Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Style dominance: Attention, audience, and the ‘real me’

  • Devyani Sharma (a1)
Abstract

Social constructivist approaches to style have moved away from the cognitive asymmetry that underpinned Labov's original attention-to-speech model, namely that a first-learned vernacular often has cognitive primacy. This study explores the interplay of cognitive and interactional effects in style variation. It reports on three related dynamics of style variation in one individual—Fareed Zakaria, an Indian-American media personality. First, we see Zakaria's robust English bidialectalism with American and Indian audiences. This strong audience effect is complicated by the second finding, which points to asymmetric style dominance in Zakaria's first-learned Indian style, which he subtly defaults to regardless of audience when his attention is diverted by such tasks as quickly counter-arguing or inserting parenthetical information. The third part of the study relates style dominance to agency: In a reflexive intra-personal process of biographical indexicality, speakers such as Zakaria may exploit their personal style biography and use their dominant variety to perform no-nonsense ‘real me’ stances in interaction. (Audience, attention, style variation, indexicality, repertoire, processing, bidialectalism, second dialect acquisition, speech rate)*

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Style dominance: Attention, audience, and the ‘real me’
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Style dominance: Attention, audience, and the ‘real me’
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Style dominance: Attention, audience, and the ‘real me’
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Devyani Sharma, Department of Linguistics Queen Mary, University of London London E1 4NS United Kingdom d.sharma@qmul.ac.uk
Footnotes
Hide All
*

I am grateful to Erez Levon, Esther de Leeuw, Lavanya Sankaran, Allan Bell, Vineeta Chand, Claire Cowie, Tyler Kendall, Jenny Cheshire, and especially two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier versions of this work. Any remaining shortcomings are my own.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Abel, Jennifer, & Babel, Molly (2017). Cognitive load reduces perceived linguistic convergence between dyads. Language and Speech 60(3):479502.
Allport, Alan; Styles, Elizabeth; & Hsieh, Shulan (1994). Shifting intentional set: Exploring the dynamic control of tasks. In Umilta, Carlo & Moscovitch, Morris (eds.), Attention and performance XV, 421–52. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Auer, Peter; Hinskens, Frans; & Kerswill, Paul (eds.) (2005). Dialect change: Convergence and divergence in European languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Babel, Anna (ed.) (2016). Awareness and control in sociolinguistic research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bell, Allan (1984). Language style as audience design. Language in Society 13(2):145204.
Bell, Allan (2001). Back in style: Reworking audience design. In Eckert, Penelope & Rickford, John R. (eds.), Style and sociolinguistic variation, 139–69. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Blommaert, Jan (2010). The sociolinguistics of globalisation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bowden, Harriet Wood; Steinhauer, Karsten; Sanz;, Cristina & Ullman, Michael T. (2013). Native-like brain processing of syntax can be attained by university foreign language learners. Neuropsychologia 51:2492–511.
Bowie, David (2000). The effect of geographic mobility on the retention of a local dialect. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania dissertation.
Brown, Penelope, & Levinson, Stephen C. (1987). Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Buller, David, & Kelly Aune, R. (1992). The effects of speech rate similarity on compliance: Application of communication accommodation theory. Western Journal of Communication 56:3753.
Chafe, Wallace L. (1994). Discourse, consciousness, and time: The flow and displacement of conscious experience in speaking and writing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Cheshire, Jenny (1982). Variation in an English dialect: A sociolinguistic study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Coupland, Nikolas (1980). Style shifting in a Cardiff work setting. Language in Society 9:112.
Coupland, Nikolas (1985). ‘Hark, hark, the lark’: Social motivations for phonological style-shifting. Language and Communication 5:153–71.
Coupland, Nikolas (2001). Language, situation, and the relational self: Theorizing dialect-style in sociolinguistics. In Eckert & Rickford (eds.), 185210.
Coupland, Nikolas (2007). Style: Language variation and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cutillas-Espinosa, Juan Antonio; Hernández-Campoy, Juan Manuel; & Schilling-Estes, Natalie (2010). Hyper-vernacularisation and speaker design: A case study. Folia Linguistiica 44(1):3152.
Cutler, Cecelia (1999). Yorkville crossing: White teens, hip hop, and African American English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 3:428–42.
Daller, Michael; Yıldız, Cemal; de Jong, Nivya H.; Kan, Seda; & Başbaĝi, Ragıp (2011). Language dominance in Turkish-German bilinguals: Methodological aspects of measurements in structurally different languages. International Journal of Bilingualism 15:215–36.
de Bot, Kees (1992). A bilingual production model: Levelt's ‘speaking’ model adapted. Applied Linguistics 13:124.
Derwing, Tracey M.; Munro, Murray J.; Thomson;, Ronald I. & Rossiter, Marian J. (2009). The relationship between L1 fluency and L2 fluency development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 31:533–57.
