Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Real-time evidence for age grad(ing) in late adolescence

  • Suzanne Evans Wagner (a1)

Abstract

This study provides real-time support for the hypothesis, previously inferred from apparent time studies, that stable sociolinguistic variables are age-graded. Stable variables have been shown to exhibit a curvilinear pattern with age in which adolescents use nonstandard variants at a higher rate than adults do. An analysis of the morphophonological variable (ing) was carried out using recordings and ethnographic observations of 13 young American women during and after their final years of high school. Offering a detailed look at the late adolescent life stage, the study also explores speakers’ motivations for retaining or retreating from nonstandard variants as they prepare to enter adulthood. These are examined at both the group and the individual level. The results indicate that the degree of retreat from nonstandard variants is socially differentiated, in line with apparent time findings. Future enrollment in a locally oriented college, and alignment to a local ethnic network (Irish or Italian)—not social class—were the predictors of retention in high school.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Adamson, H. Douglas, & Regan, Vera. (1991). The acquisition of community speech norms by Asian immigrants learning English as a second language: A preliminary study. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 13(1):122.
Anshen, Frank S. (1969). Speech variation among negroes in a small southern community. Ph.D. dissertation, New York University.
Baugh, John. (1996). Dimensions of a theory of econolinguistics. In Guy, G., Feagin, C., Schiffrin, D., & Baugh, J. (eds.), Towards a social science of language: Papers in honor of William Labov. Volume 1: Variation and change in language and society. Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 397419.
Benson, Janel, & Furstenberg, Frank. (2006). Entry into Adulthood: Are Adult Role Transitions Meaningful Markers of Adult Identity? Advances in Life Course Research 11:199224.
Bourdieu, Pierre, & Boltanski, Luc. (1975). Le fétichisme de la langue. Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 4:232.
Bucholtz, Mary. (1998). Geek the girl: Language, femininity and female nerds. In Warner, N., Ahlers, J., Bilmes, L.Oliver, M., Wertheim, S., & Chen, M., (eds.), Gender and belief systems: Proceedings of the Fourth Berkeley Women and Language Conference, Berkeley Women and Language Group. Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Women and Language Group, University of California. 119131.
Cameron, Richard. (2005). Aging and gendering. Language in Society 34(1):2361.
Campbell-Kibler, Kathryn. (2005). Listener perceptions of sociolinguistic variables: The case of (ING). Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University.
Chambers, J. K. (2003). Sociolinguistic Theory. 2nd ed.Oxford: Blackwell.
Chambers, J. K. (2004). Patterns of variation including change. In Chambers, J. K., Trudgill, P., & Schilling-Estes, N. (eds.), The handbook of language variation and change. Oxford: Blackwell. 349372.
Chambers, J. K. (2008). Sociolinguistic theory. 3rd ed.Oxford: Blackwell.
Cheshire, Jenny. (2006). Age- and generation-specific use of language. In U. Ammond, N. Dittmar, & Mattheier, K. (eds.), Sociolinguistics: An international handbook of the science of language and society. Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter. 15521563.
Cofer, Thomas. (1972). Linguistic variability in a Philadelphia speech community. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Conn, Jeffrey. (2005). Of “moice” and men: The evolution of a male-led sound change. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.
Coupland, Nikolas. (1980). Style-shifting in a Cardiff work-setting. Language in Society 9(1):112.
Cukor-Avila, Patricia. (2002). She say, she go, she be like: Verbs of quotation over time in African American Vernacular English. American Speech 77(1):331.
De Decker, Paul. (2006). A real-time investigation of social and phonetic changes in post-adolescence. In Ravindranath, M. (ed.), University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 12.2: Selected papers from NWAV 34. Philadelphia: Penn Working Papers in Linguistics. 6576.
Drummond, Rob. (2010). Sociolinguistic variation in a second language: The influence of local accent on the pronunciation of non-native English speakers living in Manchester. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Manchester.
Eckert, Penelope. (1989). Jocks and burnouts. New York: Teachers College Press.
Eckert, Penelope. (1997). Age as a sociolinguistic variable. In Coulmas, F. (ed.), The handbook of sociolinguistics. Oxford: Blackwell. 151167.
Eckert, Penelope. (2000). Linguistic variation as social practice. Oxford: Blackwell.
Eckert, Penelope. (2004). Adolescent language. In Finegan, E. & Rickford, J. R. (eds.), Language in the USA. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 361374.
Eckert, Penelope, & Rickford, John R. (2001). Style and sociolinguistic variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Entwistle, Doris R., & Astone, Nan Marie. (1994). Some practical guidelines for measuring youth's race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Child Development 65(6):15211540.
Fischer, John L. (1958). Social influence on the choice of a linguistic variant. Word 14:4756.
Gal, Susan, & Irvine, Judith. (1995). The boundaries of languages and disciplines: How ideologies construct difference. Social Research 64(2):967994.
Giddens, Anthony. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the Late Modern Age. Cambridge: Polity.
Gumperz, John. J. (1968). The speech community. In Sills, D. L. (ed.), International encyclopedia of the social sciences. New York: MacMillan. 381386.
Harrington, Jonathan, Palethorpe, Sallyanne, & Watson, Catherine. (2000). Monophthongal vowel changes in Received Pronunciation: An acoustic analysis of the Queen's Christmas broadcasts. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 30:6378.
Hazen, Kirk. (2006). IN/ING variable. In Brown, K. (ed.), Encyclopedia of language and linguistics. Vol. 5. Amsterdam: Elsevier. 581584.
Houston, Ann. (1985). Continuity and change in English morphology: The variable (ING). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Robert, Hughes Jr., & Perry-Jenkins, Maureen. (1996). Social class issues in family life education. Family Relations 45(2):175182.
Hymes, Dell. (1974). Foundations in sociolinguistics: An ethnographic approach. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Labov, William. (1984). Field methods of the project on linguistic change and variation. In Baugh, J. & Sherzer, J. (eds.), Language in use. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall. 2853.
Labov, William. (2001a). Principles of linguistic change: Social factors. Oxford: Blackwell.
Labov, William. (2001b). The anatomy of style-shifting. In Eckert, P. & Rickford, J. R. (eds.), Style and sociolinguistic variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 85108.
Labov, William. (2006[1996]). The social stratification of English in New York City. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Labov, William. (2011). Oral narratives of personal experience. In Hogan, P. C. (ed.), The Cambridge encyclopedia of the language sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 546548.
Macaulay, Ronald K. S. (1977). Language, social class and education: A Glasgow study. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Mazzaro, Natalia. (2005). Speaking Spanish with style: /s/ deletion in Argentine Spanish and Labov's Decision Tree. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 10(2):171190.
Mendoza-Denton, Norma. (2008). Homegirls: Language and cultural practice among Latina youth gangs. Oxford: Blackwell.
Milroy, James, & Milroy, Lesley. (1985). Linguistic change, social network and speaker innovation. Journal of Linguistics 21:339384.
Moore, Emma. (2003). Learning style and identity: A sociolinguistic analysis of a Bolton high school. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Manchester.
Nevalainen, Terttu, Raumolin-Bromberg, Helena, & Mannila, Heikki. (2011). The diffusion of language change in real time: Progressive and conservative individuals and the time depth of change. Language Variation and Change 23(1):143.
Poplack, Shana, & Dion, Nathalie. (2009). Prescription vs praxis: The evolution of future temporal reference in French. Language 85:557587.
Prichard, Hilary, & Tamminga, Meredith. (2011). The impact of higher education on local phonology. Paper presented at New Ways of Analyzing Variation 40, Georgetown University, October. 2730.
Renn, Jennifer. (2009). Learning to talk with style: A longitudinal study of style-shifting in child AAE. Paper presented at New Ways of Analyzing Variation 38, Ottawa, October. 2225.
Renn, Jennifer. (2011). Patterns of style in the language of African American children and adolescents. In Danis, N., Mesh, K., & Sung, H. (eds.), BUCLD 35: Proceedings of the 35th Boston University Conference on Language Development. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. 513525.
