Sociophonetic analysis uses sophisticated phonetic and statistical approaches to investigate features of speech production, perception, and language processing in relation to socially determined factors within individuals and groups.
Factors such as age, sex, gender orientation, language background, regional affiliation and history, ethnicity, speaking style, community of practice, and the demands of social context among many others all affect the way we process speech. In quantifying the fine phonetic detail of speech production and perception, we use methods from acoustic phonetics, speech physiology e.
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The analysis of variation includes both synchronic and diachronic approaches to establish phonetic variation in the community at a point in time synchronic and across different time periods diachronic. Sociolinguistics investigates the interaction between language, culture and society. We analyse how this interaction affects the variability of language in a systematic way, focusing on how linguistic variation results from different speaker backgrounds and different contexts of communication, and how the use of linguistic variants construct social meaning in interaction.
In this research, we draw extensively on the methods of quantitative variationist sociolinguistics.
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World Englishes offer a very dynamic field for linguistic and sociolinguistic research, with new varieties continually evolving in multilingual habitats across the world. Macquarie researchers focus on English in contact with other languages in postcolonial contexts such as South Africa and the Philippines.
Definition and Examples of Linguistic Variation
This project is an ongoing study into the phonetics and phonology of Australian English including aspects of its origin, evolution and variation. The dedicated Australian Voices website developed by Associate Professor Felicity Cox and Dr Sallyanne Palethorpe is an interactive portal that provides an accessible resource to detailed information about the project. The website invites users to explore accent variation and change through the extensive use of audio files, which take listeners on a linguistic journey spanning years.
However the extent and limits of variation are a challenging puzzle.
Another characteristic of human language is that it is dynamic. Languages change over time.
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As a result, linguistic properties need not be stable. For a proper understanding of language variation and language change, as manifest in the formal structure of human languages, we combine three perspectives:. We study the ways in which linguistic diversity is encoded in the cognitive computational system that generates language structures, i.
Questions include: to what extent is linguistic diversity restricted by the grammatical blue print Universal Grammar underlying human languages? Where in the grammar are different dimensions of linguistic diversity encoded? Is the encoding of small linguistic differences microvariation fundamentally different from the encoding of major linguistic differences macrovariation? And, which parts of human language structure are invariant i.
Research questions are: How and why do new language varieties arise in language contact situations, and how stable are these varieties? Under what circumstances will languages be under pressure and close to disappearance? What are the consequences of multilingualism and language contact for a linguistic community, and for the individual speaker?
This perspective identifies the historical sources of linguistic divergence and convergence: how and why have related languages grown apart? How did features shared by unrelated languages arise?
Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms
Stay posted on our activities and the latest information about our research including a detailed self-assessment over : read our blog. Skip to main content. Most of this variation is highly systematic: speakers of a language make choices in pronunciation , morphology , word choice , and grammar depending on a number of non-linguistic factors. These factors include the speaker's purpose in communication , the relationship between speaker and hearer, the production circumstances, and various demographic affiliations that a speaker can have. With linguistic variation, the alternation between elements is categorically constrained by the linguistic context in which they occur.
Department of Language and Linguistic Science
Multilingual Matters, Dialectal Variation "A dialect is variation in grammar and vocabulary in addition to sound variations. For example, if one person utters the sentence 'John is a farmer' and another says the same thing except pronounces the word farmer as 'fahmuh,' then the difference is one of accent. But if one person says something like 'You should not do that' and another says 'Ya hadn't oughta do that,' then this is a dialect difference because the variation is greater. The extent of dialect differences is a continuum. Some dialects are extremely different and others less so. Ellis, From Language to Communication.