Dillard, James Price, & Pfau, Michael W. (eds.) (2002). The persuasion handbook: Developments in theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Du Bois, John W. (2007). The stance triangle. In Englebretson, Robert (ed.), Stancetaking in discourse: Subjectivity, evaluation, interaction, 139182. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Eckert, Penelope (1997). Age as a sociolinguistic variable. In Coulmas, Florian (ed.), Handbook of sociolinguistics, 151–67. Oxford: Blackwell.
Eckert, Penelope (2001). Style and social meaning. In Eckert & Rickford (eds.), 119–26.
Eckert, Penelope (2008). Variation and the indexical field. Journal of Sociolinguistics 12:453–76.
Eckert, Penelope & Rickford, John R. (eds.) (2001). Style and sociolinguistic variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ehrlich, Susan, & Romaniuk, Tanya (2013). Discourse analysis. In Podesva, Robert & Sharma, Devyani (eds.), Research methods in linguistics, 466–99. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fix, Sonya (2013). Age of second dialect acquisition and linguistic practice across ethno-racial boundaries in the urban Midwest. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 19(2):7180.
Foulkes, Paul, & Docherty, Gerry (2006). The social life of phonetics and phonology. Journal of Phonetics 34(4):409–38.
Giles, Howard; Coupland, Nikolas; & Coupland, Justine (1991). Accommodation theory: Communication, context, and consequence. In Giles, Howard, Coupland, Nikolas, & Coupland, Justine (eds.), The contexts of accommodation, 168. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Goffman, Erving (1981). Forms of talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Grosjean, François (2001). The bilingual's language modes. In Nicol, Janet L. (ed.), One mind, two languages: Bilingual language processing, 122. Oxford: Blackwell.
Guy, Gregory, & Cutler, Cecilia (2011). Speech style and authenticity: Quantitative evidence for the performance of identity. Language Variation and Change 23(1):139–62.
Hall-Lew, Lauren L.; Starr;, Rebecca & Coppock, Elizabeth (2012). Style-shifting in the US Congress: The vowels of ‘Iraq(i)’. In Hernández-Campoy, Juan Manuel & Cutillas-Espinosa, Juan Antonio (eds.), Style-shifting in public: New perspectives on stylistic variation, 4563. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Hamers, Josiane F., & Blanc, Michel H. A. (2000). Bilinguality and bilingualism. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hart, Rod; Carlson, Robert; & Eadie, William (1980). Attitudes toward communication and the assessment of rhetorical sensitivity. Speech Monographs March 1980:122.
Hazen, Kirk (2001). An introductory investigation into bidialectalism. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 7(3):8599.
Johnstone, Barbara (1999). Lingual biography and linguistic variation. Language Sciences 21:313–21.
Johnstone, Barbara (2009). Stance, style and the linguistic individual. In Jaffe, Alexandra (ed.), Stance: Sociolinguistic perspectives, 2952. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kahneman, Daniel (1973). Attention and effort. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Kendall, Tyler (2009). Speech rate, pause, and linguistic variation: An examination through the Sociolinguistic Archive and Analysis Project. Durham, NC: Duke University dissertation.
Kendall, Tyler (2013). Speech rate, pause, and sociolinguistic variation: Studies in corpus sociophonetics. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Labov, William (1972). Sociolinguistic patterns. Oxford: Blackwell.
Labov, William (2001). The anatomy of style-shifting. In Eckert & Rickford (eds.), 85108.
Labov, William (2006). The social stratification of English in New York City. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Labov, William (2013). The language of life and death: The transformation of experience in oral narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Le Page, Robert B., & Tabouret-Keller, Andrée (1985). Acts of identity: Creole-based approaches to language and ethnicity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lively, Scott; Pisoni, David; Van Summers, W.; & Bernacki, Robert (1993). Effects of cognitive workload on speech production: Acoustic analyses and perceptual consequences. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 93(5):2962–73.
Local, John (1992). Continuing and restarting. In Auer, Peter & Luzio, Aldo Di (eds.), The contextualization of language, 273–96. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Meuter, Renata, & Allport, Alan (1999). Bilingual language switching in naming: Asymmetrical costs of language selection. Journal of Memory and Language 40:2540.
Nycz, Jennifer (2015). Second dialect acquisition: A sociophonetic perspective. Language and Linguistics Compass 9(11):469–82.
Nycz, Jennifer (2016). Awareness and acquisition of new dialect features. In Babel, Anna (ed.), Awareness and control in sociolinguistic research, 6279. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Payne, Arvilla (1980). Factors controlling the acquisition of Philadelphia dialect by out-of-state children. In Labov, William (ed.), Locating language in time and space, 143–78. New York: Academic Press.
