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

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aye i watch it but individuals television and language change

“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

aye i watch it but individuals television and language change1
“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

two glaswegian adolescent boys talking about eastenders
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’

context
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)

the glasgow media project
The Glasgow media project

Is TV a contributory factor in accent change in adolescents? (2002-5)

ESRC R000239757

  • Gwilym Pryce (statistics)
  • Barrie Gunter (media studies)
methodology
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
linguistic variables
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

change in progress th fronting
Change in progress: TH-fronting

% new variant

progress of change

change in progress l vocalization
Change in progress: L-vocalization

% new variant

progress of change

change in progress dh fronting
Change in progress: DH-fronting

% new variant

progress of change

why the group
Why? – the group

Correlational study (logistic regression)

  • (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
results of correlational study
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)
interpreting the correlations

Factors not

measured

Direct causal link

Attitudes

Interpreting the correlations

Language

TV

engagement

Social

practices

Dialect

contact

why the individual
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)
diffusion of innovations and individuals
Diffusion of innovations and individuals

adopter categories

Innovator

Early adopter

Early majority

Late majority

Laggard

Rogers (1995: 262)

adopter categories and the media
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)

our sample basic social relationships

1M4

1M5

2M5

2M6

2M1

2M7

2F5

3F4

2F6

3F3

Our sample - basic social relationships

3M2

3M1

1F1

1M2

1M3

3M6

3M3

1M1

1F2

1F3

3M5

3M4

1M6

1F4

1F6

3F1

3F5

1F5

2M4

3F6

3F2

2M3

2F1

Friends

2F3

Best friends

2F2

Related

2F4

Going out with

our sample adopter categories
Our sample – adopter categories

3M2

3M1

1F1

1M2

1M3

3M6

3M3

1M1

1F2

1F3

1M4

1M5

3M5

3M4

1M6

1F4

1F6

2M1

2M7

3F1

3F5

2M5

2M6

1F5

2M4

3F6

3F2

2M3

2F1

3F4

Innovator

Early Adopter

Early Majority

Late Majority

Laggard

2F3

2F5

2F2

3F3

2F6

2F4

slide19
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
dh fronting innovator
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]

dh fronting adopter category peer network

3M2

3M1

most [v]

contact N/S England

engagement with TV

3M6

3M3

3M5

3M4

3F1

3F5

high [v]

neglible contact

high engagement with TV

3F6

3F2

no [v]

high contact N/S England

engagement with TV

DH-fronting: adopter category/peer network
th fronting spontaneous speech
TH-fronting: spontaneous speech

[h]ink, [h]ing, [h]inking

% [f]

speaker

th fronting innovators
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)
th fronting early adopters
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
th fronting laggards
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?
th fronting laggards1
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?

summary
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
causal pathways for change

Factors not

measured

Causal pathways for change

Language

TV

engagement

Social

practices

Dialect

contact

slide31
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)
linguistic appropriation from tv a working model
Linguistic appropriation from TV – a working model
  • The bones
    • Perception (exemplars) appropriating
    • Appropriation at media
    • Sociolinguistic system
    • Production exploiting
    • Style in context
    • time
slide33
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, 127-51

Chambers, J. (1998), ‘TV makes people sound the same’, in L. Bauer and P. Trudgill (eds), Language Myths, New York: Penguin, 123-31

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, 223-243

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, 279-302

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. R000239757 (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, 221-61.

Trudgill, P. (1986), Dialects in Contact, Oxford: Blackwell