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Analyzing Linguistic Variation:

Statistical Models and Methods

John C. Paolillo

David Sankoff's VARBRUL computer program is widely used in analyzing linguistic variation in sociolinguistics, language acquisition, discourse, and other areas of linguistics, yet researchers have had to depend on hard-to-find publications and one-on-one training in order to learn how to use the program. For the first time, this comprehensive guide explains every aspect of this singularly useful computer program, from its most basic statistical foundations, to data collection, coding, and analysis techniques. This is written with researchers and students in the field of linguistics in mind and assumes no prior familiarity with statistics.

Statistical and methodological issues are illustrated with examples of linguistic variation research, and their bearing on issues of theoretical consequence is thoroughly discussed. All quantitative areas of linguistics will benefit from this book's careful presentation of VARBRUL analysis and its relation to other statistical procedures used in the social sciences.

John C. Paolillo is now (2014) associate professor of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University.

For up-to-date supplemental software and the data files analyzed in this book, please visit John C. Paolillo's supplemental website.


  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1 What is Variationis Analysis?
  • 2 Linguistic Variation
  • 3 Variable Linguistic Data
  • 4 Conducting Variationist Analyses
  • 5 Analyzing Contingency
  • 6 Models and Parameters
  • 7 Variance and Model Comparison
  • 8 The Logistic Regression Model
  • 9 Generalized Linear Models
  • 10 Formal Methods of Variation
  • Appendix 1 Finding Software
  • Appendix 2 The VARBRUL Estimation Algorithm
  • Appendix 3 Values of the Chi-Square Statistics
  • References
  • Index


ISBN (Paperback): 157586276X (9781575862767)
ISBN (Cloth): 1575862751 (9781575862750)

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