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Jane Stuart-Smith Department of English Language, University of Glasgow. Television and language change – evidence from Glasgow. IPS Munich, Hauptseminar, Soziophonetik 28 May 2008. Television and language change – evidence from Glasgow. Quantitative sociolinguistics and language change

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Television and language change evidence from glasgow l.jpg

Jane Stuart-Smith

Department of English Language, University of Glasgow

Television and language change –evidence from Glasgow

IPS Munich, Hauptseminar, Soziophonetik

28 May 2008


Television and language change evidence from glasgow2 l.jpg
Television and language change – evidence from Glasgow

  • Quantitative sociolinguistics and language change

  • TV and language change

  • Why consider TV?

  • The Glasgow media project

  • Results: the correlational study

  • Interpreting the results

  • Linguistic appropriation from TV – a working model

  • The next steps …


Recap quantitative sociolinguistics observing sound change in progress l.jpg
Recap: quantitative sociolinguisticsobserving sound change in progress

  • classic sociolinguistic investigation of language variation and change was formulated by William Labov (e.g. Labov 1972), and pioneered in large cities, like New York City and Glasgow

  • Linguistic variables (any aspect of language which shows a number of variants) are correlated with extra-linguistic variables (any aspect of society, e.g. social class, gender, age, ethnicity)

  • Language change in progress observed through the comparison of patterns of variation across age groups/times, and explained with reference to social factors/processes


A set of social factor s tv and language change l.jpg
A (set of) social factor(s) –TV and language change?

traditional view of ‘variationist’/’quantitative’ sociolinguistics

  • watching TV may affect vocabulary

  • but not core features of language, e.g. pronunciation, grammar

    (e.g. Chambers, e.g. 1998, Trudgill, 1986)

    ‘at the deeper reaches of language change – sound changes and grammatical changes – the media have no significant effect at all’ (Chambers 1998: 124)


A set of social factor s tv and language change5 l.jpg
A (set of) social factor(s) –TV and language change?

traditional view of ‘variationist’/’quantitative’ sociolinguistics

  • watching TV may affect vocabulary

  • but not core features of language, e.g. pronunciation, grammar

    (e.g. Chambers, e.g. 1998, Trudgill, 1986)

  • language change primarily takes place through accommodation during face-to-face interaction (dialect contact)

  • assumption of strong media effects with ‘direct’ influence on behaviour


Tv and language change l.jpg
TV and language change?

  • TV may

    • increase awareness of linguistic varieties

    • and/or affect attitudes towards other varieties

      (e.g. Milroy and Milroy 1985)

  • If core features of grammar are affected, this results from

    • voluntary orientation towards media

    • conscious copying from media models

      (e.g. Trudgill 1986; Carvalho 2004)


Consonant changes in the uk l.jpg
Consonant changes in the UK

Certain consonant changes, typical of London accents

(e.g. Cockney), are spreading rapidly across urban

accents of British English

e.g. TH-fronting, [f] for // in e.g. think, tooth

e.g. Foulkes and Docherty (1999), Kerswill (2003)

In some accents, e.g. Glaswegian,

these features are found exclusively

in working-class adolescents with

relatively low social and geographical

mobility

(e.g. Stuart-Smith et al, 2007)


Slide8 l.jpg

the media themselves are happy to blame

television

especially popular soap dramas set in London, such as EastEnders, apparently featuring Cockney dialect


Why linguists should consider tv 1 l.jpg
Why linguists should consider TV (1)

  • TV is exceptionally prevalent

  • Some TV programmes constitute social phenomena, e.g. the London-based soap EastEnders (1985-)

    • screened 4 times/week plus weekend omnibus

    • regularly attracted 18 million viewers/episode (i.e. almost one-third UK population)

    • viewing of key episodes have caused exceptional surges in electricity demand (e.g. National Grid 2001)

    • viewers can be highly engaged (e.g. Buckingham 1987)


Why linguists should consider tv 2 l.jpg
Why linguists should consider TV (2)

  • Media are assumed to affect social behaviours

    (e.g. McQuail 2005)

    BUT

    • TV is assumed to be a contributory factor, along with other factors (Klapper 1960: 8)

    • audience assumed to be active interpreters of media texts (e.g. Philo 1999)

    • TV and para-social interaction (e.g. Abercrombie 1996)


Why linguists should consider tv 3 l.jpg
Why linguists should consider TV (3)

  • linguists are starting to include TV:

    • as possible cause of language change, in, e.g. German (e.g. Lameli 2004; Muhr 2003)

    • in accounts of language change

      e.g. Br. Portuguese (Naro 1981, Naro and Scherre 1996)

      Ur. Portuguese (Carvalho 2004)

  • and to wonder about TV in these changes

    (e.g. Foulkes and Docherty 2000)


The glasgow media project l.jpg
The Glasgow media project

Is TV a contributory factor in accent change in adolescents?

