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Television and language change – evidence from Glasgow Jane Stuart-Smith Department of English Language, University of Glasgow IPS Munich, Hauptseminar,

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Presentation on theme: "Television and language change – evidence from Glasgow Jane Stuart-Smith Department of English Language, University of Glasgow IPS Munich, Hauptseminar,"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Television and language change – evidence from Glasgow Jane Stuart-Smith Department of English Language, University of Glasgow IPS Munich, Hauptseminar, Soziophonetik 28 May 2008

3 2 Television and language change – evidence from Glasgow Quantitative sociolinguistics and language change TV and language change Why consider TV? The Glasgow media project Results: the correlational study Interpreting the results Linguistic appropriation from TV – a working model The next steps …

4 3 Recap: quantitative sociolinguistics observing sound change in progress classic sociolinguistic investigation of language variation and change was formulated by William Labov (e.g. Labov 1972), and pioneered in large cities, like New York City and Glasgow Linguistic variables (any aspect of language which shows a number of variants) are correlated with extra-linguistic variables (any aspect of society, e.g. social class, gender, age, ethnicity) Language change in progress observed through the comparison of patterns of variation across age groups/times, and explained with reference to social factors/processes

5 4 A (set of) social factor(s) – TV and language change? traditional view of variationist/quantitative sociolinguistics watching TV may affect vocabulary but not core features of language, e.g. pronunciation, grammar (e.g. Chambers, e.g. 1998, Trudgill, 1986) at the deeper reaches of language change – sound changes and grammatical changes – the media have no significant effect at all (Chambers 1998: 124)

6 5 A (set of) social factor(s) – TV and language change? traditional view of variationist/quantitative sociolinguistics watching TV may affect vocabulary but not core features of language, e.g. pronunciation, grammar (e.g. Chambers, e.g. 1998, Trudgill, 1986) language change primarily takes place through accommodation during face-to-face interaction (dialect contact) assumption of strong media effects with direct influence on behaviour

7 6 TV and language change? TV may –increase awareness of linguistic varieties –and/or affect attitudes towards other varieties (e.g. Milroy and Milroy 1985) If core features of grammar are affected, this results from –voluntary orientation towards media –conscious copying from media models (e.g. Trudgill 1986; Carvalho 2004)

8 7 Consonant changes in the UK Certain consonant changes, typical of London accents (e.g. Cockney), are spreading rapidly across urban accents of British English e.g. TH-fronting, [f] for / / in e.g. think, tooth e.g. Foulkes and Docherty (1999), Kerswill (2003) In some accents, e.g. Glaswegian, these features are found exclusively in working-class adolescents with relatively low social and geographical mobility (e.g. Stuart-Smith et al, 2007)

9 8 the media themselves are happy to blame television especially popular soap dramas set in London, such as EastEnders, apparently featuring Cockney dialect

10 9 Why linguists should consider TV (1) TV is exceptionally prevalent Some TV programmes constitute social phenomena, e.g. the London-based soap EastEnders (1985-) –screened 4 times/week plus weekend omnibus –regularly attracted 18 million viewers/episode (i.e. almost one- third UK population) –viewing of key episodes have caused exceptional surges in electricity demand (e.g. National Grid 2001) –viewers can be highly engaged (e.g. Buckingham 1987)

11 10 Why linguists should consider TV (2) Media are assumed to affect social behaviours (e.g. McQuail 2005) BUT –TV is assumed to be a contributory factor, along with other factors (Klapper 1960: 8) –audience assumed to be active interpreters of media texts (e.g. Philo 1999) –TV and para-social interaction (e.g. Abercrombie 1996)

12 11 Why linguists should consider TV (3) linguists are starting to include TV: –as possible cause of language change, in, e.g. German (e.g. Lameli 2004; Muhr 2003) –in accounts of language change e.g. Br. Portuguese (Naro 1981, Naro and Scherre 1996) Ur. Portuguese (Carvalho 2004) and to wonder about TV in these changes (e.g. Foulkes and Docherty 2000)

13 12 The Glasgow media project Is TV a contributory factor in accent change in adolescents? (2002-5) Economic and Social Research Council (R ) Are the media a contributory factor in systemic language change under certain circumstances for certain individuals?

