scarcely received attention, and the few papers that discussed it at all were unanimously negative (Ringgaard 1964, Bjerrum 1976): The translating tasks employed by Wenker triggered unidiomatic utterances, the fact that instructions and stimuli were in German led to skewed results, and the inconsistent rendering of Danish utterances by lay transcribers, often using German orthography, made the data almost illegible, particularly regarding the phonological and morphological subtleties that traditional dialectology focuses on.

While much of this criticism remains relevant, the Danish data has at the same time proven better than its reputation. Recent work has shown that some features that were discarded as artefacts of Wenker’s methodological approach in earlier work can actually be validated using corpus data from the same dialects (Höder & Winter forthc.). In addition, a range of morphosyntactic features could also be shown to reflect authentic language usage to a large extent, in particular features that result from convergence between German and Danish dialects in a region characterized by long-term language contact (Fredsted 2009, Höder 2016). Especially for the now extinct and under-documented southernmost dialects, Wenker’s material is thus a more valuable documentary resource than previously assumed.

This contribution uses Wenker’s material to investigate and map the areal distribution of an exemplary set of eight (morpho-)syntactic features in Wenker’s Danish dialect data as compared to extant corpus data and dialect grammars, focusing on contact-related features.



Bjerrum, M. (1976): Wenkers 40 sætninger på Fjoldemål 1880. Danske folkemål 21: 19–58.

Fredsted, E. (2009): Sprachen und Kulturen in Kontakt – deutsche und dänische Minderheiten in Sønderjylland/Schleswig. In Stolz, C. (ed.): Neben Deutsch. Die autochthonen Minderheiten- und Regionalsprachen Deutschlands: 1–23. Bochum: Brockmeyer.

Höder, S. (2016): Niederdeutsch und Nordeuropa: Eine Annäherung an grammatische Arealität im Norden Europas. Niederdeutsches Jahrbuch 139, 103–129.

Höder, S. & C. Winter (forthc.): Deutsches im Südjütischen, Südjütisch im deutschen Dialektatlas. Zur Validität der südjütischen Wenker-Materialien. In Fleischer, J. et al. (eds.): Minderheitensprachen und Sprachminderheiten. Deutsch und seine Kontaktsprachen in der Dokumentation der Wenker-Materialien. Hildesheim: Olms.

Ringgaard, K. (1964): Wenkers spørgelister fra Sønderjylland. Sprog og kultur 24, 29–44.

Wenker, G. (2013): Einleitung. In Wenker, G.: Schriften zum Sprachatlas des Deutschen Reichs, vol. 1, 1–24. Hildesheim: Olms.

Analyzing twelve centuries of variation in Dutch preterite and past participle morphology


In Dutch, like in other Germanic languages, there are two ways to form preterites and past participles. On the one hand, we have the strong inflection, which uses ablaut to form preterite and past participle, e.g. zingen-zong-gezongen (‘sing-sang-sung’). On the other hand, we have the weak inflection, where a dental suffix is added to the stem, e.g. spelen-speelde-gespeeld (‘play-played-played’). Some verbs take the strong inflection, others the weak inflection. However, this system has not been stable throughout the centuries. New verbs enter the system, other verbs die and some verbs change their inflection. Most commonly strong verbs become weak, though sometimes weak verbs can become strong as well. Finally, there are also verbs that merge together and verbs that change their ablaut class.

In this project we gather all Dutch preterites and past participles that were once strong from a compilation of corpora spanning over twelve centuries (900-2000). We collected a total of 320592 tokens of which 277690 are strong and 42902 are weak, and which comprises 303 verb roots and 2353 different lemmas. Using this data we try to explain why some verbs weaken and others do not by fitting a mixed effects model. We include a multitude of factors going from token frequency (Lieberman et al. 2007; Carroll et al. 2012), type frequency (i.a. Knooihuizen & Strik 2014; Hoekstra et al. 2018), phonological shape, vowel pattern (De Smet & Van de Velde ms.), semantics (Baayen & Moscoso del Prado Martín 2005) to rhyme and region. A random effect for both the source in which the observation was found as well as a random effect for the verb lemma nested in the verb root are added. Not only do we identify which factors influence verbs changing inflection, but we also find that there is no steady evolution through time in the direction of the weak inflection, as previously often assumed. Preliminary results point to an upheaval in the 16th century, after which the rate of weakening falls back.



Baayen, R.H & F. Moscoso del Prado Martin (2005): Semantic density and past-tense formation in three Germanic languages. Language 81: 666-698.

Carroll, R. et al. (2012): Quantifying the evolutionary dynamics of German verbs. Journal of Historical Linguistics 2: 153-172.

De Smet, I. & F. Van de Velde (Manuscript): Reassessing the evolution of West-Germanic preterite inflection.

Fertig, D. (2009): Are strong verbs really dying to fit in? (paper presented at GLAC 15, Banff, May 2009).

Hoekstra, E. et al. (2018): Calculating a pattern’s competitive strength: competition between /æ/ and /ʌ/ in irregular simple pasts and past participles in English. The Mental Lexicon 13: 143-157.

Knooihuizen, R & O. Strik (2014): Relative productivity potentials of Dutch verbal inflection patterns. Folia Linguistica Historica 35: 173-200.

Lieberman, E. et al. (2007): Quantifying the evolutionary dynamics of language. Nature 449: 713-716.

15:40-16:15Coffee Break
16:15-17:30 Session 9A: Saliency and Priming
Location: Brussels
The role of sociolinguistic salience in speech production and perception


Sociolinguistic research has established that some phonetic variables undergoing change attract the attention of people in a speech community, while others do not. This phenomenon has been linked to the notion of ‘salience’ (e.g. Rácz 2013); highly salient variables tend to elicit strong social associations that are uniform across different macro-sociological groups in a community, while non-salient features display a weaker but wider range of perceptual variation between groups (Schleef 2017). It is not yet known, however, whether this distinction in perception is influenced by individuals’ use of particular salient and non-salient linguistic variables to create social meaning in their own speech production.

This paper investigates this issue via a production and perception study of /t/-glottalling and goose-fronting in Southern British English. Both features are on the increase in young people’s speech in the south-east of England (Fabricius 2000; Holmes-Elliott 2015) but differ in terms of their salience. /t/-glottalling may be used as a socially meaningful resource in speech production (Kirkham & Moore 2016) and is perceived consistently across different social groups (Schleef 2017), while goose-fronting is not reported to index any social associations. Accordingly, this study investigates how these two variables are used in participants’ speech and whether they exhibit diversity in social meanings in both production and perception.

