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“Aye, I watch it but”: Individuals, television and language change

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1 “Aye, I watch it but”: Individuals, television and language change
Jane Stuart-Smith and Claire Timmins University of Glasgow; Queen Margaret University Edinburgh UKLVC 6, Lancaster University,11-13 September 2007

2 “Aye, I watch it but”: Individuals, television and language change
Paper overview This paper represents a shift in position. After summarizing the key correlational results, we consider the possible interpretations for TV in terms of causality based on the regression models. The fact that the TV factors may be entered alongside those from social practices (and others) demonstrates a degree of independence. It is not possible to assume that the TV links are indirectly related via social practices (though there may be factors involved, such as covert attitudes, Kristiansen pc). Whilst it is awkward, we must seriously entertain the possibility that TV is a direct causal factor in these changes. However, this does not mean that we must assume blanket transmission of features to passive viewers. Analysis of individual speakers, as opposed to just group measures, emphasises: (1) the different possible profiles, and so the individuality of each speaker (2) the role of personality (here dealt with in terms of ‘innovativeness’) in modelling these changes. We conclude by presenting the bones of our model of linguistic appropriation from the media, which requires several key components, and in particular reference to speech perception, appopriation, stylistic variation, and time. JSS/CT 22/12/07

3 Two Glaswegian adolescent boys talking about EastEnders …
R have you been watchin’ EastEnders? L Phhhh, uuh. R Do you watch it? L Aye ah watch it but. R Brilliant man L No’ saw it (inaudible) R They two nearly got caught aff ay, L Aye R Sam was it? L Sam, an, R (laughs) L She hid behind the couch. R Aye. (laughs) L That’s the last one ah saw ah think. R Ah know she wants tae break it up now an’ he doesnae. L (laughs) R Pure shockin’ innit? L Aye, ‘cause he’s R Mad Barry’s left in his cell man, pure makes, things for him an’ aw that. So he does, ‘s quite shockin’

4 Context Debate concerning influence of broadcast media, especially TV, on speech e.g. Trudgill (1986); Chambers (1998); Stuart-Smith (2006) Specifically with reference to consonant changes in UK accents e.g. TH-fronting, DH-fronting, L-vocalization (e.g. Foulkes and Docherty 1999)

5 The Glasgow media project
Is TV a contributory factor in accent change in adolescents? (2002-5) ESRC R Gwilym Pryce (statistics) Barrie Gunter (media studies)

6 Methodology 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

7 Linguistic variables TH-fronting: [f] for [] 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 all unexpected in Glasgow English reported informally since 1950s; formally since 1980s; Macafee 1983 confirmed as changes in 1997, and argued to be part of sociolinguistic construction of identity distinguishing WC adolescents from MC speakers in the city Stuart-Smith et al 2007

8 Change in progress: TH-fronting
% new variant progress of change

9 Change in progress: L-vocalization
% new variant progress of change

10 Change in progress: DH-fronting
% new variant progress of change

11 Why? – the group Correlational study (logistic regression) with
(th):[f], (dh):[v], l:[V] with dialect contact (beyond and within Glasgow) attitudes to accents social practices TV music Computers/internet Film/video/DVD sport

12 Results of correlational study
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)

13 Interpreting the correlations
Language Factors not measured Direct causal link Attitudes TV engagement Social practices Dialect contact

14 Why? – the individual Individuals have always been important in discussions of language variation and change e.g. L.Milroy (1987), J.Milroy (1992) e.g. Labov (2001) e.g. Eckert (2000)

15 Diffusion of innovations and individuals
adopter categories Innovator Early adopter Early majority Late majority Laggard Rogers (1995: 262)

16 Adopter categories and the media
‘Mass media channels are relatively more important than interpersonal channels for earlier adopters than for later adopters’ Rogers (1995: 197)

17 Our sample - basic social relationships
1F1 1M2 1M3 3M2 3M1 3M6 3M3 1M1 1F3 1F2 1M4 1M5 3M5 3M4 1M6 1F4 1F6 2M7 2M1 3F1 3F5 2M5 2M6 1F5 In fact, despite needing 12 of each, and thinking that we wouldn’t have much coherence to groups, we do … Five isolated groups … others well connected 2M3 2M4 3F6 3F2 2F1 3F3 3F4 Friends 2F3 2F5 2F6 Best friends 2F2 Related 2F4 Going out with

18 Our sample – adopter categories
1F1 1M2 1M3 3M2 3M1 3M6 3M3 1F3 1F2 1M1 1M4 1M5 3M5 3M4 1M6 1F4 1F6 2M1 2M7 3F1 3F5 2M5 2M6 1F5 In fact, despite needing 12 of each, and thinking that we wouldn’t have much coherence to groups, we do … Five isolated groups … others well connected 2M3 2M4 3F6 3F2 2F1 3F4 Innovator Early Adopter Early Majority Late Majority Laggard 2F3 2F5 2F2 3F3 2F6 2F4