14 13 The Glasgow media project Is TV a contributory factor in accent change in adolescents? (2002-5) Economic and Social Research Council (R ) Are the media a contributory factor in systemic language change under certain circumstances for certain individuals? Does TV play a role in the appearance of Cockney accent features in the speech of Glaswegian adolescents?

15 14 The research team The Research Fellow Claire Timmins The Statistician (Prof) Gwilym Pryce The Media expert (Prof) Barrie Gunter a group of kids (and adults) from Maryhill in Glasgow

16 15 Method sample –36 adolescents; 12 adults (working-class) data –speech: wordlist and spontaneous –Questionnaire; informal interviews design –Experiment; correlational study analysis –auditory transcription –all tokens of wordlist –first 30 tokens of spontaneous speech

17 16 Linguistic variables TH-fronting: [f] for /θ/ in e.g. think, both DH-fronting: [v] for / / in e.g. brother L-vocalization: /l/ vocalized to high back (un)rounded vowel e.g. people, milk, well typical of Cockney (working-class London) accent unexpected in Glasgow English reported informally since 1980s (Macafee 1983) confirmed as changes in 1997 (Stuart-Smith et al 2007)

18 17 Results I: Glaswegian is changing For all three variables, in wordlists and conversational speech –apparent-time change: adolescents use more new variants than adults – real-time change: we find more new variants in 2003 than in 1997

19 18 Change in progress: TH-fronting % [f] progress of change

20 19 % [V] progress of change Change in progress: L-vocalization

21 20 Change in progress: DH-fronting % [v] progress of change

22 21 Why are these changes happening? Correlational study –(th):[f], (dh):[v], (l):[V] with –dialect contact (beyond and within Glasgow) –attitudes to accents –social practices/identity –music (incl. radio) –computers (incl. internet) –film (incl. video/DVD) –sport –TV

23 22 Why are these changes happening? Correlational study –(th):[f], (dh);[v], (l):[V] with –dialect contact (beyond and within Glasgow) –attitudes to accents –social practices/identity –music (incl. radio) –computers (incl. internet) –film (incl. video/DVD) –sport –TV

24 23 Statistical analysis logistic regression general-to-specific model create list for each category of social factors (e.g. dialect contact, attitudes, TV, etc.) run regressions on each category list significant variables from each list + theoretically interesting variables -> overall shortlist run regressions on list until only significant variables remain

25 24 Results II: Dialect contact Initial baseline criteria: informants born and raised in area (2.8% born in England, 2001 Census) Most have few relatives beyond Glasgow, whom they talk to more than they see. Main contact with friends and family within Glasgow. Some positive links with relatives and friends living in the South of England for four linguistic variables variance explained: 5-8%

26 25 Results II: Attitudes to accents speech samples of 7 accents –female speakers same age –reading same passage –beginning of questionnaire –also checked identification of accents mental image of 8 urban accents (cf Preston 1999) –e.g. what do you think of the accents in London? –end of questionnaire

27 26 Results II: Attitudes to accents Glasgow kids like London accents but less than other accents (less positive ……………... more positive) average responses for all informants to speech samples

28 27 Results II: Attitudes to accents Some positive links for liking London accent, and/or being able to identify London accent correctly, but also scattered relationships with other accents. variance explained: 5-12%

29 28 Results II: Social practices Our sample captures some existing groups and fragments of others The majority of the sample identify each other as neds, i.e. young urban delinquents Im a wee Glasgow person. I wouldnae say Im a ned cause I dont like go oot and start fights an aw that. (2m3)

30 29 Results II: Social practices some positive links with more anti-school practices variance explained: 2-18%

31 30 Results II: TV Our informants report access to 3+ TV sets at home, and say that they watch TV every day, with average exposure of around 3 hours/day. London-based programmes are rated highest for soap (EastEnders), comedy (Only Fools and Horses), and police drama (The Bill). TH-/DH-fronting and L-vocalization occur (variably) in media-Cockney

