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[t]inking about takoma. Race, Place, and Style at the Border of Washington, D.C. . Jessi Grieser Georgetown University Symposium About Language and Society—Austin 13 April 2012. Defining “Community”.

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t inking about takoma

[t]inking about takoma

Race, Place, and Style at the Border of Washington, D.C.

Jessi Grieser

Georgetown University

Symposium About Language and Society—Austin

13 April 2012

defining community
Defining “Community”

Language practice is instantiated in community as a means for community members to show affiliation or distance.

  • Labov 1963 (Martha’s Vineyard)
  • Labov 1966 (NYC)
  • Labov 1972 (NYC Lower East)
  • Johnstone and Kiesling 2008 (Pittsburgh)
  • Becker 2009 (NYC Lower East)
  • And many, many others
  • Bucholtz 1999
  • Eckert and McConell-Ginet 1992
  • Bucholtz 2010
  • And many others

GEOGRAPHIC

SHARED SOCIAL PRACTICE

www.jessgrieser.com

slide3

Tapping into the language practices of those who inhabit a particular physical space can shed light on discourses that are meaningful to the members of that community, as well as on the ways in which the community defines and understands itself.

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labov 1966
labov 1966

lower east side

blackness

/r/-deletion

working-class

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becker 2009
Becker 2009

lower east side

authentic

/r/-deletion

non-gentrifier

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slide6

Same Physical Community

Same Linguistic Variable

Different social meaning

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slide7

Large Scale Studies

lg. practice

Lg. Practice

lg. practice

lg. practice

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why shift
Why Shift?
  • Indicate a stance (DuBois 2007)
    • Segmental -- Podesva 2008
    • Suprasegmental -- Nielsen 2009
  • Express distance from/solidarity with a real or imagined audience
    • Bell 1984
    • Rickford and McNair-Knox 1994
    • Hay, Jannedy, and Mendoza-Denton 1999
  • Create or reject indexical links between language and racial identity
    • Anderson 2008
    • Podesva 2008
  • And many others

www.jessgrieser.com

place based identity
Place-Based Identity

Labov 1966 and Becker 2009 (r-deltion)

Labov 1963 (au-centralization)

Dubois and Horvath 2008 (TH-fortition)

Podesva 2008 (-t/-d deletion)

Johnstone and Kiesling 2008 (au-monopthongization)

www.jessgrieser.com

subjects
Subjects
  • Mona
    • 44
    • Lifelong Takoma resident
    • UMC professional (Lawyer)
    • Educated at Howard University
    • African American
  • Peter
    • 57
    • Lifelong DC resident
    • LMC/MC service industry worker (barber)
    • HS equivalency
    • African American

jessgrieser.wordpress.com

interdental fricative
Interdental Fricative
  • DuBois and Horvath(1998) find it to be salient marker of Cajun identity (perhaps at a second- or even third-order indexical level)
    • Sex + network most significant predictor of fortition of fricative
  • Known feature of African American English (Labov 1966, 1972; Rickford & Rickford 2000)
  • Previously found to vary in intraspeaker style shifting in a separate study of one of the speakers in the present study (Grieser 2010)

jessgrieser.wordpress.com

coding
CODING
  • Coded instances of IF that occurred in talk about Takoma
  • Coded for Linguistic Factors
    • Preceding phonological context
    • Word (random)
    • Race talk vs. community talk
    • Function/lexical (Dubois and Horvath 1998)
    • Type of function word (Dubois and Horvath 1998)
  • Coded for topic
    • Talk about DC: Takoma and non-Takoma
    • Race
    • Language
    • Other

jessgrieser.wordpress.com

slide15

When I grew up there[d]

it was predominantly an African-American community,

Mhm.

and now, white families are starting to move into the[d] community.

As well as Latino families,

and-just-

when I was growing up

it wasn't that[d] ... white families couldn't live there[d]

because it was just

"Oh we don't talk to them[d] white

But it was just- they[ð] just didn't . Yeah.

Um, and-77 so they[d] started ... um ... close to the[ð] Metro station,

and then[ð] just kind of branched ... further[ð] out

and ...

They were accepted ,

but it was just when I went to- to high school at Coolidge ...

I don't think[θ] I had any white in my graduating class.

www.jessgrieser.com

slide16

When I grew up there[d]

it was predominantly an African-American community,

Mhm.

and now, white families are starting to move into the[d] community.