Data were collected from 45 participants aged 16-19 in Hampshire, UK. The production data consist of recordings of the participants completing reading tasks and group discussions. Tokens of /t/ were analysed auditorily and goose was analysed in terms of the F1~F2 Euclidean distance from each speaker’s fleece vowel. All statistical modelling was conducted using linear and logistic mixed models. Perception data was elicited using questionnaires and group conversations to evaluate recordings of fellow local speakers, whose use of /t/ and goose varied between stimuli. Results show that /t/-glottalling displays socio-indexical variation in production according to macro-sociological variables, in contrast to goose-fronting, which varies along micro-level groups specific to the community. The perceptual data show strong social associations for /t/-glottalling, but rare and inconsistent associations for goose-fronting. Based on these results, I argue that salience can influence phonetic features’ macro-level indexical meanings, but that these meanings take on a more complex life in the micro context of the local community. In doing so, I also address the issue of defining and operationalising the concept of ‘salience’ in the study of sociolinguistic meaning.



Fabricius, A. (2000). T-glottalling between stigma and prestige: A sociolinguistic study of modern RP. PhD thesis, Copenhagen Business School.

Holmes-Elliott, S. (2015). London calling: Assessing the spread of metropolitan features in the southeast. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Kirkham, S. & E. Moore (2016). Constructing social meaning in political discourse: Phonetic variation and verb processes in Ed Miliband’s speeches. Language in Society, 45, 87-111.

Rácz, P. (2013). Salience in sociolinguistics: A quantitative approach. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Schleef, E. (2017). Social meanings across listener groups: When do social factors matter? Journal of English Linguistics, 45, 28-59.

The salience and interactional acceptability of /o͡a/ and /o͡u/ in German dialects


In dialect contact situations, some phonemes change while others remain stable. For instance, in German dialects /o͡a/ < MHG ô changes lexically gradual in the Bavarian-Alemannic transition zone, while /o͡u/ < MHG ô remains stable in Rhine Franconia. One reason for the different diachronic development of phonemes is their salience, which can be described by several objective and subjective criteria (Lenz 2010). Importantly, phoneme change cannot be explained by salience alone satisfactorily. There are several sufficient conditions, like prestige, situational significance and interactional acceptance (Purschke 2011), which have to be taken into account. Recently, several studies give hints about the salience of single phonemes (e.g. Kiesewalter 2014, Elmentaler et al. 2010) and propose that listeners have different norms depending on situational and regional factors during interaction.

The present talk deals with one of the factors to differentiate salient and non-salient variants, namely cross-dialectal comprehension. It presents results from two EEG-experiments, which focus on cross-dialectal comprehension of /o͡a/ and /o͡u/ in Bavarian and Rhine Franconian dialects (Lanwermeyer et al. 2016, Lanwermeyer 2019). In these experiments, listeners were exposed to non-native dialect variants from the adjacent dialect region (e.g., /ro͡asn̩/, /ro͡usə/ ‘roses’) embedded in full sentences and had to perform a semantic rating task. The results show that /o͡a/ and /o͡u/ are processed and evaluated differently on a conscious and neural level. While lexemes containing /o͡a/ are misunderstood and thus interactional unacceptable, the /o͡u/-phoneme seems to be part of the regional norm. Furthermore, the results indicate that although /o͡u/ is (slightly) salient, its usage is communicative acceptable and therefore it is not involved in phoneme change.

Cross-dialectal comprehension is only one of the proposed factors to describe salience. Thus, further features of both phonemes are investigated and presented in the present talk, e.g. the articulatory and perceptive distance, the remanence in standard German and social factors. In total, the results show differences as well as accordance for both of the phonemes indicating a gradation between the poles “salient” and “non-salient”. 



Elmentaler, M. et al. (2010): Qualitative und quantitative Verfahren in der Ethnodialektologie am Beispiel von Salienz. In Anders, C. A., Hundt, M. & Lasch, A. (eds.): Perceptual Dialectology: Neue Wege der Dialektologie: 111–149. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter.

Kiesewalter, C. (2014): Salienz und Pertinzenz: Zur subjektiven Dialektalität remanenter Regionalismen des Mittelbairischen. Linguistik online 66(4): 111–134.

Lanwermeyer, M. (2019): Sprachwandel und Kognition: Elektrophysiologische Untersuchungen zu Synchronisierungen im Varietätenkontakt. Stuttgart: Steiner.

Lanwermeyer, M. et al. (2016): Dialect variation influences the phonological and lexical-semantic word processing in sentences: Electrophysiological evidence from a cross-dialectal comprehension study. Frontiers in Psychology 7:739.

Lenz, A. N. (2010): Zum Salienzbegriff und zum Nachweis salienter Merkmale. In Anders, C. A., Hund, M. & Alexander Lasch (eds.), Perceptual Dialectology: Neue Wege der Dialektologie: 89–110. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter.

Purschke, C. (2011): Regionalsprache und Hörerurteil: Grundzüge einer perzeptiven Variationslinguistik. Stuttgart: Steiner.

Bilingual interconnections: Priming as a measure of strength of associations


A long-standing issue in bilingualism research is the interaction between speakers’ linguistic systems, most clearly evidenced in contexts of code-switching. Here, we propose to use priming as a measure of degree of association between bilinguals’ two grammars, appealing to constructions as units of grammar.

Structural priming, whereby the use of one variant favors subsequent use of that same variant over alternatives, is a robust factor in language-internal variation and also applies across languages (cf., Gries & Kootstra 2017). In language-internal variation, priming can be used to assess the relationships between constructions. For example, working (vs. workin’) is primed by kicking but not by morning (Tamminga 2016). In a seeming parallel, priming across languages has been taken to support the conjecture that bilinguals have a “shared syntax”, in which parallel grammatical structures “are represented once” (Hartsuiker et al. 2004: 409).

To examine this, we turn to the spontaneous speech of a bilingual community in northern New Mexico, USA, where multi-word code-switches are copious. Comparisons with monolingual English and Spanish benchmarks on a range of linguistic variables indicate maintenance of distinct grammars in this language contact situation (e.g., word order (Benevento & Dietrich 2015), mood choice (LaCasse 2018), complementizer use (Steuck & Torres Cacoullos To Appear)). For variable subject expression as well, these bilingual speakers maintain the same probabilistic constraints as speakers of monolingual varieties, such as accessibility, verb class and person effects. Of most interest here is coreferential subject priming, the tendency to repeat the form (pronoun vs. unexpressed) of the previous mention of the same subject. Notably, coreferential subject priming occurs both within Spanish and across languages, such that, in code-switching, English pronouns prime Spanish pronouns (1). This cross-language priming provides evidence that Spanish and English pronouns are associated for these bilingual speakers.


