This September, the linguistics conference UK language variation and change 13 took place (virtually) in Glasgow, and our LaVaLi team had a blast! Over the course of three days, more than 100 linguists presented their research on language variation and change, sociolinguistics and dialectology, and received applause and feedback from their peers. It was super exciting to hear about all the new approaches and insights our colleagues reported on!
Of course, the LaVaLi team was in attendance – this was the first time we got to present on a whole smörgasbord of research happening within the project, including individual work towards MA or PhD theses as well as larger joint research endeavours. This blog post briefly summarises our poster presentations and talks.
Johanna Mechler on the perception of ING across the lifespan
On the first day of UKLVC13, Johanna Mechler gave a talk about how we perceive age and professionalism when we listen to people. The initial results of her study showed that listeners rate older speakers more professional than younger speakers, and we can’t wait for further studies! If you want to read more, check out Johanna’s blog post here.
Anne-Marie Mölders: Investigating language change across the life span: a real-time panel study of hyper -s and first-person singular possessive in north-eastern English
The LaVaLi team was also represented with a whopping three posters on the second day of the conference, offering the attendees a whole room on different aspects of lifespan change in the North East of England. Anne-Marie Mölders presented her MA thesis work on the social costliness of making use of hyper-s and/or stigmatized possessive pronouns. She finds that variation and change for these variables are related to the social gain and loss that comes with using them for different speakers. Make sure to check out her blog post here if you want to read more about her research.
Mirjam Eiswirth: Of repetitions and changes
Mirjam Eiswirth introduced us to her study focusing on variation in ING realisations in interaction, specifically in moments where speakers format tie (i.e. repeat part of what the other person has just said). She finds that the velar variant [ŋ] is used in the repeated utterance when the speaker draws attention to what they are saying, and when they are performing a certain type of persona. Speakers do not converge to the other’s use of the velar form though. This lack of other-priming can explain the relative stability of ING in the young panel, while the style- and persona-related shifts can account for the variability of the feature. Watch out for Mirjam’s blog post in the near future.
A team effort: ING across the lifespan
Finally, Lea Bauernfeind, Johanna Mechler, James Grama, Mirjam Eiswirth and Isabelle Buchstaller presented their research on how the variable ING patterns across the lifespans of older and younger speakers. Interestingly, we see that the older speakers change much in regard to their way of saying words like running or laughing over the course of their lives, but the younger ones don’t. We’re intrigued to find out more about the underlying motifs for saying words with ING one way or the other!
Another team effort: FACE and GOAT across the lifespan
On the last day of conference, James Grama, Isabelle Buchstaller, Lea Bauernfeind and Carina Ahrens gave a talk on how the vowels in FACE and GOAT are produced by speakers of Tyneside English and how the speakers change across their lives. We also observe that speakers develop different language patterns as they get older, depending on which paths of life they choose.
Aside from the fact that we enjoyed sharing our research with the sociolinguistic community in the UK, we took a huge amount of inspiration and energy from all the other excellent talks. UKLVC13 was a truly enriching experience – the 10-minute talks and especially the poster sessions on spatial worked really well in this online format and it was lovely to actually get to engage with fellow scholars online. A big thank you to the organisers of UKLVC13 @uklvc13 (Emma Laird @itsemmalaird, Edward Marshall @E_JMarshall, Jane Stuart-Smith @jhstuartsmith, and Jennifer Smith) – and we can’t wait to see you all again for UKLVC14 in Edinburgh in 2023!