As well as Latino families,

and-just-

when I was growing up

it wasn't that[d]... white families couldn't live there[d]

because it was just

"Oh we don't talk to them[d] white

But it was just- they[ð] just didn't . Yeah.

Um, and-77 so they[d]started ... um ... close to the[ð] Metro station,

and then[ð] just kind of branched ... further[ð] out

and ...

They were accepted ,

but it was just when I went to- to high school at Coolidge ...

I don't think[θ] I had any white in my graduating class.

www.jessgrieser.com

slide17

He had came down

and asked me for two dollars

and I asked him I said wait a minute

because I know he expecting me to come off real crazy whuhhh

I said let me get this([d]) straight

You want me to give you two dollars

You want me to reach into my pocket and the([ð]) money that([ð]) I stood there([d]) all day long and cut hair with

take my money and give it to you

so you can go back up into the(Ø) woods

ad smoke some crack (on) the([ð]) milk crate

and drink beer with the([d]) money that([ð]) I made all day

Is that([ð]) what you asking?

Is that([ð]) what you said because I’m not understanding

(4 lines omitted)

How he’d know how much money I got?

I’ma standing here watching everyone’s come in here

because its certain ones of them(Ø) around here

they([d]) ain’t going to get in nobody’s chair but your chair

especially them([d]) gals

they([d]) come down there(Ø) for the(Ø) eyebrow arch

and they(Ø) don’t mess with([d]) the([d]) rest of them(Ø)

I know they(Ø) came to you.

www.jessgrieser.com

slide18

He had came down

and asked me for two dollars

and I asked him I said wait a minute

because I know he expecting me to come off real crazy whuhhh

I said let me get this([d]) straight

You want me to give you two dollars

You want me to reach into my pocket and the([ð]) money that([ð]) I stood there([d]) all day long and cut hair with

take my money and give it to you

so you can go back up into the(Ø) woods

ad smoke some crack (on) the([ð]) milk crate

and drink beer with the([d]) money that([ð]) I made all day

Is that([ð]) what you asking?

Is that([ð]) what you said because I’m not understanding

(4 lines omitted)

How he’d know how much money I got?

I’ma standing here watching everyone’s come in here

because its certain ones of them(Ø) around here

they([d]) ain’t going to get in nobody’s chair but your chair

especially them([d]) gals

they([d])come down there(Ø) for the(Ø) eyebrow arch

and they(Ø) don’t mess with([d]) the([d]) rest of them(Ø)

I know they(Ø) came to you.

www.jessgrieser.com

slide19

He had came down

and asked me for two dollars

and I asked him I said wait a minute

because I know he expecting me to come off real crazy whuhhh

I said let me get this([d]) straight

You want me to give you two dollars

You want me to reach into my pocket and the([ð]) money that([ð]) I stood there([d]) all day long and cut hair with

take my money and give it to you

so you can go back up into the(Ø) woods

ad smoke some crack (on) the([ð]) milk crate

and drink beer with the([d]) money that([ð]) I made all day

Is that([ð]) what you asking?

Is that([ð]) what you said because I’m not understanding

(4 lines omitted)

How he’d know how much money I got?

I’ma standing here watching everyone’s come in here

because its certain ones of them(Ø) around here

they([d]) ain’t going to get in nobody’s chair but your chair

especially them([d]) gals

they([d])come down there(Ø) for the(Ø) eyebrow arch

and they(Ø) don’t mess with([d]) the([d]) rest of them(Ø)

I know they(Ø) came to you.

www.jessgrieser.com

fortition by topic
Fortition by Topic

www.jessgrieser.com

dc s racial migration
DC’s Racial Migration

2000 > 2010 census showed migration of upper class whites into western quadrants of DC

Increasing minority racial populations in other two quadrants

To talk about DC neighborhoods is to talk about race

Race-based talk does show significant differences in frequency of variants

Takoma vs. Non Takoma talk does not…

Takoma != racialized?

www.jessgrieser.com

slide23

It is evident from this data that an ethnoracially marked variant is used to :

a) create racialized characters in narrative

b) take stances about race and race neutrality in place

c) indicate unity of place and race in what is considered (a)racial space

www.jessgrieser.com

slide24

“Doesn’t make a difference whether I’m black you white or what nationality you are. We’ve gotten past that you know….Doesn’t make a difference whether it’s D.C. or Maryland, bang! We are a part of a community.”