I was a statistician.

yo fui a todos los basketball games.

but I did all the stats.

I was a statistician.

 I went to all the basketball games.

 but I did all the stats.’

[NMSEB 22, 11:22-11:29]

However, we also observe differential priming. Within Spanish, cognition verb constructions (e.g., (yo) creo ‘(I) think’) are less susceptible to coreferential subject priming than other [(pronoun) + verb] instances, evidence of autonomy from the more general construction (Bybee 2010). Similarly, the priming effect from English to Spanish is weaker than that from Spanish to Spanish. The differential strength of within- vs. cross-language priming serves as a gauge of the associations between the structures of the two languages in contact, suggesting a weaker association between Spanish [(pronoun) + verb] and English [(pronoun) + verb] constructions than between two instances that share the same language. This in turn suggests that the two grammars in contact are interconnected, but not conflated, highlighting the possibility for the maintenance of distinct grammars: while variant forms are primed across languages in contact, their linguistic conditioning remains intact.



Benevento & Dietrich. 2015. I think, therefore digo yo: Variable position of the 1sg subject pronoun in New Mexican Spanish-English code-switching. International Journal of Bilingualism 19(4): 407-422.

Bybee. 2010. Language, usage and cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gries & Kootstra. 2017. Structural priming within and across languages: A corpus-based perspective. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 20(2): 235-250.

Hartsuiker, Pickering & Veltkamp. 2004. Is syntax separate or shared between languages. Psychological Science 15(6): 409-414.

LaCasse. 2018. The subjunctive in New Mexican Spanish: Maintenance in the face of language contact. PhD thesis, Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, Pennsylvania State University.

Steuck & Torres Cacoullos. To Appear. Complementing in another language: Prosody and code-switching. In Villena-Ponsoda (ed), Language variation: European Perspectives VII. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Tamminga. 2016. Persistence in phonological and morphological variation. Language Variation and Change 28: 335-356.

16:15-17:30 Session 9B: Acquisition of Variation
Location: London
The idiosyncrasy of filled pauses in L2 English in the context of phonetic convergence


University College Utrecht (UCU) brings together students from different language backgrounds, who use English as a lingua franca. Only a small minority of the students speaks English as a native language (L1); the majority is Dutch (Orr & Quené, 2017). Prior studies have shown that the speakers in this multilingual community converge towards a shared accent of English: after three years on campus, students’ /s/ pronunciations have become more similar (Quené et al., 2017), as has their speech rhythm (Quené & Orr, 2014).

This study aims to investigate how this convergence may affect the idiosyncrasy of non-native (L2) English filled pauses ‘uh’ and ‘um’. Filled pauses (FPs) are considered useful features in forensic speaker comparisons, since they are highly speaker-specific (e.g. Künzel, 1997). This not only means that there is variation in how FPs are used by different speakers, but also that they are a consistent feature in an individual’s speech (Braun & Rosin, 2015). Moreover, it is possible that speakers are consistent in using FPs in their L1 and L2, because FPs tends to not be explicitly taught. However, because languages differ in FP use (De Leeuw, 2007), ongoing practice in speaking the L2 may affect their realization, as well as the community’s converging language.

To investigate the idiosyncrasy of filled pauses in the context of convergence, 20 Dutch female UCU students were selected from the LUCEA corpus (Orr & Quené, 2017). FPs were segmented from 2-minute English monologues, recorded at the beginning and the end of their Bachelor studies. Together, they produced 680 FPs. The first and second formant of the vowels in ‘uh’ and ‘um’ showed convergence – measured as reduced variance – whereas the third formant and F0 showed more variance over time. Linear mixed-effects models showed that only part of the students changed their FP realizations with time. While changes were minimal, they resulted in a drop in speaker classification performance in cross-time comparisons.



Braun, A. & A. Rosin (2015). On the speaker-specificity of hesitation markers. Proc. 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences: 10-14.

De Leeuw, E. (2007). Hesitation markers in English, German, and Dutch. Journal of Germanic Linguistics 19: 85-114.

Künzel, H.J. (1997). Some general phonetic and forensic aspects of speaking tempo. Forensic Linguistics 4: 48-83.

Hughes, V. et al. (2016). Strength of forensic voice comparison evidence from the acoustics of filled pauses. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 23: 99-132.

Orr, R. & H. Quené (2017). D-LUCEA: Curation of the UCU Accent Project data. In Odijk, J. & A. Van Hessen (eds.): CLARIN in the Low Countries: 177-190. London: Ubiquity Press.

Quené, H., & R. Orr (2014). Long-term convergence of speech rhythm in L1 and L2 English.  Social and Linguistic Speech Prosody 7: 342-345.

Quené, H. et al. (2017). Phonetic similarity of /s/ in native and second language: Individual differences in learning curves. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 142: 519-524.

Is there an interlanguage speech acceptability deficit? The case of European speakers of English

ABSTRACT. It is regularly asserted that non-native speakers (NNSs) of English outperform native speakers when listening to other NNSs, regardless of their L1 (Bent & Bradlow, 2003). Wang & van Heuven (2015) reject such claims about a non-matched interlanguage speech intelligibility benefit in favour of a benefit only arising when NNSs share the same L1 (i.e. matched). This implies, for instance, that Dutch speakers of English (one group investigated in Wang & van Heuven, 2015) find other speakers of Dutch easier to understand in English than they do NNSs of other L1s.

However, evidence is emerging that speakers of Dutch are more judgmental about Dutch accents in English than about other NSS accents, for instance in student evaluations of their lecturers’ accented English (Hendriks, van Meurs and Hogervorst, 2016) and online surveys of Dutch evaluations of European accents (Van den Doel & Quené, 2013). In Dutch speakers, increased intelligibility does not appear to guarantee a concomitant increase in acceptability. Such evidence is remarkable because it appears to undermine the position that NNSs, from a position of solidarity, are more accommodating to other NNSs regardless of their provenance. It would therefore be interesting to investigate this in other European speakers of English as well.   

We wish to contribute to the discussion by presenting the results of an online survey conducted by Walpot (2016) among 67 Dutch and 45 French NSSs. These judges were asked to identify a number of equally strongly accented NNSs of English (including Dutch, German, French and Spanish ones) and to evaluate these in terms of the pleasantness of the accent, and the speakers’ intelligence and social status, on a 5-point Likert scale.