32 31 Two Glaswegian adolescent boys talking … R have you been watchin EastEnders? LPhhhh, uuh. RDo you watch it? LAye ah watch it but. RBrilliant man LNo saw it (inaudible) RThey two nearly got caught aff ay, LAye RSam was it? LSam, an, R(laughs) LShe hid behind the couch. RAye. (laughs) LThats the last one ah saw ah think. RAh know she wants tae break it up now an he doesnae. L(laughs) RPure shockin innit? LAye, cause hes RMad Barrys left in his cell man, pure makes, things for him an aw that. So he does, s quite shockin

33 32 Results II: TV Several factors are significant –positive correlations, mainly with engagement with EastEnders –negative with simply watching TV, or engaging with Scottish/Northern/US programmes –Fairly consistent pattern across the five variables variance explained: 4-13%

34 33 TH-fronting (wordlists) all categories Reg 1: n = 715, r 2 = 35; Reg 2: n = 715, r 2 = 35 Variables tested: linguistic film music sport computers social attitudes dialect contact TV

35 34 TH-fronting (conversations) all categories Reg 1: n = 1327, r 2 = 23; Reg 2: n = 1327, r 2 = 23 Variables tested: linguistic film music sport computers social dialect contact TV

36 35 DH-fronting (wordlists) all categories Reg 1: n = 644, r 2 = 53; Reg 2: n = 662, r 2 = 50 Variables tested: linguistic film music social attitudes dialect contact TV

37 36 L-vocalization (wordlists) all categories Variables tested: linguistic music sport computers social attitudes dialect contact TV Reg 1: n = 876, r 2 = 20; Reg 2: n = 876, r 2 = 19

38 37 L-vocalization (conversations) all categories Reg 1: n = 1015, r 2 = 20; Reg 2: n = 1015, r 2 = 19 Variables tested: Linguistic film sport computers social attitudes dialect contact TV

39 38 Correlational study – results for all linguistic variables satisfactory model only achieved when a range of social factors entered together A number of social factors are significant together including –dialect contact –social practices –engagement with TV (EastEnders) How should these results be interpreted?

40 39 TV engagement Language e.g. (th):[f] Social practices Dialect contact Social factors and language change attitudes

41 40 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact Attitudes and language change? attitudes

42 41 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact Dialect contact and language change?

43 42 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact Dialect contact and language change Speech accommodation in face-to-face interaction (e.g. Trudgill 1986)

44 43 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact Social practices and language change?

45 44 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact Social practices and language change Linguistic practices develop with social practices as part of identity construction (e.g. Eckert 2000)

46 45 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact Social practices/TV and language change?

47 46 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact Social practices/TV and language change?

48 47 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact TV and language change? Factors not measured

49 48 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact TV and language change? Factors not measured

50 49 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact TV and language change? Factors not measured How?

51 50 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact TV and language change? Factors not measured Direct behavioural influence?

52 51 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact TV and language change? Factors not measured Awareness? Copying? (e.g. Trudgill 1986)

53 52 Awareness of media-Cockney? Explored using informal imitation task (boys only) given during informal interview (cf Preston 1992) –informants shown a set of picture cards –asked to pronounce words first in their own accent –shown a picture of a leading actor from EastEnders –asked to talk about his accent and theirs –asked to say words again, but with the same accent as the actor –Fine phonetic analysis of the pairs of words

54 53 Awareness of media-Cockney All children thought the actors accent was different from theirs hes from a different place … just different English hes fae England s just … pure English, no? English snobby says it posher Its like a sore throat accent … or … they took his tonsils oot or something Ah hink they pronounce more He changes the letters, if it was f hed use v he talks different he talks more tough Its aw right … I wouldnae like to speak like it but

55 54 Imitation of media-Cockney First impression: Ah cannae talk like him idiosyncratic, subtle, alteration of segments more alteration to suprasegmentals no apparent systematic alteration of (th dh l) no evidence of awareness of these features as particular features of this characters speech Implication: variation in these speakers is not resulting from conscious copying

56 55 TV engagement Language Social practices Dialect contact TV and language change? Factors not measured How?