Piller, Ingrid (2002). Passing for a native speaker: Identity and success in second language learning. Journal of Sociolinguistics 6(2):179206.
Podesva, Robert; Reynolds, Jermay Jamsu; Callier;, Patrick & Baptiste, Jessica (2015). Constraints on the social meaning of released /t/: A production and perception study of US politicians. Language Variation and Change 27:5987.
Poplack, Shana (1978). Dialect acquisition among Puerto Rican bilinguals. Language in Society 7:89103.
Rampton, Ben (2013). Styling in a language learned later in life. Modern Language Journal 97(2):360–82.
Rickford, John R., & McNair-Knox, Faye (1994). Addressee- and topic-influenced style shift: A quantitative sociolinguistic study. In Biber, Douglas & Finegan, Edward (eds.), Sociolinguistic perspectives on register, 235–76. New York: Oxford University Press.
Rickford, John R., & McNair-Knox, Faye & Price, Mackenzie (2013). Girlz II women: Age-grading, language change and stylistic variation. Journal of Sociolinguistics 17:143–79.
Robinson, Peter (2005). Attention and memory during SLA. In Doughty, Catherine J. & Long, Michael H. (eds.), The handbook of second language acquisition, 631–78. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Romaine, Suzanne (2000). Language in society: An introduction to sociolinguistics. 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Roelofs, Ardi, & Piai, Vitória (2011). Attention demands of spoken word planning: A review. Frontiers in psychology 2(307):114.
Schilling-Estes, Natalie (1998). Investigating ‘self-conscious’ speech: The performance register in Ocracoke English. Language in Society 27(1):5383.
Schilling-Estes, Natalie (2002). Investigating stylistic variation. In Chambers, Jack K., Trudgill, Peter, & Schilling-Estes, Natalie (eds.), The handbook of language variation and change, 375401. Oxford: Blackwell.
Schilling-Estes, Natalie (2004). Constructing ethnicity in interaction. Journal of Sociolinguistics 8(2):163–95.
Seltig, Margret (1985). Levels of style-shifting exemplified in the interaction strategies of a moderator in a listener participation programme. Journal of Pragmatics 9:179–97.
Sharma, Devyani, & Rampton, Ben (2015). Lectal focusing in interaction: A new methodology for the study of style variation. Journal of English Linguistics 43(1):335.
Shockey, Linda (1984). All in a flap: Long-term accommodation in phonology. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 46:8795.
Siegel, Jeff (2010). Second dialect acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Smith, Jennifer, & Durham, Mercedes (2012). Bidialectalism or dialect death? Explaining generational change in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. American Speech 87(1):5788.
Snell, Julia (2013). Dialect, interaction and class positioning at school: From deficit to difference to repertoire. Language and Education 27:110–28.
Sorace, Antonella (2006). Possible manifestations of shallow processing in advanced second language speakers. Applied Psycholinguistics 27:8891.
Soukup, Barbara (2009). Dialect use as interaction strategy: A sociolinguistic study of contextualization, speech perception, and language attitudes in Austria. Vienna: Braumüller.
Sweetland, Julie (2002). Unexpected but authentic use of an ethnically marked dialect. Journal of Sociolinguistics 6:514–38.
Tagliamonte, Sali, & Molfenter, Sonja (2007). How'd you get that accent? Acquiring a second dialect of the same language. Language in Society 36(5):649–75.
Thakerar, Jitendra; Giles, Howard; & Cheshire, Jenny (1982). Psychological and linguistic parameters of speech accommodation theory. In Giles, Howard & Clair, Robert St. (eds.), Advances in the social psychology of language, 205–55. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Trudgill, Peter (1986). Dialects in contact. New York: Blackwell.
Voigt, Rob; Podesva, Robert J.; & Jurafsky, Dan (2014). Speaker movement correlates with prosodic indicators of engagement. Proceedings of Speech Prosody 7. Online: https://web.stanford.edu/~jurafsky/pubs/speechprosody_voigt.pdf.
Wagner, Suzanne Evans, & Hesson, Ashley (2014). Individual sensitivity to the frequency of socially meaningful linguistic cues affects language attitudes. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 33(6):651–66.
Wolfram, Walt, & Schilling-Estes, Natalie (1998). American English: Dialects and variation. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Zentella, Ana Celia (1997). Growing up bilingual: Puerto Rican children in New York. Oxford: Blackwell.
Zimman, Lal (2016). Agency and the gendered voice: Metalinguistic rejections of vocal masculinization among female-to-male transgender speakers. In Babel, Anna (ed.), Sociolinguistic awareness and control, 253–77. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Language in Society
  • ISSN: 0047-4045
  • EISSN: 1469-8013
  • URL: /core/journals/language-in-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed