A Little Birdie Told Me!

Linguistics Colloquium
Amanda Dalola
Event Date & Time
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Decoding and tracking sociophonetic variables in real time on Twitter: the case of phrase-final fricative epithesis in French

Friday, January 27, 2023
3:30 – 5:00 pm
Folwell 118 or via Zoom 

Registration is not required, but please subscribe to the mailing list for Colloquium announcements and links to the events.

 Phrase-final fricative epithesis (PFFE) is a sociophonetic phenomenon in Continental French in which utterance-final vowels lose part or all of their voicing and give way to intense fricative-like whistles, e.g., mais oui_hhh. Although readily observed in the speech of both L1 and L2 speakers, the variable’s percepts remain somewhat elusive. This study uses a matched-guise task to establish PFFE’s perceptual values among native and second-language French speakers and determines what sociolinguistic characteristics of the listener influence these perceptions. The findings are then compared to a 2060-token Twitter corpus of PFFE occurrences to illustrate the ways in which the variable’s life on Twitter both corroborates previous perception findings and provides evidence of a more iconic, more structurally permissive life on Twitter, conditioned by the creative digital vernacular writing style popular to the medium. Implications are offered for what this reveals about the processing of sociophonetic detail more generally and for the validity of tracking sound change in real time via popular social platforms. 

Presenter: Amanda Dalola is Director of the Language Center and Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Minnesota. Her current research projects include the production, perception, and digital media renderings of sociophonetic variables and speech styles in French and Korean, the use of social media applications in the language learning classroom, and the use of translanguaging and open educational resources as open educational practices.

This is the first event in the Institute of Linguistics Spring 2023 Colloquium Series. Events will be held most Fridays afternoons from 3:30 – 5:00 pm. The format will vary, with some events fully remote, and others offering an in-person attendance option. This presentation is co sponsored by the Language Center and CARLA


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