57 56 Rethinking the notion of TV influence causality blanket transmission of linguistic features to passive speaker/viewer –appropriation, i.e. what each speaker/viewer takes for themselves whilst engaging with the media, given their own particular experience of the world (Holly et al 2001) –observations from interactional sociolinguistics that individuals appropriate media material for specific stylistic purposes (e.g. Androutsopoulos 2001) –current episodic models of speech perception/production assume at least short-term storage of incoming material – from all sources – as part of process of perceiving speech

58 57 Linguistic appropriation from TV – a working model the bones –perception appropriating –appropriation at media –sociolinguistic system systematic resonance –productionexploiting –style/identityin context –time

59 58 The next steps … Investigate ethnographically the kinds of phonetic variation that speakers exhibit whilst watching TV Investigate experimentally how people respond to speech experienced in different ways, e.g. through watching it pre-recorded on screen (like TV) or from talking to another speaker

60 59 The next steps … Investigate ethnographically the kinds of phonetic variation that speakers exhibit whilst watching TV Investigate experimentally how people respond to speech experienced in different ways, e.g. through watching it pre-recorded on screen (like TV) or from talking to another speaker

61 60 The next steps … Initial results from our first experiment (Stuart-Smith, Smith and Holmes 2008) suggest that –speakers do learn about accents other than their own from interactive and mediated speech but that –the processes of learning are different for each source –linguistic structure is important –attention may play an important role for mediated speech

62 61 EXTRA SLIDES

63 62 1. TH-fronting wordlists (n = 951)conversations (n = 2519)

64 63 1. DH-fronting wordlists(only) (n = 973)

65 64 1. L-vocalization wordlists (n = 1165)conversations (n = 1429)

66 65 2. Results Linguistic –significant factor of specific position in word emerged for each variable: –variance explained: around 12% regressions for age and gender consistently either failed to be significant, or to show sufficiently high explanation of variance (cf Labov 2001: 272, n 16)

67 66 3c. TH-fronting and TV many have 3 or more TV setsmost watch TV every day self-reported TV exposure of between 1 to 5 hours a day (av. 3hrs) weekday weekend

68 67 3c. They watch and like EastEnders most likewatch

69 68 Extra-linguistic variables – TV correct identification of TV programmes (auditory accent stimulus) general TV exposure exposure to soaps/dramas favourite programme/character/accent engagement with soaps/dramas TV and socialising (watching TV; talking about TV; engaging with TV) additional mention of TV from project recordings

70 69 3c. TH-fronting occurs (variably) in EastEnders

71 70 4. Imitation of media-Cockney (phonetic alteration) our first impressions were that little had been changed but narrow auditory transcription revealed that most children altered at least something in response to the task segments were altered –in the expected direction: e.g. [th] > [f] –also towards the standard: e.g. [f] > [th] changes in suprasegmental features were striking: –voice quality; length; pitch e.g. face: 1M2: own imitated town: 1M1: own imitated brother: 3M4: own imitated thinking: 2M5: own imitated

72 71 Imitation

73 72 Investigating media effects media effects research typically investigates the potential short-term effects of TV using two main approaches (e.g. Gunter 2000) (longitudinal) correlational studies e.g. Lefkowitz et al (1972), agression/predict aggressive behaviour behavioural experiments e.g. Bandura et al (1963), direct imitation and/or generalized aggression

74 73 Results II: TV as softening-up agent? Are positive attitudes towards Cockney the result of watching popular programmes set in London (i.e. Trudgills softening-up, 1988:44)? We tested this claim statistically using multiple regression analysis to find out which variables might be linked with holding positive attitudes to Cockney. The only significant result was in fact a negative link between liking the Cockney speech sample and watching EastEnders.

75 74 Results II: TV many have 3 or more TV setsmost watch TV every day self-reported TV exposure of between 1 to 5 hours a day (av. 3hrs) weekday weekend

76 75 They watch and like EastEnders most likewatch

77 76 These features occur (variably) in EastEnders, e.g. TH-fronting


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