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Variation and Age


While age is commonly treated as a continuum, the link between age and variation is mostly social, not biological. Therefore, we tend to focus on life stages when we investigate age.


The Emergence of a Peer-Based Social Order in Preadolescence
Penelope Eckert
Ethnographic study of the relation between variation in Northern California Vowels and other stylistic resources, and the emergence of a preadolescent social order. See my web page on the elementary school study

Variation and Adolescent Social Categories: Jocks and Burnouts
Penelope Eckert
Ethnographic Study of the relation between variation and participation in the adolescent social order in school. The study took place in the Detroit suburbs, with one high school serving as the primary site, and four other high schools as secondary sites.
See my web page on the high school study

Ethnographic Study of Variation in a Wisconsin Senior Center
Mary Rose
This dissertation examines variation in the speech of older people in a farm town in Wisconsin. Located in a senior center that brings together people from town and country, the study seeks an understanding of rural lifetimes, and of sociolinguistic practice in later life. The research focuses on the relation between farm and town in the lives of the senior citizens who grew up there, seeking out the ways in which farm and town play out over people's lifetimes, in their identities, and in their linguistic practices.

The Sociolinguistic Constraints on the Quotative System - British English and US English compared
Isabel Buchstaller
My dissertation examines the synchronic functions of the new quotatives, be like and go, and considers pragmatic, discourse and social factors. The analysis of very large corpora of spontaneous spoken American and British English gives me the opportunity to investigate the social and linguistic constraints of innovative discourse strategies in different geographical locations. My approach is original in that I am combining the variationist sociolinguistic paradigm with a grammaticalization approach. This enables me to bridge quantitative and qualitative research in order to find overall trends while remaining accountable to all tokens in the data set. I have shown that the comparison of discoursal and sociolinguistic factors reveals some interesting but subtle differences in go's and like's development in different varieties of English.
(under review). Diagnostics of Age Graded Linguistic Behavior. Journal of Sociolinguistics.
2004. The Sociolinguistic Constraints on the Quotative System - US English and British English compared. Unpublished PhD thesis.
2004. Newcomers to the Pool of Quotatives: like and go. Proceedings of EPICS I, University of Seville. Universidad de Sevilla.
2003. The Co-occurrence of Quotatives with Mimetic performances. Edinburgh Working Papers in Applied Linguistics 12. Institute for Applied Language Studies. The University of Edinburgh: 1-9.
2002. He goes and I'm like: the New Quotatives re-visited. Internet Proceedings of the University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Conference. [http://www.ling.ed.ac.uk/~pgc/ archive/2002/pgc02-programme.html].
2001. An alternative view of like: Its Grammaticalization in Conversational American English and Beyond. Edinburgh Working Papers in Applied Linguistics 11. Institute for Applied Language Studies. The University of Edinburgh: 21-41.