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Language use and identification. Centralization of vowels in Martha’s Vineyard. Language use and identification. Centralization of vowels in Martha’s Vineyard [  ]  [  ] and [  ]  [  ] while, pie, night out, house, trout. Language use and identification.

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Language use and identification l.jpg
Language use and identification

  • Centralization of vowels in Martha’s Vineyard


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Language use and identification

  • Centralization of vowels in Martha’s Vineyard []  [] and []  []

    • while, pie, night

    • out, house, trout


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Language use and identification

  • Centralization of vowels in Martha’s Vineyard []  [] and []  []




Register variation l.jpg
Register variation Vineyard

  • Complexity of the speaker’s competence

    • T’as pas vu le flic ?

    • N’avez-vous vu le policier ?

  • Lexical choices (policier / flic)

  • Syntactic choices

    • subject pronoun / verb inversion

    • omission of ne

  • Phonological choices: Tu as vs. T’as

  • Social deixis: tu vs. vous


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Register variation Vineyard

  • Complexity of the speaker’s competence

    • You seen the cop?

    • Have you seen the policeman?

  • Lexical choices (policeman / cop)

  • Syntactic choices

    • omission of perfect aux have

  • Phonological choices

    • you : [j] vs [ju:]


Register variation8 l.jpg
Register variation Vineyard

  • Complexity of the speaker’s competence

    • Have you seen the policeman?

    • Might you perhaps have seen the policeman

  • Addition of modal elements might, perhaps


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Register variation Vineyard

  • Complexity of the speaker’s competence

    • She don’t talk to them boys no more.

    • She doesn’t talk to those boys any more.

  • Morphological choices

    • don’t vs doesn’t (as 3rd pers sg auxiliary)

    • them vs those (as plural demonstrative)

  • Syntactic choices

    • double negation


Diachronic variation english l.jpg
Diachronic variation: English Vineyard

Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum;

Si þin nama gehalgod

to becume þin rice

gewurþe ðin willa

on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.

urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg

and forgyf us ure gyltas

swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum

and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge

ac alys us of yfele soþlice


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Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum; Vineyard

Father our thou that art in heavens

Si þin nama gehalgod

be thy name hallowed

to becume þin rice

come thy kingdom

gewurþe ðin willa

be-done thy will

on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.

on earth as in heavens

urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg

our daily bread give us today

and forgyf us ure gyltas

and forgive us our sins

swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum

as we forgive those-who-have-sinned-against-us

and ne gelæd þu us on costnunge

and not lead thou us into temptation

ac alys us of yfele soþlice

but deliver us from evil. truly


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This version of the Lord's Prayer is from Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by Cathy Ball (Department of Linguistics, Georgetown University) for Edward Vanetten's Sunday School class.

http://www.georgetown.edu/faculty/ballc/oe/paternoster-oe.html


Diachronic variation english13 l.jpg
Diachronic variation: English Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum, si þin nama gehalgod. To becume þin rice.

Old English, circa 1000 (West Saxon Gospels)

Oure fadir that art in heuenes halewid be thi name, thi kyngdoom come to,

Middle English, circa 1400 (Wyclif Bible)

Our father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come.

Early Modern English, circa 1600 (King James Bible)

Our Father, who is in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your kingdom come into being.

Contemporary English


Diachronic variation english14 l.jpg
Diachronic variation: English Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum

Our Father, who is in heaven

  • Syntactic changes

    • Position of genitive pronoun ure (=our)

  • Morphological changes

    • Conjugation of be

    • Case: heofonum is the dative plural of heofon

    • Second person pronoun þu (þ = th)


Diachronic variation english15 l.jpg
Diachronic variation: English Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

  • Semantic change

    • on > in

  • Phonetic change

    • Fæder [fædr]

    • ure [ur]

  • Spelling system

    • æ þ ð


Diachronic variation french l.jpg
Diachronic variation: French Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

Carles li reis, nostre emper[er]e magnes

Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne:

Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne.

N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne;(Chanson de Roland, environ 1090)

Phonological change: Carles/Charles, castel/château ; reis / roi ; nostre / notre, altaigne/hautaine

Pronunciation of final s


Diachronic variation french17 l.jpg
Diachronic variation: French Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

Carles li reis, nostre emper[er]e magnes

Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne:

Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne.

N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne;(Chanson de Roland, environ 1090)

Morphological change:

Carles, reis, magnes : -s = subject case


Diachronic variation french18 l.jpg
Diachronic variation: French Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

Carles li reis, nostre emper[er]e magnes

Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne:

Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne.

N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne;(Chanson de Roland, environ 1090)

Syntactic change:

*Charles sept ans a été en Espagne

*Jusqu’à la mer (il) conquit la terre haute


Diachronic variation french19 l.jpg
Diachronic variation: French Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

Carles li reis, nostre emper[er]e magnes

Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne:

Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne.

N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne;(Chanson de Roland, environ 1090)

Lexical change (word replacement):

magne > grand; tresque > jusque; remanoir > rester


Diachronic variation french20 l.jpg
Diachronic variation: French Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

Carles li reis, nostre emper[er]e magnes

Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne:

Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne.

N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne;(Chanson de Roland, environ 1090)

Lexical semantic change:

altaigne = hautain, only the metaphorical sense remains


Phonological change l.jpg
Phonological change Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

Latin Français Italien

  • cantum > chant canto

  • campum > champ campo

  • carrum > char carro

  • carum > cher caro

  • caballum > cheval cavallo


Phonological change22 l.jpg
Phonological change Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

  • casus > cas (emprunt médiéval au latin)

  • campania > campagne (emprunt au provençal ou au picard ou aux deux)


Phonological change23 l.jpg
Phonological change Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

Latin Français Italien

  • tēlam toile tela

  • tēctum toit tetto

  • sēram soir sera

  • rēgem roi re


Morphological change analogy l.jpg
Morphological change: analogy Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

Latin Old Fr (1200) French

  • amo aim j’aime

  • amas aimes tu aimes

  • amat aimet il aime

  • amamus aimons nous aimons

  • amatis aimez vous aimez

  • amant aiment ils aiment


Conclusion l.jpg
Conclusion Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

  • Why the interest in variation?

    • Not all variation is possible. Possible variation tells us about the structure of linguistic knowledge

    • Avoid simplistic analyses:

      • double negation is illogical

      • meaning and syntax of modal auxiliaries in English

      • confusion of diachronic and synchronic explanations


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Conclusion Christi College 140 [WSCp], a translation of the Gospels written in Bath in the first half of the 11th century; edited by Liuzza (1994). Read by

  • Central object of linguistic inquiry: the individual speaker’s competence

  • But

    • Complexity of that competence (multiple systems for one speaker)

    • Inter-speaker variation


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