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Author

Charles Boberg

Other affiliations: University of Pennsylvania
Bio: Charles Boberg is an academic researcher from McGill University. The author has contributed to research in topics: North American English & Canadian English. The author has an hindex of 17, co-authored 43 publications receiving 2275 citations. Previous affiliations of Charles Boberg include University of Pennsylvania.

Papers
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Book
01 Jan 2006
TL;DR: The Atlas of North American English re-defines the regional dialects of American English on the basis of sound changes active in the 1990s and draws new boundaries reflecting those changes.
Abstract: The Atlas of North American English provides the first overall view of the pronunciation and vowel systems of the dialects of the US and Canada The Atlas re-defines the regional dialects of American English on the basis of sound changes active in the 1990s and draws new boundaries reflecting those changes It is based on a telephone survey of 762 local speakers, representing all the urbanized areas of North America It has been developed by Bill Labov, one of the leading sociolinguists of the world, together with his colleagues Sharon Ash and Charles Boberg The Atlas consists of a printed volume accompanied by an interactive CD-ROM The print and multimedia content is alsoavailable online Combined Edition: Book and Multimedia CD-ROM The printed volume contains 23 chapters that re-define the geographic boundaries of North American dialects and trace the influence of gender, age, education, and city size on the progress of sound change; findings that show a dramatic and increasing divergence of English in North America; 139 four color maps that illustrate the regional distribution of phonological and phonetic variables across the North American continent; 120 four color vowel charts of individual speakers The interactive multimedia CD-ROM supplements the printed articles and maps by providing a data base with measurements of more than 100,000 vowels and mean values for 439 speakers; the Plotnik program for mapping each of the individual vowel systems; extended sound samples of all North American dialects; interactive applications to enhance classroom presentations Online only Version: Print and Multimedia Content The online only version offers simultaneous access to the print and multimedia content to all users in the university/library network; presents a wider selection of interactive data, maps, and audio samples that will be recurrently updated; provides students with concurrent access to research material for classroom assignments Key Features: a multimedia reference tool, overthrows previously heldhypothesesin North American dialectology, sound samples on CD-ROM easily accessible through clearly designedinteractive maps System Requirements for CD-ROM and Online only version: Windows PC: Pentium PC, Windows 9x, NT, or XP, at least 16MB RAM, CD-ROM Drive, 16 Bit Soundcard, SVGA (600 x 800 resolution) Apple MAC: OS 6 or higher, 16 Bit Soundcard, at least 16MB RAM Supported Browsers: Internet Explorer, 55 or 6 (Mac OS: Internet Explorer 51)/Netscape 7x or higher/Mozilla 10 or higher/Mozilla Firefox 10 or higher PlugIns: Macromedia Flash Player 6/Acrobat Reader

696 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors showed that coronal stop deletion can be treated as a probabilistic constraint with cumulative effects (the more shared features, the greater likelihood of deletion), which suggests an attractive theoretical integration of categorical and variable processes in the grammar.
Abstract: English coronal stop deletion is constrained by the preceding segment, so that stops and sibilants favor deletion more than liquids and nonsibilant fricatives. Previous explanations of this constraint (e.g., the sonority hierarchy) have failed to account for the details, but we show that it can be comprehensively treated as a consequence of the obligatory contour principle (OCP). The OCP, introduced to account for a variety of categorical constraints against adjacent identical tones, segments, and so forth, can be generalized as a universal disfavoring of sequences of like features: *[aF] [aFJ. Therefore, coronal stop deletion, which targets the set of segments /t,d/ defined by the features [-son, -cont, +cor], is favored when the preceding segment shares any of these features. But this requires adopting the assumption of inherent variability and interpreting the OCP as a probabilistic constraint with cumulative effects (the more shared features, the greater likelihood of deletion). This suggests an attractive theoretical integration of categorical and variable processes in the grammar. The systematic patterns of variation revealed by sociolinguistic studies of language use are generally modeled in theoretical frameworks that rely on the assumption of "inherent variability" (Labov, 1969; Weinreich, Labov, & Herzog, 1968); that is, the hypothesis that the human language faculty necessarily accommodates and generates variation, and that the workings of grammar have a quantitative, noncategorical, and nondeterministic component. This assumption underlies the variable rule model (Cedergren & Sankoff, 1973; Labov, 1969), which is given a more general formulation as a probabilistic generative model by Sankoff (1978). One of the attractive features of such models is that they offer an integrated account in which social and stylistic dimensions of variation can be modeled along with linguistic dimen. sions. Thus, in a standard variable rule analysis, social differences between individuals in a speech community are represented by their characteristic values of an input parameter, whereas independent linguistic parameters describe favorable and unfavorable linguistic contexts for the occurrence of particular variants. Stylistic variation is another independent parameter, which