Renn, Jennifer, & Terry, J. Michael. (2009). Operationalizing style: Quantifying style shift in the speech of African American adolescents. American Speech 84(4):367390.
Rickford, John, & McNair-Knox, Faye. (1994). Addressee- and topic-influenced style shift: A quantitative sociolinguistic study. In Biber, D. & Finegan, E. (eds.), Sociolinguistic perspectives on register. New York: Oxford University Press. 235276.
Sankoff, David, Cedergren, Henrietta, Kemp, William, Thibault, Pierrette, & Vincent, Diane. (1989). Montréal French: Language, class and ideology. In Fasold, R. & Schiffrin, D. (eds.), Language change and variation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 107118.
Sankoff, David, & Lessard, Réjean. (1975). Vocabulary richness: a sociolinguistic analysis. Science 190:689690.
Sankoff, David, Tagliamonte, Sali, & Smith, Eric. (2005). Goldvarb X. Toronto: University of Toronto, Department of Linguistics. Available at: http://individual.utoronto.ca/tagliamonte/Goldvarb/GV_index.htm.
Sankoff, Gillian. (2005). Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in sociolinguistics. In Trudgill, P. (ed.), Sociolinguistics/soziolinguistik: An international handbook of the science of language and society. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10031013.
Sankoff, Gillian, & Blondeau, Hélène. (2007). Language change across the lifespan: /r/ in Montreal French. Language 83(3):560588.
Sankoff, Gillian, & Wagner, Suzanne Evans. (2006). Age grading in retrograde movement: The inflected future in Montreal French. In Friesner, M. L. & Ravindranath, M. (eds.), University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics: Selected Papers from NWAV 34, 12(2):203216.
Sankoff, Gillian, Wagner, Suzanne Evans, & Jensen, Laura. (forthcoming). The long tail of language change: Québecois French futures in real time. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics Selected Papers from NWAV 40, 18(2).
Schilling-Estes, Natalie. (2002). Investigating stylistic variation. In Chambers, J. K., Trudgill, P., & Schilling-Estes, N. (eds.), The handbook of language variation and change. Oxford: Blackwell. 375401.
Schleef, Erik, Meyerhoff, Miriam, & Clark, Lynn. (2011). Teenagers’ acquisition of variation: A comparison of locally-born and migrant teens’ realisation of English (ing) in Edinburgh and London. English World-Wide 32(2):206236.
Shuy, Roger W., Wolfram, Walt, & Riley, William K. (1967). A study of social dialects in Detroit. Washington, DC: Office of Education.
Tagliamonte, Sali, & D'Arcy, Alexandra. (2009). Peaks beyond phonology: Adolescence, incrementation, and language change. Language 85(1):58108.
Trudgill, Peter. (1974). The social differentiation of English in Norwich. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Van Hofwegen, Janneke, & Wolfram, Walt. (2010). Coming of age in African American English: A longitudinal study. Journal of Sociolinguistics 14(4):427455.
Wagner, Suzanne Evans. (2007). “We act like girls and we don't act like men”: The use of the male-associated variable (ay0) in South Philadelphia. In Scheffler, T., Tauberer, J., Eilam, A., & Mayol, L. (eds.), University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics: Proceedings of the 30th Annual Penn Linguistics Colloquium 13(1):393406.
Wagner, Suzanne Evans. (2008). Linguistic change and stabilization in the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.
Wagner, Suzanne Evans. (2012). Age grading in sociolinguistic theory. Language and Linguistics Compass 6(6):371382.
Wagner, Suzanne Evans, & Sankoff, Gillian. (2011). Age grading in the Montréal French inflected future. Language Variation and Change 23(3):275313.
Wald, Benjamin, & Shopen, Timothy. (1981). A researcher's guide to the sociolinguistic variable (ING). In Shopen, T. & Wald, B. (eds.), Style and variables in English. Cambridge: Winthrop.
Wolfram, Walt, & Fasold, Ralph W. (1974). The study of social dialects in American English. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
Woods, Howard. (1978). A socio-dialectal survey of the English spoken in Ottawa: A study of sociolinguistic and stylistic variation. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Ottawa.

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