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Colloquium: Meredith Tamminga (UPenn) "Towards a dynamic view of sociolinguistic production"

Friday, March 27, 2015
12:00 AM
3254 LSA Building

Towards a dynamic view of sociolinguistic production

Our colloquium speaker today is Meredith Tamminga (UPenn). The title and abstract of her presentation are given below.

Towards a dynamic view of sociolinguistic production

In this talk I discuss motivations and methods for treating linguistic variability as a dynamic speaker-level, rather than static group-level, phenomenon. I begin with a brief discussion of the group and the individual in the sociolinguistic literature, suggesting that the progress made in sociophonetics when considering individual-level production data encourages us to take up such analyses systematically in the realm of morphophonological variation as well. I then discuss two lines of work that illustrate the potential that such an orientation offers. First, I look at persistence, the tendency to repeat a recently-used variant, across and within the grammatical categories of two classic morphophonological variables. On the basis of this data I argue that different cognitive mechanisms come into play with variation at different grammatical levels. Second, I suggest that generalized additive models fit to sequential data from individuals may allow us to differentiate the persistence effect from broader temporal fluctuations in the target probability of discrete variables. This tool thus opens to door to the investigation of how sociostylistic and psychophysiological factors simultaneously affect whether a given speaker will produce a given variant of a variable in an actual instance of use.