The Dutch and French judges differed significantly in their ability to identify specific accents, and in their patterns of misattribution. But if we consider only those French and Dutch accents that were correctly identified, both groups of judges concurred in attributing a significantly lower pleasantness and intelligence to the speakers they had identified as sharing their L1. Unlike the Dutch speakers, the French speakers also perceived those who shared their L1 to have a lower social status. These attributions were not extended to any of the accents which whom the judges did not share an L1.

These findings suggest that, while speakers may well enjoy a shared language intelligibility benefit, in some groups of NNSs this may be counteracted by an intolerance towards local accents in English. This would imply that some NNSs, rather than developing an endonormative orientation towards matched L1 accents, judge these more harshly than they would either native or other non-matched NNS accents of English.



Bent, Tessa, and Ann R. Bradlow (2003). The Interlanguage speech intelligibility Benefit. ASA 114:3, 1600–10.

Hendriks, Berna, Frank van Meurs and Nanette Hogervorst (2016). Effects of degree of accentedness in lecturers’ Dutch-English pronunciation on Dutch students’ attitudes and perceptions of comprehensibility. DuJal 5:1, 1–17.

van den Doel, Rias, and Hugo Quené (2013). The endonormative standards of European English: Emerging or elusive? EWW 34:1, 77-98.

Wang, Hongyan, and Vincent van Heuven (2015). The Interlanguage Speech Intelligibility Benefit as Bias Toward Native-Language Phonology. IPE 6:1, 1–13.

Walpot, Adriaan H. L. (2016). Know thy neighbor! The effect of familiarity with European non-native speaker accents in English on Dutch and French listeners’ attitudes (Unpublished thesis).

Second language users‘ perceptions of dialect-standard variation in Austria – the acquisition of variation between the conflicting priorities of intelligibility and social engagement


In vast parts of Austria, second language users are confronted with local dialects in everyday life, as – depending on situational and social-interactional factors – many Austrians use German very flexibly between the poles of dialect and standard language (Ender/Kaiser 2009; Steinegger 1998). At the same time, local speakers share specific attitudes towards the use of dialect and standard language: Dialect speakers are perceived to be more pleasant and natural, but less serious and educated (Soukup 2013). Developing sociolinguistic competence therefore encompasses not only the ability to discriminate the different codes, but also to recognize the norms of the speech community and the socio-indexicality of the speech forms. This ability constitutes a significant aspect in the construction of identity within the context of second language acquisition, since speakers position themselves via their choice of specific speech forms. Stances, persons and groups relate to linguistic variables, and groups are formed, when – on multiple layers – connections are established between linguistic variables and variables like L1, age or origin (Regan 2010; Kisling 2013).

The present paper focuses on second language users’ perceptions of local middle bavarian dialect and Austrian standard language. First investigations of 108 adolescent and adult first and second language users‘ attitudes as measured by a matched guise experiment revealed that second language learners evaluate dialect quite positively, yet consider it to be significantly inferior than first language users. Selected additional qualitative interviews showed that dialect use is a double-edged sword for many second language users. Language courses focus on standard language, and second language users feel the need for fast progress in the code with the wider geographical range. At the same time, many of them consider dialect as highly relevant for social engagement within the speech community. These tentative results of how second language users’ perceptions shape their definition of the learning target and the purpose of use will be expanded with additional data from a mixed method design (matched guise experiments and qualitative interviews). Based on the analysis of how second language users perceive the relevance of the different codes present in everyday life as regards their own linguistic repertoire, we want to contribute to a better understanding of acquiring dialect-standard variation in a second language context.



Ender, A. & I. Kaiser (2009): Zum Stellenwert von Dialekt und Standard im österreichischen und Schweizer Alltag – Ergebnisse einer Umfrage. Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik 37/2, 266–295.

Kisling, S. (2013): Constructing identity. In Chambers, J.K. und Schilling, N. (ed.): The Handbook of Language Variation and Change. 2nd edition, 448–467. New York: John Wiley & Sons,

Regan, V. (2010): Sociolinguistic competence, variation patterns and identity construction in L2 and multilingual speakers. EUROSLAYearbook 10, 21–37.

Soukup, B. (2013): Austrian dialect as a metonymic device: A cognitive sociolinguistic investigation of Speaker Design and its perceptual implications. Journal of Pragmatics 52, 72–82.

Steinegger, G. (1998): Sprachgebrauch und Sprachbeurteilung in Österreich und Südtirol, Ergebnisse einer Umfrage. Frankfurt a. M. u. a.: Lang.

16:15-17:30 Session 9C: Dialectometry
Location: Madrid
Dialect maps with meaning: Explaining semantic patterns with dialectometric geo-analyses


The goal of dialectometric analyses is to devise an objective way to examine the linguistic relationship between different dialects (e.g. Goebl 2010). However, the aggregate perspective used in dialectometry entails that differences between linguistic variables are smoothed out. For dialectometric maps on the basis of lexical variants in particular, such differences may have an effect, as meaning-related characteristics have been shown to influence the amount of variation that concepts show (Franco et al. Accepted). Additionally, other features, internal or external to language, can be envisaged that may affect the dialectometric patterns that are found.

In this paper, we examine the influence of such differences by comparing linguistic and geographical distances in the Brabantic and Limburgish dialect areas in four semantic fields, viz. clothing & personal hygiene, personality & feelings, society, school & education and church & religion. The data come from the digitized databases of the Dictionary of the Brabantic Dialects and the Dictionary of the Limburgish Dialects. First, using Gabmap (Nerbonne et al. 2011), we calculate Levenshtein distances between the locations in the dialect data per concept. Second, we conduct correlation analyses of the relationship between geographical distance and these linguistic distances per semantic field (Mantel analysis). We then use multi-dimensional scaling to draw dialect maps for the separate semantic fields. As a final step, we will use mixed-effects regression analysis to investigate how strongly and in what way the fixed effects (viz. (1) geographical distance, (2) language-external features like isolation, borders, population sizes and migration, and (3) language-internal features like semantic density, transparency and paradigmatic structure) affect linguistic distance.

Preliminary results for the semantic fields of clothing terms and societal behavior in the Limburgish dialect area indicate that clear differences between semantic fields occur. More specifically, in the semantic field of clothing terminology, the Mantel test shows a relatively high correlation between linguistic and geographical distances (Mantel r = 0.43, p = 0.001). In the semantic field of societal behavior, however, the correlation is less strong (Mantel = 0.23, p = 0.001). Multi-dimensional scaling reveals that this is probably related to the fact that for the clothing terms, the border between Flanders and the Netherlands has a large effect, whereas the pattern for the societal concepts has a geographically more heterogeneous distribution. Our results, thus, confirm that lexical dialectometric analyses may be extended to include semantic differences and that semantic fields can be fruitfully investigated by using spatial regression analysis.



Franco, K., D. Geeraerts, D. Speelman & R. Van Hout. (Accepted). Concept characteristics and variation in lexical diversity in two Dutch dialect areas. Accepted to Cognitive Linguistics.

Goebl, H. (2010). Dialectology and quantitative mapping. In Lameli, A., R. Kehrein & S. Rabanus (eds.): Language and Space. An International Handbook of Linguistic Variation. Volume 2: Language Mapping: 433-457, 2201-2212. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Nerbonne, J.,  R. Colen, C. Gooskens, P. Kleiweg & T. Leinonen. (2011). Gabmap - A web application for dialectology. Dialectologia, Special Issue II: 65-89.

Using character n-grams in dialectology: a quantitative investigation of North Frisian dialects


In the following contribution, a standard approach in computational linguistics and information retrieval will be applied to dialect data: the comparison of profiles of character n-grams or sequences of characters in parallel dialect texts and the extraction of prominent features using association measures. The method will be tried on North Frisian, a small language known for its dialect diversity.

In traditional North Frisian dialectology, two main branches (Insular North Frisian and Mainland North Frisian) and ten dialect groups are assumed within a small-sized area (cf. Århammar 1968). This classification is, however, not based on quantitative methods nor are the criteria for the groupings clear (cf. Walker 1980: 1). The paper will draw upon parallel material, i.e. translations of a given text into dialect, in this case the North Frisian questionnaires from Georg Wenker’s Sprachatlas, conducted between 1879 and 1888 in more than 46.000 locations in the German Empire.

Applying cosine distance to the trigram inventories of 55 North Frisian questionnaires, the paper seeks to address the question of dialect classification using a range of well-known dimension reduction techniques, e.g. multidimensional scaling, Neighbor-Net, and hierarchical cluster analysis.

It can be shown that the traditional classification of Århammar (1968) is supported by the data to a fairly large extent, although the distinctions within Southern Mainland North Frisian appear as less clear. We find clear evidence for six groups within the area of North Frisian on basis of the distance matrix. Using an association measure (log-likelihood) and Principal Components Analysis, prominent features are extracted for the six main dialect groups. It can be shown that two well-known criteria, i.e. reflexes of OFr a and e in unstressed syllables and lowering of OFr i > a (cf. Hofmann 1956: 81–86), are in fact the strongest criteria as reflected by the questionnaires. Finally, the paper aims to discuss the quality of the Wenker questionnaires from a quantitative perspective.



Århammar, Nils (1968): Friesische Dialektologie. In Ludwig Erich Schmitt (ed.):

Germanische Dialektologie (ZDL-Beihefte 5): 264–317. Wiesbaden: Steiner.

Hofmann, Dietrich (1956): Probleme der nordfriesischen Dialektforschung. Zeitschrift für Mundartforschung 24. 78–112.

Walker, Alistair (1980): Die nordfriesische Mundart der Bökingharde: zu einer strukturell-dialektologischen Definition der Begriffe ”Haupt”-, ”Unter”- und ”Dorfmundart” (ZDL-Beihefte 33). Stuttgart: Steiner.

Classifications of Dutch and Frisian Dialects using the Concise Linguistic Atlas of Dutch


The Concise Linguistic Atlas of Dutch (KNSA) contains maps of 374 variables (297 phonological, 35 morphological, 42 lexical variables) whose dialectal reflexes are depicted for 450 locations spread out over the Dutch-speaking area. The raw data stems from Wenker sentences, collected between 1917 and 1934. Due to differences in the questionnaire templates used in Belgium and the Netherlands, we only use the Netherlandic data.

For comparing distances between the 329 Dutch locations, we use Goebl’s “relativer Identitätswert” (RIW), which looks at the number variables in which the features are similar, divided by the number of comparisons. We investigate the distances between the locations using a number of dimension reduction methods: Multidimensional scaling, NeighborNet, and hierarchical cluster analysis.

This contribution hopes to answer the following questions:

  • whether the classification differs according to different linguistic levels (phonology, morphology, lexicon),
  • how strongly does the classification correlate with dialect classifications like Daan/Blok 1969, Heeringa 2004, among others, and thus confirm previous findings, and
  • which linguistic variables best explain the variation?

The material lends support to the standard classification of Dutch when considering all phenomena (where phonology dominates, explaining 96% of the variance). When looking at morphology and the lexicon, we notice some interesting differences, especially among the morphological phenomena. Some preliminary results show that:

  • In terms of correlations between linguistic levels (Spruit et al. 2006), we find a higher correlation between phonology and lexis (r=0.68) than between phonology and morphology (r=0.50) and morphology and lexis (r=0.40). Thus, morphology seems to behave differently. The correlation between phonology and lexis confirms the result of Spruit et al. (2016: 1636).
  • In order to compare the variation found within the distance matrices with existing dialect classifications, we conducted a PERMANOVA analysis similar to Szmrecsanyi (2013: 116). Interestingly, when compared with Daan/Blok (1969), phonology gets an r2 value of 0.57, lexicon 0.56, and morphology 0.78. Thus, Daan/Blok (1969) better explains the variation among the morphological phenomena than the phonological and lexical variation.
  • Finally, we conducted a correlation analysis similar to Heeringa (2004: 266–67). We looked at how strong the distances in the individual maps correlate with the distances of each of the three dimensions in a multi-dimensional scaling. The first dimension explains 56% of the variation, differentiating Frisian from Dutch with /d/ vs. /t/ in dorst ‘thirst’ or the presence of an affix in drie ‘three’. The second dimension explains 11% of the variation, distinguishing Low Saxon dialects (and some southeastern border dialects). The third dimension explains 10% of the variation, separating the dialects in Limburg and North Brabant from the rest.



Daan, J./Blok, D.P. (1969) Van Randstad tot Landrand. Toelichting bij de Kaart: Dialecten en Naamkunde. Amsterdam: Hollandsche Uitgevers Maatschappij.

Heeringa, W. (2004) Measuring Dialect Pronunciation Differences using Levenshtein Distance. Groningen: Rijksuniversiteit.

Spruit M. et al. (2006): Associations among linguistic levels. Lingua 119: 1624–1642.

