WhenFebruary 22, 2019 11:00 AM - 01:00 PM
WhereStuart Hall, Room 209
Contact InformationLinguistics Department
DescriptionAndrea Beltrama
Between pedantry and articulateness. How descriptive detail informs social perception.
Friday, February 22, 11am in Stuart 209

This talk focuses on two questions: (i) How do listeners infer the social identity of a speaker based on how they choose to describe the world? (ii) Are these inferences informed by similar principles to those motivating the social significance of linguistic phenomena in other domains of the grammar? I address this issue by exploring the social significance of imprecision (Lasersohn 1999): speakers’ well-Attested tendency to apply varying degrees of deviation from the truth when reporting facts (e.g., describing a car as going 70 MPH, instead of 69). Based on results from a social perception study, I show: (i) that a high degree of precision is associated with a constellation of both favorable and unfavorable qualities; (ii) that different linguistic cues to signal precision differentially affect the social meaning of the utterance; (iii) and that most such qualities bear a striking resemblance to those associated to variation in other realms – e.g., the hyper/hypo-articulation of sounds. I take this as evidence that semantic variation can be socially meaningful across the specific lexical items in which it manifests itself, and that such social meanings can be linguistically motivated by similar principles across different domains of the grammar
CategoriesConferences/Lectures, Workshops
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