Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The importance of interaction effects

  • Robert Sigley (a1)

Published studies of linguistic variation usually concentrate on the main effects apparent for linguistic and social factor groups. By contrast, interaction effects, whereby the influence of some factor(s) is conditional on the values of other factor groups, have received considerably less attention and, even when recognized, are rarely quantified. Interaction effects involving linguistic factor groups are especially rarely acknowledged, even though the existence of interactions between social factors is widely recognized. This article reclaims interaction effects as an object of systematic variationist study and demonstrates the benefits of including such effects in quantitative modelling: first, by outlining practical methods for investigation of interaction effects within variable-rule analysis; second, by providing direct evidence for the incidence of interaction effects in linguistic data, through reanalyzing several pre-existing studies of phonological variation containing both linguistic and extralinguistic factor groups; and finally, by discussing their interpretation.This article is the result of many years of collaboration with Janet Holmes, who generously provided all of the datasets reanalyzed here. Thanks are also due to David Britain, Peter Patrick, Tom Veatch, and John Paolillo for advice and correspondence on goldvarb/varbrul at various stages over the past decade. The present version has greatly benefitted from audience feedback at the 14th New Zealand Linguistic Society Conference (Christchurch, August 2001) and from the detailed comments of the anonymous referees for LVC.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Eckert, Penelope. (1989). The whole woman: Sex and gender differences in variation. Language Variation and Change 1:245267.

Fasold, Ralph W. (1991). The quiet demise of variable rules. American Speech 66:321.

Godfrey, Elizabeth, & Tagliamonte, Sali. (1999). Another piece for the verbal -s story: Evidence from Devon in southwest England. Language Variation and Change 11:87121.

Gordon, Elizabeth. (1997). Sex, speech and stereotypes: Why women use prestige speech forms more than men. Language in Society 26:4763.

Holmes, Janet. (1994). New Zealand flappers: An analysis of T voicing in New Zealand English. English World-wide 15:195224.

Holmes, Janet. (1995a). Time for /t/: Initial /t/ in New Zealand English. Australian Journal of Linguistics 15:127156.

Holmes, Janet. (1995c). Glottal stops in New Zealand English: An analysis of variants of word-final /t/. Linguistics 33:433463.

Holmes, Janet. (1996). Losing voice: Is final /z/ devoicing a feature of Maori English? World Englishes 15:193205.

Holmes, Janet. (1997b). Setting new standards: Sound changes and gender in New Zealand English. English World-wide 18:107142.

Mougeon, Raymond, & Nadasdi, Terry. (1998). Sociolinguistic discontinuity in minority language communities. Language 74:4055.

Patrick, Peter L. (1991). Creoles at the intersection of variable processes: -t,d deletion and past marking in the Jamaican mesolect. Language Variation and Change 3:171189.

Scherre, Maria Marta Pereira, & Naro, Anthony J. (1991). Marking in discourse: “Birds of a feather.” Language Variation and Change 3:2333.

Scherre, Maria Marta Pereira, & Naro, Anthony J. (1992). The serial effect on internal and external variables. Language Variation and Change 4:113.

Recommend this journal

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

Language Variation and Change
  • ISSN: 0954-3945
  • EISSN: 1469-8021
  • URL: /core/journals/language-variation-and-change
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 38 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 244 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.