Szmrecsanyi, B. (2013) Grammatical Variation in British English Dialects. A Study in Corpus-Based Dialectometry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

16:15-17:30 Session 9E: Panel Online Practices
Location: New York 3
Language attitudes on Udmurt social media


Udmurt is an endangered Uralic language spoken in the Russian Federation by 324,000, i.e., 59%, of 550,000 ethnic Udmurts. Despite its precarious status quantitative studies show that Udmurt is one of the most visible minority languages of Russia on the Internet, in absolute numbers of groups on Vkontakte outscoring even Tatar and Bashkir (Languages of Russia 2016), languages which considerably more speakers, more than ten times as many in the case of Tatar. Despite this online success the Udmurt language use on social media, especially the use of suro-pozho (Udmurt for “mixed language”, i.e. Udmurt-Russian code-mixing and code-switching; the many times bigger Tatar influence in the history of Udmurt is not subject of attention) is criticized by linguists, poets, journalists, and laymen likewise. Even some influential language activists, mainly responsible for the increased visibility of Udmurt on the internet, join in the chorus of puristic voices. These judgements are sometimes harsh (e.g. “language hooliganism”, cf. Edygarova 2013: 13), and sometimes even connected with moral values (e.g. “among Udmurt bloggers the awareness of social responsibility for the pureness of the mother tongue is missing”).

The standard language ideology (Milroy 2001) which is representative for the Russian speech culture tends to be adopted by members of minority language communities like the Udmurt and hence the vernacular language varieties, which are used by the majority of Udmurts, are often disparaged by native speakers themselves (Edygarova 2016, Pischlöger 2014: 111-114). Linguistic purism is not singular to Udmurt and other endangered or even safe languages but in the context of the Russian Federation reinforced by dominant prescriptive language attitudes of the majority language. Moreover the idea of how chylkyt udmurt (Udmurt for “proper Udmurt”) should look like in the eyes of those critis itself foots on outdated (or never true?) beliefs of Udmurt grammar, also partly due to the fact that recent Udmurt language use is hardly researched, and even if, the study results are often published in for interested circles inaccessable languages like English or Hungarian. This can lead to situations where metalinguistic critique against the often ony perceived overwhelming Russian influence is uttered by people who use the criticized language patterns themselves in other postings or comments, such as on Instagram, which’s affordance to post a picture apparently reduces the attention on “pure” language production and thus seems to reflect real language use better than the more reflected writing on, e.g., blogs. The aim of the proposed paper is to scrutinize how and by whom these languages attitudes are discussed on Udmurt social media and the possible impacts on further linguistic studies of Udmurt as well as on the potential positive role of the Udmurt internet success in reversing the impending language shift.



Edygarova, S.V. (2013) [Едыгарова, С.В.] Об основных разновидностях современного удмуртского языка [On the fundamental varieties of the modern Udmurt language]. Ежегодник финно-угорских исследований 3, 7-18.

Edygarova, S. (2016) Standard Language Ideology and Minority Languages: The Case of the Permian Languages. In Linguistic Genocide or Superdiversity?, herausgegeben von Reetta Toivanen und Janne Saarikivi, 326–52. Bristol, Blue Ridge Summit: Multilingual Matters.

Languages of Russia (2016) http://web-corpora.net/wsgi3/minorlangs/view, accessed on 23 Sep 2018.

Milroy, J. (2001) Language ideologies and the consequences of standardization. Journal of Sociolinguistics 5 (4), 530-555.

Pischlöger, Ch. (2014) Udmurtness in Web 2.0: Urban Udmurts Resisting Language Shift. Finnisch-Ugrische Mitteilungen 38, 143-162.


ABSTRACT. The panel addresses different aspects of language variation in online usage in the contexts of domineering monolingual ideology which is still very strong in Russian society, including diasporic communities. It is generally accepted that multilingualism, despite the world wide spreading of English in the course of globalization (Flammia and Saunders, 2007), becomes more visible nowadays through new media and online communication (Baron 2003; Crystal 2011; Danet and Herring 2007). Studies on migration, transnationalism, and consequent language variation today inevitably should include researches on the impact of digital means of multilingual communication in these processes; many cases of multilingual usage (including cond-switching) in internet data involving such languages as English, Spanish, German, Dutch, Turkish, etc. have been studied so far (see Danet and Herring 2007; Dorleijn 2016).

Multilingual practices involving the Russian language are less studied; what is more, studies produced by some Russian scholars are often biased by normative approach denouncing ‘bad influence’ of English rather than exploring complicated variation patterns and social contexts of their usage. Overall internet in Russia tends to be viewed as a ‘dump’, place of anarchic and destructive verbal behaviour in a strong need of regulation (Gorham 2014) which corresponds to purist language attitudes and restrictive discourses typical for both political authorities and ‘common’ Russian speakers (Fedorova and Baranova 2018).

In the panel we will discuss different cases of multilingual internet usage in the context produced by this traditionally strict monolingual and intolerant verbal culture. We will focus therefore not only on the Russian language per se or code switching between Russian and other languages but also on language attitudes of Russian speakers and the influence these attitudes and stereotypes have on discursive practices of online communication in different multilingual communities and networks: ethnic minorities; labour migrants to Russia; Russian diasporic groups in other countries; Russian learners of English. We hope to gather researchers working on different internet data to share and compare our findings in this sphere to produce more elaborated picture of multilingual variation practices in predominantly Russian digital spaces.



Baron, N. S. (2003). Language and the Internet. In A. Farghali (Ed.), The Stanford handbook for language engineers (pp. 59–127). Stanford, CA: CSLI.

Crystal, D. (2011). Internet Linguistics: A Student Guide. Routledge.

Danet, B. and Herring, S. C. (Eds.) (2007). The multilingual Internet: Language, Culture, and Communication online. Oxford University Press.

Dorleijn, M. (2016). Introduction: using multilingual written internet data in code-switching and language contact research.  Journal of Language Contact 9 (1), 5–22.

Fedorova, K. and Baranova, V. (2018). Moscow: diversity in disguise. In: P. Heinrich and D. Smakman (Eds.), Urban Sociolinguistics: The City as a Linguistic Process and Experience (pp. 220–236). Routledge.

Flammia, M. and Saunders, C. (2007). Language as power on the Internet,  Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology  58 (12), 1899–1903.