(2002-5)

Economic and Social Research Council (R000239757)

Are the media a contributory factor in systemic language change under certain circumstances for certain individuals?


The glasgow media project13 l.jpg
The Glasgow media project

Is TV a contributory factor in accent change in adolescents?

(2002-5)

Economic and Social Research Council (R000239757)

Are the media a contributory factor in systemic language change under certain circumstances for certain individuals?

Does TV play a role in the appearance of Cockney accent features in the speech of Glaswegian adolescents?


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The research team

  • The Research Fellow

    Claire Timmins

  • The Statistician

    (Prof) Gwilym Pryce

  • The Media expert

    (Prof) Barrie Gunter

  • a group of kids (and adults) from Maryhill in Glasgow


Method l.jpg
Method

  • 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 l.jpg
Linguistic variables

  • TH-fronting: [f] for /θ/ 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

  • typical of Cockney (working-class London) accent

  • unexpected in Glasgow English

  • reported informally since 1980s (Macafee 1983)

  • confirmed as changes in 1997 (Stuart-Smith et al 2007)


Results i glaswegian is changing l.jpg
Results I: Glaswegian is changing

  • For all three variables, in wordlists and conversational speech

    • apparent-time change: adolescents use more ‘new’ variants than adults

    • real-time change: we find more ‘new’ variants in 2003 than in 1997


Change in progress th fronting l.jpg
Change in progress: TH-fronting

% [f]

progress of change


Change in progress l vocalization l.jpg
Change in progress: L-vocalization

% [V]

progress of change


Change in progress dh fronting l.jpg
Change in progress: DH-fronting

% [v]

progress of change


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Why are these changes happening?

Correlational study

  • (th):[f], (dh):[v], (l):[V]

    with

  • dialect contact (beyond and within Glasgow)

  • attitudes to accents

  • social practices/identity

  • music (incl. radio)

  • computers (incl. internet)

  • film (incl. video/DVD)

  • sport

  • TV


Why are these changes happening22 l.jpg
Why are these changes happening?

Correlational study

  • (th):[f], (dh);[v], (l):[V]

    with

  • dialect contact (beyond and within Glasgow)

  • attitudes to accents

  • social practices/identity

  • music (incl. radio)

  • computers (incl. internet)

  • film (incl. video/DVD)

  • sport

  • TV


Statistical analysis l.jpg
Statistical analysis

  • logistic regression

  • ‘general-to-specific’ model

  • create list for each category of social factors (e.g. dialect contact, attitudes, TV, etc.)

  • run regressions on each category list

  • significant variables from each list + theoretically interesting variables

    -> overall shortlist

  • run regressions on list until only significant variables remain


Results ii dialect contact l.jpg
Results II: Dialect contact

Initial baseline criteria: informants born and raised in area

(2.8% born in England, 2001 Census)

Most have few relatives beyond Glasgow, whom they talk to more than they see. Main contact with friends and family within Glasgow.

  • Some positive links with relatives and friends living in the South of England for four linguistic variables

  • variance explained: 5-8%


Results ii attitudes to accents l.jpg
Results II: Attitudes to accents

  • speech samples of 7 accents

    • female speakers same age

    • reading same passage

    • beginning of questionnaire

    • also checked identification of accents

  • ‘mental image’ of 8 urban accents (cf Preston 1999)

    • e.g. ‘what do you think of the accents in London?’

    • end of questionnaire


Results ii attitudes to accents26 l.jpg
Results II: Attitudes to accents

  • Glasgow kids like London accents but less than other accents

(less positive ……………... more positive)

average responses for all informants to speech samples


Results ii attitudes to accents27 l.jpg
Results II: Attitudes to accents

  • Some positive links for liking London accent, and/or being able to identify London accent correctly, but also scattered relationships with other accents.

  • variance explained: 5-12%


Results ii social practices l.jpg
Results II: Social practices

Our sample captures some existing groups and fragments of others

The majority of the sample identify each other as ‘neds’, i.e. young urban delinquents

“I’m a wee Glasgow person. I wouldnae say I’m a ned ’cause I don’t like go oot and start fights an’ aw that.” (2m3)

http://www.glasgowsurvival.co.uk/


Results ii social practices29 l.jpg
Results II: Social practices

  • some positive links with more anti-school practices

  • variance explained: 2-18%


Results ii tv l.jpg
Results II: TV

Our informants report access to 3+ TV sets at home, and say that they watch TV every day, with average exposure of around 3 hours/day.

London-based programmes are rated highest for soap (EastEnders), comedy (Only Fools and Horses), and police drama (The Bill).

