WhenApril 28, 2017 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
WhereChicago, IL
Contact InformationDepartment of Linguistics
DescriptionLocation: Wieboldt 102

Working dissertation title: Dynamics of Sibilant Convergence and Change

Defense Committee:
Alan Yu
Diane Brentari
Susan Lin (UC-Berkeley)

The proposed dissertation will provide a longitudinal investigation into the social, temporal, acoustic and articulatory dynamics of a sound change in progress in American English in order to better understand the relationship between short- and long-term change. While theories of sound change have often assumed that short-term convergence accumulates to create long-term change, empirical work has yet to substantiate this claim. Furthermore, studies of convergence have rarely examined sound changes in progress and, to my knowledge, no study has examined the articulatory nature of convergence. The proposed project seeks to better understand convergence and its relationship to sound change through an examination of /s/-retraction, a change in progress in American English whereby /s/ is pronounced approaching /sh/ in the context of /r/, such that ‘street’ is pronounced approaching ‘shtreet’. The study will examine a single insular social group, the men’s and women’s cross country teams, over the course of an academic year to provide insight into the social nature of language change resulting from group interactions and relationships. Through a longitudinal map task study and the integration of rich social network information and articulatory data, the project seeks to ask how convergence is mediated phonologically, socially and temporally.
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