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JournalISSN: 0954-3945

Language Variation and Change 

Cambridge University Press
About: Language Variation and Change is an academic journal published by Cambridge University Press. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Variation (linguistics) & Verb. It has an ISSN identifier of 0954-3945. Over the lifetime, 497 publications have been published receiving 23847 citations.


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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors found that women lead men in rejecting linguistic changes as they are recognized by the speech community, a differentiation that is maximal for the second highest status group, and that sexual differentiation is independent of social class at the beginning of a change, but that interaction develops gradually as social awareness of the change increases.
Abstract: Two general principles of sexual differentiation emerge from previous sociolinguistic studies: that men use a higher frequency of nonstandard forms than women in stable situations, and that women are generally the innovators in linguistic change. It is not clear whether these two tendencies can be unified, or how differences between the sexes can account for the observed patterns of linguistic change. The extensive interaction between sex and other social factors raises the issue as to whether the curvilinear social class pattern associated with linguistic change is the product of a rejection of female-dominated changes by lower-class males. Multivariate analysis of data from the Philadelphia Project on Linguistic Change and Variation indicates that sexual differentiation is independent of social class at the beginning of a change, but that interaction develops gradually as social awareness of the change increases. It is proposed that sexual differentiation of language is generated by two distinct processes: (1) for all social classes, the asymmetric context of language learning leads to an initial acceleration of female-dominated changes and retardation of male-dominated changes; (2) women lead men in the rejection of linguistic changes as they are recognized by the speech community, a differentiation that is maximal for the second highest status group.

1,012 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article showed that change seems to proceed at the same rate in all contexts, at least for syntactic cases, and that the frequency of use of a new form across contexts reflect functional and stylistic factors, which are constant across time and independent of grammar.
Abstract: When one form replaces another over time in a changing language, the new form does not occur equally often in all linguistic contexts. Linguists have generally assumed that those contexts in which the new form is more common are those in which the form first appears and in which it advances most rapidly. However, evidence from several linguistic changes (most importantly the rise of the periphrastic auxiliary do in late Middle English) shows that the general assumption is false. Instead, at least for syntactic cases, change seems to proceed at the same rate in all contexts. Contexts change together because they are merely surface manifestations of a single underlying change in grammar. Differences in frequency of use of a new form across contexts reflect functional and stylistic factors, which are constant across time and independent of grammar.

952 citations

Book ChapterDOI
TL;DR: For instance, this paper found that many current beliefs about the role of gender in variation are a result of substituting popular (and unpopular) belief for social theory in the interpretation of patterns of sex correlations with variation.
Abstract: The tradition of large-scale survey methodology in the study of variation has left a gap between the linguistic data and the social practise that yields these data. Since sociolinguistic surveys bring away little information about the communities that produce their linguistic data, correlations of linguistic variants with survey categories have been interpreted on the basis of general knowledge of the social dynamics associated with those categories. The success of this approach has depended on the quality of this general knowledge. The examination of variation and socioeconomic class has been benefited from sociolinguists’ attention to a vast literature on class and to critical analyses of the indices by which class membership is commonly determined. The study of gender and variation, on the other hand, has suffered from the fact that the amount of scientific attention given to gender over the years cannot begin to be compared with that given to class. Many current beliefs about the role of gender in variation, therefore, are a result of substituting popular (and unpopular) belief for social theory in the interpretation of patterns of sex correlations with variation.

602 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: An alternate exemplar model that can account for lexical variation in phonetic detail is outlined here, which predicts that the frequency with which words are used in the contexts for change will affect how readily the word undergoes a change in progress.
Abstract: The literature on frequency effects in lexical diffusion shows that even phonetically gradual changes that in some cases are destined to be lexically regular show lexical diffusion while they are in progress. Change that is both phonetically and lexically gradual presents a serious challenge to theories with phonemic underlying forms. An alternate exemplar model that can account for lexical variation in phonetic detail is outlined here. This model predicts that the frequency with which words are used in the contexts for change will affect how readily the word undergoes a change in progress. This prediction is tested on data from /t, d/ deletion in American English. Finally, the effect of bound morphemes on the diffusion of a sound change is examined. The data suggest that instances of a bound morpheme can affect the rate of change for that morpheme overall.

506 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors show that polarity, distance from verb to plural element, and the nature of the DP are significant predictors of variation between was and were in plural existential constructions, and conclude that variationist research can be substantially enriched by an expanded tool kit.
Abstract: What is the explanation for vigorous variation between was and were in plural existential constructions, and what is the optimal tool for analyzing it? Previous studies of this phenomenon have used the variable rule program, a generalized linear model; however, recent developments in statistics have introduced new tools, including mixed-effects models, random forests, and conditional inference trees that may open additional possibilities for data exploration, analysis, and interpretation. In a step-by-step demonstration, we show how this well-known variable benefits from these complementary techniques. Mixed-effects models provide a principled way of assessing the importance of random-effect factors such as the individuals in the sample. Random forests provide information about the importance of predictors, whether factorial or continuous, and do so also for unbalanced designs with high multicollinearity, cases for which the family of linear models is less appropriate. Conditional inference trees straightforwardly visualize how multiple predictors operate in tandem. Taken together, the results confirm that polarity, distance from verb to plural element, and the nature of the DP are significant predictors. Ongoing linguistic change and social reallocation via morphologization are operational. Furthermore, the results make predictions that can be tested in future research. We conclude that variationist research can be substantially enriched by an expanded tool kit.

404 citations

Performance
Metrics
No. of papers from the Journal in previous years
YearPapers
202313
202234
202112
202015
201916
201815