19 Does adopter category relate to change in progress?
And/or to social factors such as dialect contact or engagement with TV? DH-fronting TH-fronting

20 DH-fronting and adopter category
% [v] speaker

21 DH-fronting - Innovator
1M4 - highest [v] no dialect contact Goth (skateboarder) TV engagement: ‘mmm … Buffy. Simpsons, EastEnders, sometimes Coronation Street’ ‘Walford … he’s fae England. Walford or … is it Walford? Yeah, it’s Walford. I’m from Glasgow.’ [Walford = fictional location of EastEnders]

22 DH-fronting: adopter category/peer network
most [v] contact N/S England engagement with TV 3M2 3M3 3M6 3M4 3F5 3F1 3M5 3M1 3F6 3F2 high [v] neglible contact high engagement with TV In fact, despite needing 12 of each, and thinking that we wouldn’t have much coherence to groups, we do … Five isolated groups … others well connected no [v] high contact N/S England engagement with TV

23 TH-fronting: spontaneous speech
[h]ink, [h]ing, [h]inking % [f] speaker

24 TH-fronting: wordlists

25 TH-fronting - Innovators
1F6 – most [f] neglible dialect contact very engaged with EastEnders 2M1 – second most [f] Some contact with N England engages with TV, e.g. Extreme Sport; cartoons (not EastEnders)

26 TH-fronting – Early Adopters
2F4 – high [f] Contact with S England ‘Em, I like the way the English people talk. … I like that. … Don’t know, just like the ways that my dad’s girlfriend talks, and I just sort of listen to her talking.’ Some engagement with EastEnders

27 TH-fronting - Laggards
2F6 – low [f] ‘I like to talk nice’ no dialect contact very engaged with EastEnders ‘Oh my God!’ What? ‘Mark tries to kill hisel’!’ Talks to 2F5 (low [f]) – does this help reduce her own usage?

28 TH-fronting - Laggards
1F5 – high [f] no dialect contact high engagement with EastEnders, and other soaps ‘So what did you watch last night?’ ‘Aw, did you watch Easte… did you watch Coronation Street last night?’ Talks to 1F6 (highest [f]) - pulls usage up?

29 Summary Adopter category seems to pattern for DH-fronting
Adopter category/peer networks may facilitate spread (but not necessarily) There seem to be different causal pathways, and combinations of pathways, for different speakers

30 Causal pathways for change
Language Factors not measured TV engagement Social practices Dialect contact

31 How? These results highlight:
stylistic variation in these changes the differing sociolinguistic profiles of individual speaker/viewers Modelling the mechanism for TV ‘influence’: perception/production (episodic model) appropriation, i.e. what each speaker/viewer takes for him/herself whilst engaging with the media, given their own particular experience of the world (Holly et al 2001)

32 Linguistic appropriation from TV – a working model
The bones Perception (exemplars) appropriating Appropriation at media Sociolinguistic system Production exploiting Style in context time

33 Select Bibliography Carvalho, A.M. (2004), ‘I speak like the guys on TV: Palatalization and the urbanization of Uruguayan Portuguese’, Language, Variation and Change, 16, Chambers, J. (1998), ‘TV makes people sound the same’, in L. Bauer and P. Trudgill (eds), Language Myths, New York: Penguin, Eckert, P. (2000), Linguistic Variation as Social Practice, Oxford: Blackwell Holly, W., Püschel, U. and Bergmann, J. (eds), (2001), Die sprechende Zuschauer, Wiesbaden: WV Kerswill, P. (2003), 'Models of linguistic change and diffusion: new evidence from dialect levelling in British English', in D. Britain and J. Cheshire (eds), Social Dialectology. In honour of Peter Trudgill, Amsterdam: Benjamins, Kristiansen, T. (2003), ‘The youth and the gatekeepers: Reproduction and change in language norm and variation’, in J. Androustopoulos and A. Georgakopoulou, Discourse Constructions of Youth Identities, Amsterdam: Benjamins, Labov, W. (2001), Principles of Linguistic Change: Social Factors, Oxford: Blackwell J. Milroy (1992), Linguistic Variation and Change, Oxford: Blackwell L. Milroy (1987), Language and Social Networks, Second edition, Oxford: Blackwell Rogers, E. (1995), Diffusion of innovations, Fourth edition, New York: Free Press Stuart-Smith, J. (2005), Is TV a contributory factor is accent change in adolescents? Final Report on ESRC Grant No. R (available from Economic and Social Research Council website) Stuart-Smith, J. (2006), ‘The influence of media on language’, in C. Llamas, P. Stockwell and L. Mullany (eds), The Routledge Companion to Sociolinguistics, London: Routledge Stuart-Smith, J., Timmins, C. and Tweedie, F. (2007), ‘”Talkin’ Jockney?”: Accent change in Glaswegian’, Journal of Sociolinguistics, 11, Trudgill, P. (1986), Dialects in Contact, Oxford: Blackwell

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