136 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Charles Boberg1
TL;DR: This paper used data from both sides of the U.S. and Canada border to investigate the influence of phonetic features on the way in which language changes diffuse over space, using a hierarchical gravity model.
Abstract: The way in which language changes diffuse over space—geolinguistic diffusion—is a central problem of both historical linguistics and dialectology. Trudgill (1974) proposed that distance, population, and linguistic similarity are crucial factors in determining diffusion patterns. His hierarchical gravity model has made correct predictions about diffusion from London to East Anglia, but has never been tested across a national boundary. The aim of this article is to do so using data from both sides of the U.S.–Canada border. Two cases are examined: the non-diffusion of phonetic features from Detroit to Windsor and the gradual infiltration into Canadian English of American foreign (a) pronunciations. In both cases, the model makes incorrect predictions. In the first case, it is suggested that the model needs a term representing a border effect, and that the diffusion of phonetic features is constrained by structural, phonological factors; in the second, a traditional wave theory of diffusion appears to fit the data more closely than a hierarchical model.

101 citations


Cited by
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Proceedings Article
09 Oct 2010
TL;DR: A multi-level generative model that reasons jointly about latent topics and geographical regions is presented, which recovers coherent topics and their regional variants, while identifying geographic areas of linguistic consistency.
Abstract: The rapid growth of geotagged social media raises new computational possibilities for investigating geographic linguistic variation. In this paper, we present a multi-level generative model that reasons jointly about latent topics and geographical regions. High-level topics such as "sports" or "entertainment" are rendered differently in each geographic region, revealing topic-specific regional distinctions. Applied to a new dataset of geotagged microblogs, our model recovers coherent topics and their regional variants, while identifying geographic areas of linguistic consistency. The model also enables prediction of an author's geographic location from raw text, outperforming both text regression and supervised topic models.

691 citations

Book
01 Jan 2007
TL;DR: The authors charted the territory of postcolonial English as a field of linguistic investigation and discussed the evolution of post-colonized English: the dynamic model, linguistic aspects of nativization, and the cycle in hindsight.
Abstract: 1. Introduction 2. Charting the territory: postcolonial English as a field of linguistic investigation 3. The evolution of postcolonial English: the dynamic model 4. Linguistic aspects of nativization 5. Countries along the cycle: case studies 6. The cycle in hindsight: the emergence of American English 7. Conclusion.

583 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jan 2007-Language
TL;DR: The authors found that structural constraints are lost in the diffusion of the New York City pattern of tensing short-a to four other communities: northern New Jersey, Albany, Cincinnati, and New Orleans.
Abstract: The transmission of linguistic change within a speech community is characterized by incrementation within a faithfully reproduced pattern characteristic of the family tree model, while diffusion across communities shows weakening of the original pattern and a loss of structural features. It is proposed that this is the result of the difference between the learning abilities of children and adults. Evidence is drawn from two studies of geographic diffusion. (i) Structural constraints are lost in the diffusion of the New York City pattern of tensing short-a to four other communities: northern New Jersey, Albany, Cincinnati, and New Orleans. (ii) The spread of the Northern Cities Shift from Chicago to St. Louis is found to represent the borrowing of individual sound changes, rather than the diffusion of the structural pattern as a whole.

520 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article answers a few questions that corpus linguists regularly face from linguists who have not used corpus-based methods so far and discusses some of the central assumptions, notions, and methods of corpus linguistics.
Abstract: Corpus linguistics is one of the fastest-growing methodologies in contemporary linguistics. In a conversational format, this article answers a few questions that corpus linguists regularly face from linguists who have not used corpus-based methods so far. It discusses some of the central assumptions (‘formal distributional differences reflect functional differences’), notions (corpora, representativity and balancedness, markup and annotation), and methods of corpus linguistics (frequency lists, concordances, collocations), and discusses a few ways in which the discipline still needs to mature. At a recent LSA meeting … [with an obvious bow to Frederick Newmeyer] Question: So, I hear you’re a corpus linguist. Interesting, I get to see more and more

463 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors explored the sociolinguistic history of a U.S. city and found that a set of linguistic features that were once not noticed at all, then used and heard primarily as markers of socioeconomic class, have come to be linked increasingly to place and "enregistered" as a dialect called "Pittsburghese".
Abstract: This article explores the sociolinguistic history of a U.S. city. On the basis of historical research, ethnography, discourse analysis, and sociolinguistic interviews, the authors describe how a set of linguistic features that were once not noticed at all, then used and heard primarily as markers of socioeconomic class, have come to be linked increasingly to place and “enregistered” as a dialect called “Pittsburghese.” To explain how this has come about, the authors draw on the semiotic concept of “orders of indexicality.” They suggest that social and geographical mobility during the latter half of the twentieth century has played a crucial role in the process. They model a particularistic approach to linguistic and ideological change that is sensitive not only to ideas about language that circulate in the media but also to the life experiences of particular speakers; and they show how an understanding of linguistic variation, language attitudes, and the stylized performance of dialect is enhanced by expl...

451 citations