Gorham, M. (2014). After Newspeak: Language Culture and Politics in Russia from Gorbachev to Putin. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Variational dimensions of online comments: exploring a new register


This paper contributes to a growing body of literature on register variation on the web (e.g. Biber & Egbert 2018, 2016) by analysing the variational dimensions of online comments vis-à-vis traditional and web-based registers. In particular, we shed light on the question of whether online comments are, after all, like face-to-face conversations – or not. Some editors and authors refer to online comments as “dialogue” (McGuire 2015) or “online conversations” (Woollaston 2013); even some researchers characterise comments as conversations (e.g. Napoles et al. 2017; North 2007; Godes & Mayzlin 2004). Yet, these assumptions lack empirical back-up.

Against this back-drop, we offer the first systematic investigation of register-relevant properties of online comments. To analyse online comments we draw on the comments section of the SFU Opinion and Comments Corpus (SOCC, Kolhatkar et al. 2018). SOCC samples roughly 660,000 reader comments which were posted in response to opinion pieces published in the Canadian Globe and Mail between 2012 and 2016. Our reference database comprises the Canadian component of the International Corpus of English (ICE, http://ice-corpora.net/ice/), and the Corpus of Online Registers of English (CORE, https://corpus.byu.edu/core/). Methodologically, we perform a multi-dimensional analysis based on the core set of linguistic features listed in Biber (1988). These features include, for instance, modals, adverbs, pronouns and tense and aspect markers. In this vein, we establish the dimensions of variation along which online comments differ from traditional registers (such as face-to-face conversation, academic writing, letters), and web-based registers (such as blogs, reviews, advice).

The results show that online comments substantially vary from face-to-face conversations. In fact, online comments are clearly positioned on the written end of the spoken-written continuum. They furthermore exhibit unique textual properties that are reflected in the emerging dimensions, and thus need to be classified as a new register.



Biber, D. (1988). Variation across Speech and Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Biber, D., & J. Egbert (2018). Register Variation Online. Cambridge, United Kingdom/New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Godes, D. & Mayzlin, D. (2004). Using online conversations to study word-of-mouth communication. Marketing science 23 4: pp545–pp560.

Kolhatkar, V., H. Wu, L. Cavasso, E. Francis, K. Shukla, & M. Taboada (2018). The SFU Opinion and Comments Corpus: A Corpus for the Analysis of Online News Comments. Journal article under review.

McGuire, J. (2015). Uncivil dialogue: Commenting and stories about indigenous people. CBC News, November 30, 2015. http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/community/editorsblog/2015/11/uncivil-dialogue-commenting-and-stories-about-indigenous-people.html

Napoles, C., J. Tetreault, E. Rosato, B. Provenzale, & A. Pappu (2017). Finding Good Conversations Online: The Yahoo News Annotated Comments Corpus.” In Proceedings of the 11th Linguistic Annotation Workshop: pp13–pp23. Valencia.

North, S. (2007.). ‘The Voices, the Voices’: Creativity in Online Conversation. Applied Linguistics 28 4: pp538–pp555.

Woollaston, V. (2013). Online conversations are damaging how we speak to each other in real life: Author claims people could soon 'forget' how to handle social situations. Daily Mail, September 30, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2439336/Online-conversations-damaging-speak-real-life-claims-author.html

16:15-17:30 Session 9F: Ideology
Location: Paris
From the German Volk to New Germans: Changing Ideologies of National Belonging


What does it mean in contemporary Germany to ‘be German’, and how is this category linguistically constructed? Germany has been a land of immigration for many decades, and since policy changes in 2000 citizenship is granted based on residence, not only descent. Yet there continue to be many competing discourses about German belonging, and these discourses are reproduced in part through the choices of terms used for different social groups. 

This study looks at different terms which specify kinds of Germans: Volksdeutsche(r) (‘ethnic German’), Biodeutsche(r ) (bio[logically] German’), Passdeutsche(r) (‘passport German’), and Neudeutsche(r) (‘new German’). Examining a corpus of over 900 newspaper articles, the analysis looks at changes in the use of these terms over time – Biodeutsche(r), Passdeutsche(r)  and Neudeutsche(r) appear from the early 2000s to the present, but Volksdeutsche(r), the use of which dates back to the 1930s (Bergen 1994), stops appearing in this newspaper corpus after 2013. Despite its Nazi past, this term was used by some writers as a seemingly neutral term, as shown in example 1. It was often used, as in this example, to refer to people who lived outside of German territory but had German ancestry, but this definition based on blood is rarely treated as a controversial category.

  1. Volksdeutsche aus dem Sudetenland und aus Polen…

‘Ethnic Germans from the Sudetenland and from Poland…’

In contrast, the more recently coined terms show a quite different pattern; they are more frequently the topic of discussed and used in quotation marks, as in 2, and in some cases are also overtly problematized, as in 3.

  1. Für Leute wie mich  gibt es ja das Wort „Passdeutscher" - auch so ein  Ausdruck, der in anderen Sprachen nicht existiert.

‘For people like me there is the word ‘passport German’ – an expression that does not exist in other languages.’

  1. Da ist sie wieder, diese unerhörte Gleichung: Alle = MigrantInnen +  Biodeutsche . Nichts dazwischen. Die und wir….als wäre es selbstverständlich. Wieso diese Kategorien? Wozu diese Abgrenzung?

‘There it is again, this unconscionable equation. Everyone = Migrants + biological Germans. Nothing in between.  Us and them….as if it were natural. Why these categories?  To what end the demarcation?’

This variation between terms and across time indicates the problematization of the understanding of Germanness as an ethnic category. However, even more interesting is the variation within the uses of the term Biodeutsch. Previous research (Author Forthcoming) has shown that while the existence of the term indicates a focus on Germanness as an ethnic category, analysis of the contexts of use show that it is often employed to explicitly challenge ethnonational discourses of belonging in Germany.



Author Forthcoming. Immigration, Integration and Leitkultur in German Newspapers: Competing Discourses about National Belonging. Studii de lingvistica 8/2 (Le discours politique identitaire face aux migrations).

Bergen, D. L. (1994). The Nazi Concept of' ‘Volksdeutsche’and the Exacerbation of Anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe, 1939-45. Journal of Contemporary History, 29(4), 569-582.

The poetic utilization of dialectic varieties of the Afrikaans language for strategic purposes in the Southern African context


The perspective on language variation practices offered in this paper does not fit any particular sub-disciplinary field of linguistics. Rather, it concerns historic and contemporary manifestations, with various strategic purposes, of the literary (more specifically: poetic) usage of the varieties of a language, namely those of Afrikaans – an African sister language to European Dutch.

Afrikaans is a Southern African language which has developed from the Dutch varieties spoken by 17th century European settlers in the far south of the African continent, i.e. in the complex contact situation that existed between these settlers, their slaves from (mainly) South Asian descent and various indigenous populations. Today, the Afrikaans literary system is one of the strongest on the African continent, with a history spanning more than 150 years.