TH-/DH-fronting and L-vocalization occur (variably) in ‘media-Cockney’


Two glaswegian adolescent boys talking l.jpg
Two Glaswegian adolescent boys talking …

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’


Results ii tv32 l.jpg
Results II: TV

  • Several factors are significant

    • positive correlations, mainly with engagement with EastEnders

    • negative with simply watching TV, or engaging with Scottish/Northern/US programmes

    • Fairly consistent pattern across the five variables

  • variance explained: 4-13%


Th fronting wordlists all categories l.jpg
TH-fronting (wordlists) all categories

Variables tested:

linguistic

film

music

sport

computers

social

attitudes

dialect contact

TV

Reg 1: n = 715, r2 = 35; Reg 2: n = 715, r2 = 35


Th fronting conversations all categories l.jpg
TH-fronting (conversations) all categories

Variables tested:

linguistic

film

music

sport

computers

social

dialect contact

TV

Reg 1: n = 1327, r2 = 23; Reg 2: n = 1327, r2 = 23


Dh fronting wordlists all categories l.jpg
DH-fronting (wordlists) all categories

Variables tested:

linguistic

film

music

social

attitudes

dialect contact

TV

Reg 1: n = 644, r2 = 53; Reg 2: n = 662, r2 = 50


L vocalization wordlists all categories l.jpg
L-vocalization (wordlists) all categories

Variables tested:

linguistic

music

sport

computers

social

attitudes

dialect contact

TV

Reg 1: n = 876, r2 = 20; Reg 2: n = 876, r2 = 19


L vocalization conversations all categories l.jpg
L-vocalization (conversations) all categories

Variables tested:

Linguistic

film

sport

computers

social

attitudes

dialect contact

TV

Reg 1: n = 1015, r2 = 20; Reg 2: n = 1015, r2 = 19


Correlational study results l.jpg
Correlational study – results

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)

  • How should these results be interpreted?


Social factors and language change l.jpg
Social factors and language change

Language

e.g. (th):[f]

attitudes

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Attitudes and language change l.jpg
Attitudes and language change?

Language

attitudes

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Dialect contact and language change l.jpg
Dialect contact and language change?

Language

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Dialect contact and language change42 l.jpg
Dialect contact and language change

Language

Speech accommodation in face-to-face interaction

(e.g. Trudgill 1986)

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Social practices and language change l.jpg
Social practices and language change?

Language

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Social practices and language change44 l.jpg
Social practices and language change

Language

Linguistic practices develop with social practices as part of identity construction

(e.g. Eckert 2000)

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Social practices tv and language change l.jpg
Social practices/TV and language change?

Language

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Social practices tv and language change46 l.jpg
Social practices/TV and language change?

Language

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Tv and language change47 l.jpg
TV and language change?

Language

Factors not

measured

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Tv and language change48 l.jpg
TV and language change?

Language

Factors not

measured

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Tv and language change49 l.jpg
TV and language change?

Language

Factors not

measured

How?

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Tv and language change50 l.jpg
TV and language change?

Language

Factors not

measured

Direct behavioural influence?

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Tv and language change51 l.jpg
TV and language change?

Language

Factors not

measured

Awareness? Copying? (e.g. Trudgill 1986)

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Awareness of media cockney l.jpg
Awareness of ‘media-Cockney’?

  • Explored using informal imitation task (boys only) given during informal interview (cf Preston 1992)

    • informants shown a set of picture cards

    • asked to pronounce words first in their own accent

    • shown a picture of a leading actor from EastEnders

    • asked to talk about his accent and theirs

    • asked to say words again, but with the same accent as the actor

    • Fine phonetic analysis of the pairs of words


Awareness of media cockney53 l.jpg
Awareness of media-Cockney

All children thought the actor’s accent was different from theirs

  • ‘he’s from a different place … just different’

  • ‘English’ ‘he’s fae England’ ‘s just … pure English, no?’

  • ‘English snobby’ ‘says it posher’

  • ‘It’s like a sore throat accent … or … they took his tonsils oot or something’

  • ‘Ah ‘hink they pronounce more’

  • ‘He changes the letters, if it was ‘f’ he’d use ‘v’’

  • ‘he talks different’ ‘he talks more tough’

  • ‘It’s aw right … I wouldnae like to speak like it but’


Imitation of media cockney l.jpg
Imitation of ‘media-Cockney’

  • First impression: ‘Ah cannae talk like him’

  • idiosyncratic, subtle, alteration of segments

  • more alteration to suprasegmentals

  • no apparent systematic alteration of (th dh l)

  • no evidence of awareness of these features as particular features of this character’s speech

  • Implication: variation in these speakers is not resulting from conscious copying


Tv and language change55 l.jpg
TV and language change?

Language

Factors not

measured

How?

