Sociolinguistic development across the lifespan reading group

Meets: Mondays, 4:30 – 6:00 PM, via Zoom in Spring semester 2021. Contact: Dr. Suzanne Wagner. Conveners: Dr. Suzanne Wagner and Dr. Betsy Sneller.

Goals of the group:

  • Serve the needs of current faculty and students whose research, qualifying paper or dissertation topics touch on sociolinguistic development.
  • Provide the theoretical background to the MI Diaries project for those interested, including project team members.
  • Get a broad overview of how age has been operationalized in variationist sociolinguistics (age, age group, generation, cohort etc).
  • Be familiar with some landmark studies of age and language change in variationist sociolinguistics.
  • Gain some exposure to the most recent sociolinguistic research on sociolinguistic development.
  • Understand how variationist studies of sociolinguistic development at points in the lifespan connect to broader questions about the nature and mechanisms of language change.
  • Appreciate the intersectional nature of age as a concept i.e. how it is complicated by gender, style, social class etc.
  • Get a sense of how the papers link to each other, as well as to other scholarship that you know.

Who: The group is open to graduate students, staff, alumni and faculty at MSU and beyond.

What we’re reading:

  • Jan 18.
  • Feb 1.
    • Wagner, Suzanne Evans. 2012. Age grading in sociolinguistic theory. Language and Linguistics Compass 6(6). 371–382.
    • Sankoff, G., & Wagner, S. E. (2020). The long tail of language change: A trend and panel study of Québécois French futures. Canadian Journal of Linguistics, 65(2), 246–275.
  • Feb 15.
    • Smith, J., Durham, M., & Fortune, L. (2007). “Mam, my trousers is fa’in doon!”: Community, caregiver, and child in the acquisition of variation in a Scottish dialect. Language Variation and Change, 19(1), 63–99.
    • Miller, Karen. 2013. Acquisition of variable rules: /s/-lenition in the speech of Chilean Spanish-speaking children and their caregivers. Language Variation and Change 25(3), 311–340.
  • Mar 1.
    • Holmes-Elliott, Sophie. 2020. Calibrate to innovate: Community age vectors and the real time incrementation of language change. Language in Society.
    • Eckert, Penelope. 2011. Language and power in the preadolescent heterosexual market. American Speech 86(1). 85–97.
    • Eckert, Penelope. 2010. Affect, sound symbolism, and variation. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 15(2). 70–80.
  • Mar 15.
    • Paper 1 TBD.
    • Denis, Derek, Matt Hunt Gardner, Marisa Brook & Sali A. Tagliamonte. 2019. Peaks and arrowheads of vernacular reorganization. Language Variation and Change 31(1), 43–67.
  • Mar 29.
    • Mackenzie, Laurel. 2017. Frequency effects over the lifespan: a case study of Attenborough’s r’s. Linguistics Vanguard 1–12.
    • Paper 2 TBD.
  • Apr 12.
    • The cutting edge! Presentation TBD.
    • Wrap-up.

Readings were selected by the group conveners for presentation by individual members each week. Members are very welcome to suggest additional or alternative readings!