The utilization of dialectic or colloquial varieties of Afrikaans for poetic purposes has been a trend of growing importance in the history of Afrikaans literature – echoing similar, fairly recent developments in the poetry of some other languages around the world (Schneibel, 2009). In Afrikaans, this trend has become particularly prominent since the advent of the so-called Movement of the (Nineteen) Sixties, when the view on Afrikaans as an African language, but also the socio-political issues confronting the citizens of Apartheid South Africa, became important discursive constructions in it (Kannemeyer, 2005).

One expression of this trend has been an increasing use of colloquial or vernacular varieties of the language, among other purposes as an expression of resistance to the hegemony of Standardized Afrikaans, associated with the government of the time. As will be shown, the relevant Afrikaans varieties include regional idioms like Karoo and Bushmanland Afrikaans, but also sociolects like “Loslitafrikaans” (‘informal’ Afrikaans, in which a significant amount of English vocabulary is introduced), forms of Cape Afrikaans, and Griqua Afrikaans.

As a stylistic device, this literary trend has served, sometimes simultaneously, both socio-political aims (as actuality poetry or socio-politically engaged literature) and strategic systemic purposes (striving for poetic and/or poetry system renewal).

Seen in total, it transpires that reactions tot the pressing socio-political and broader cultural conditions that have dictated past or are powering present developments in South and Southern Africa, loom large behind the relative importance of this trend in Afrikaans poetry. Such conditions include, historically, 19th century efforts at Anglicizing Southern Africa, and the advent and decline of Apartheid; more recently, the increasingly hegemonic position of English in the post-Apartheid South African dispensation. The latter has effected a cultural striving towards a situation where all speakers of Afrikaans will take ownership of the language, its varieties and their functions (Steyn, 2014).



Kannemeyer, J.C. 2005. Die Afrikaanse literatuur [Afrikaans Literature] 1652-2004. Cape Town & Pretoria: Human & Rousseau Publishers.

Schneibel, G. 2009. Dialect Poetry in Translation Connects Regional Cultures across Europe. Deutsche Welle. http://www.dw.de/dialect-poetry-in-translation-connects-regional-cultures-across-europe/a-4778206. Weblog 2009– (7 November 2014).

Steyn, J.C. 2014. ‘Ons gaan ’n taal maak’. Afrikaans sedert die Patriot-jare  [‘We’re Going to Create a Language’. Afrikaans Since the Years of The Patriot (Newspaper)]. Pretoria: Kraal Publishers.

Lexical Insights into Ideological Change: Indexing Contrasting Identities through a Shared Lexical Repertoire


Situated in the far south-west of Britain, Cornwall experiences an enduring yet dynamic peripheral condition (see Payton 1992). In the last century, there has been a radical transformation in Cornwall’s sources of capital. Traditional extractive industries such as mining have been replaced, largely by a service-sector heavily reliant on tourism. These changes are visible in the dialect of English spoken in Cornwall, Anglo-Cornish. Sandow and Robinson (2018) explored variation, change, and indexical meanings of traditional Anglo-Cornish lexis. Here, I explore a recent Anglo-Cornish lexical innovation.

Specifically, I explore variation, change, and indexical meaning of the Anglo-Cornish lexical item emmet, from both semasiological (one lexical form, multiple meanings) and onomasiological (one meaning, multiple lexical forms) perspectives. From a semasiological angle, emmet ‘ant’ is being replaced by emmet ‘tourist’ due to a process of metaphorical extension, which is first attested by the OED in 1975. Onomasiologically, the concept tourist can be lexicalised by emmet, or a range of pan-English synonyms such as tourist. For older speakers, who are aware of emmet’s earlier meaning, the term is often user as a slur, collocating with intensifiers such as fucking. However, for much of the younger population, being unaware of the earlier meaning of emmet, are likely to use the term in a mildly deprecating manner as ‘banter’, where it is likely to co-occur with bloody. Yet, for both groups, it indexes a territorial, sometimes ethnic, identity which feeds a discourse of ‘othering’.  

In apparent-time, there is little change between older and younger speakers. However, the variation within these groups is stark. That is, the demographic and ideological profile of users of emmet is not consistent across age-groups. Meta-commentaries from participants and inferences from ethnographic participant-observation suggest that emmet is being revalorised by much of the younger population. I suggest that this mirrors a shift in cultural practices taking place in 21st century Cornwall. The ‘traditional’ Cornish identity, the ‘Industrial Celt’, which draws on tropes from Cornwall’s Celtic and rich industrial pasts,  is succumbing to a post-modern reaction to Cornwall’s peripheral condition. Grounded in aesthetics, commodities, and, primarily, leisure culture, ‘Lifestyle Cornwall’ is a post-modern reimagination of an overtly stigmatised Cornish culture and ideology. Drawing on the notion of ‘chronotopes’, I explore how emmet both reflects and reconstructs this ideological shift in a Cornish community.

I propose an indexical field for emmet and suggest that speakers are using this lexical item in order to do identity work and to position themselves on an increasingly complex ideological landscape. These indexical changes have implications far greater than the purely linguistic, as they provide a lens through which to analyse a dynamic shift in centre-periphery relations between Cornwall and the rest of England.



Payton, Philip. (1992). The Making of Modern Cornwall. St. Agnes: Truran.

Sandow, Rhys and Robinson, Justyna. (2018). ‘Doing Cornishness’ in the English periphery. In Natalie Braber and Sandra Jansen (eds.), Sociolinguistics in England, 333-361. London: Palgrave.

17:30-18:20 Session 10: Plenary Session III
Location: New York
Leaders of language change: micro and macro perspectives

ABSTRACT. Linguistic theories of the relationship between synchronic variation and diachronic change often highlight the role of leaders of language change: groups or individuals that drive change forward through their linguistically innovative behavior. The question of who leads language change can be thought of in terms of group differences at the community level or in terms of individual differences within groups. In this talk I discuss my research on the relationship between these two levels of analysis. I report on a study of how individual differences in cognitive style, personality, and social network degree are related to individual innovativeness in a number of ongoing sound changes in Philadelphia English, connecting these differences to our established understanding of group-level sociolinguistic stratification in this speech community. I highlight ways in which patterns of covariation between changes differ across groups and individuals, arguing that theories of change leadership developed based on group differentiation do not always make the correct predictions about individual differences in ongoing language change. I argue that the question of who leads change will need to be refined to ask who leads which change before we can successfully connect the micro and macro perspectives on change leadership.