TV

engagement

Dialect

contact

Social

practices


Rethinking the notion of tv influence l.jpg
Rethinking the notion of TV ‘influence’

  • ‘causality’ ≠ blanket transmission of linguistic features to passive speaker/viewer

    • appropriation, i.e. what each speaker/viewer takes for themselves whilst engaging with the media, given their own particular experience of the world (Holly et al 2001)

    • observations from interactional sociolinguistics that individuals appropriate media material for specific stylistic purposes (e.g. Androutsopoulos 2001)

    • current ‘episodic’ models of speech perception/production assume at least short-term storage of incoming material – from all sources – as part of process of perceiving speech


Linguistic appropriation from tv a working model l.jpg
Linguistic appropriation from TV – a working model

  • the ‘bones’

    • perception appropriating

    • appropriation at media

    • sociolinguistic system

      ‘systematic resonance’

    • production exploiting

    • style/identity in context

    • time


The next steps l.jpg
The next steps …

  • Investigate ethnographically the kinds of phonetic variation that speakers exhibit whilst watching TV

  • Investigate experimentally how people respond to speech experienced in different ways, e.g. through watching it pre-recorded on screen (like TV) or from talking to another speaker


The next steps59 l.jpg
The next steps …

  • Investigate ethnographically the kinds of phonetic variation that speakers exhibit whilst watching TV

  • Investigate experimentally how people respond to speech experienced in different ways, e.g. through watching it pre-recorded on screen (like TV) or from talking to another speaker


The next steps60 l.jpg
The next steps …

  • Initial results from our first experiment (Stuart-Smith, Smith and Holmes 2008) suggest that

    • speakers do learn about accents other than their own from interactive and ‘mediated’ speech

      but that

    • the processes of learning are different for each source

    • linguistic structure is important

    • attention may play an important role for mediated speech



1 th fronting l.jpg
1. TH-fronting

wordlists (n = 951) conversations (n = 2519)


1 dh fronting l.jpg
1. DH-fronting

wordlists (only) (n = 973)


1 l vocalization l.jpg
1. L-vocalization

wordlists (n = 1165) conversations (n = 1429)


2 results l.jpg
2. Results

  • Linguistic

    • significant factor of specific position in word emerged for each variable:

    • variance explained: around 12%

  • regressions for age and gender consistently either failed to be significant, or to show sufficiently high explanation of variance

    (cf Labov 2001: 272, n 16)


3c th fronting and tv l.jpg

manyhave3 or more TV sets

most watch TV every day

weekday

weekend

3c. TH-fronting and TV

self-reported TV exposure of between 1 to 5 hours a day (av. 3hrs)


3c they watch and like eastenders most l.jpg
3c. They watch and like EastEndersmost

watch

like


Extra linguistic variables tv l.jpg
Extra-linguistic variables – TV

  • correct identification of TV programmes (auditory accent stimulus)

  • general TV exposure

  • exposure to soaps/dramas

  • favourite programme/character/accent

  • engagement with soaps/dramas

  • TV and socialising (watching TV; talking about TV; engaging with TV)

  • additional mention of TV from project recordings



4 imitation of media cockney phonetic alteration l.jpg
4. Imitation of media-Cockney(phonetic alteration)

  • our first impressions were that little had been changed

  • but narrow auditory transcription revealed that most children altered at least something in response to the task

  • segments were altered

    • in the ‘expected’ direction: e.g. [th] > [f]

    • also towards the standard: e.g. [f] > [th]

  • changes in suprasegmental features were striking:

    • voice quality; length; pitch

      e.g. face: 1M2: own imitated

      town: 1M1: own imitated

      brother: 3M4: own imitated

      thinking: 2M5: own imitated



Investigating media effects l.jpg
Investigating media effects

  • media effects research typically investigates the potential short-term effects of TV using two main approaches

    (e.g. Gunter 2000)

  • (longitudinal) correlational studies

    e.g. Lefkowitz et al (1972), agression/predict aggressive behaviour

  • behavioural experiments

    e.g. Bandura et al (1963), direct imitation and/or generalized aggression


Results ii tv as softening up agent l.jpg
Results II: TV as ‘softening-up’ agent?

  • Are positive attitudes towards Cockney the result of watching popular programmes set in London (i.e. Trudgill’s ‘softening-up’, 1988:44)?

  • We tested this claim statistically using multiple regression analysis to find out which variables might be linked with holding positive attitudes to Cockney.

  • The only significant result was in fact a negative link between liking the Cockney speech sample and watching EastEnders.


Results ii tv74 l.jpg

manyhave3 or more TV sets

most watch TV every day

weekday

weekend

Results II: TV

self-reported TV exposure of between 1 to 5 hours a day (av. 3hrs)


They watch and like eastenders most l.jpg
They watch and like EastEndersmost

watch

like


These features occur variably in eastenders e g th fronting l.jpg
These features occur (variably) in EastEnders, e.g. TH-fronting