--Peter

www.jessgrieser.com

slide25

Many thanks to:

Dr. Robert Podseva and my fellow students in GU’s Language and Social Meaning Seminar in Spring 2011

Dr. Natalie Schilling and the other investigators of the Language and Communication in the District of Columbia project

Tammi Stout for the last-minute print job

www.jessgrieser.com

slide26

Anderson, K. T. 2008. Justifying race talk: Indexicality and the social construction of race and linguistic value. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 18, no. 1: 108–129.

Becker, K.. 2009. /r/and the construction of place identity on New York Cityʼs Lower East Side1. Journal of Sociolinguistics 13, no. 5: 634–658.

Bucholtz, M.. 1999. “Why be normal?”: Language and identity practices in a community of nerd girls. Language in society 28, no. 02: 203–223.

Bucholtz, M. 2010. White Kids:

Du Bois, J. W. 2007. The stance triangle. Stancetaking in discourse: Subjectivity, evaluation, interaction: 139–182.

Dubois, S., and B. M Horvath. 1998. Letʼstink about dat: Interdental fricatives in Cajun English. Language Variation and Change 10, no. 03: 245–261.

Eckert, P. 2008. Variation and the indexical field. Journal of Sociolinguistics 12, no. 4: 453–476.

Eckert, P., and S. McConell-Ginet. 1992. Communities of Practice: Where language, gender, and power all live. In Locating Power: Proceedings of the 1992 Berkeley Women and Language Conference., 89-99. Berkeley: Berkeley Women and Language Group.

Grieser, J.. 2010. Audience-Directed Intraspeaker AAVE Variation: A Study in Washington, D.C. Paper presented at Sociolinguistic Symposium 18 in Southampton, England, September 3.

Hay, J., S. Jannedy, and N. Mendoza-Denton. 1999. Oprah and/ay: Lexical frequency, referee design, and style. In Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 1389–1392.

Johnstone, B., and S. F Kiesling. 2008. Indexicality and experience: Exploring the meanings of/aw/-monophthongization in Pittsburgh1. Journal of sociolinguistics 12, no. 1: 5–33.

Labov, W. 1963a. The social motivation of a sound change. Word 19. 273-309.. 1966. The Social Stratification of English in New York City: 714–62.

———. 1966. The Social Stratification of English in New York City.

———. 1972a. Sociolinguistic Patterns. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

———. 1972b. Language in the inner city. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

———. 1972c. The Isolation of Contextual Styles. Sociolinguistic Patterns: 70–109.

Modan, G. G. 2007. Turf Wars: Discourse, Diversity, and the Politics of Place. Wiley-Blackwell.

Podesva, R. 2007. Phonation type as a stylistic variable: The use of falsetto in constructing a persona. Journal of Sociolinguistics 11, no. 4: 478.

Podesva, R. 2008. Linking Phonological Variation to Discourses of Race and Place in D.C. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. In San Francisco, CA, November 19.

Rahman, J. 2008. Middle-class African Americans: Reactions and attitudes toward African American English. American Speech 83, no. 2: 141.

Rickford, J. R, and F. McNair-Knox. 1994. Addressee-and topic-influenced style shift: A quantitative sociolinguistic study. Sociolinguistic perspectives on register: 235–76.

Schilling-Estes, N. 2004. Constructing ethnicity in interaction. Journal of Sociolinguistics 8, no. 2: 163–195.

Scollon, R, and SW Scollon. 2003. Discourses in Place: Language in the Material World. Routledge, August 22.

Takoma Park Census and Community Information. http://www.americantowns.com/md/ takomapark-information.

Tannen, D. 2007. Talking Voices: Repetition, Dialogue, and Imagery in Conversational Discourse. Cambridge University Press.

www.jessgrieser.com

thank you
Thank you!

Jessica Grieser

Georgetown University

jessgrieser@gmail.com

www.jessgrieser.com

@jessgrieser

www.jessgrieser.com

coding con t
CODING CON’T
  • Impressionistic coding as [dh, th, d, t, f, v, 0] based on
    • Checked a sample of perceived stopped tokens in PRAAT
  • N=1358 (P=852, M =506) Excluded tokens of more than 5 identical at the phrase level
    • E.g. “I think” “It’s that”
  • Originally run with all phonological environments
    • Phonological environments collapsed based on descriptive statistics:
        • Vowels, pause, alveolar, consonant
        • Nasal found to be a significant predictor of 0-realization
    • Following environment not significant and excluded after first run

jessgrieser.wordpress.com