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LINGUIST List 19.1391

Thu Apr 24 2008

Diss: Morphology/Socioling/Syntax: Abramowicz: 'Socioeconomic Aspec...'

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        1.    Lukasz Abramowicz, Socioeconomic Aspects of Linguistic Variation in Polish


Message 1: Socioeconomic Aspects of Linguistic Variation in Polish
Date: 24-Apr-2008
From: Lukasz Abramowicz <abramowiczgmail.com>
Subject: Socioeconomic Aspects of Linguistic Variation in Polish
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Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008

Author: Lukasz Abramowicz

Dissertation Title: Socioeconomic Aspects of Linguistic Variation in Polish

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology
                            Sociolinguistics
                            Syntax

Subject Language(s): Polish (pol)

Dissertation Director:
William Labov

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation examines three sociolinguistic variables in Polish based
on data collected in two speech communities located 30 miles apart in the
Mazowsze region in central Poland: Warszawa (population 1.7 million) and
Popowo Koƛcielne (population 850).

The first variable examined is variation between antepenultimate and
penultimate stress in nouns primarily of Latin and Greek origin, e.g.,
matematyka 'mathematics'. The variable, which operates above the level of
social awareness, was found to display all the defining characteristics of
a stable sociolinguistic variable, including regular social and stylistic
stratification, age and sex effects, and social evaluation consistent with
the linguistic production data.

The remaining two variables involve the behavior of person/number agreement
marking: its variable attachment (chapter 5), and its interaction with
stress assignment when it attaches to verbs (chapter 6). The results
contradict common stereotypes and popular characterizations in the
literature according to which variable attachment has almost completely
disappeared from the language, and that it is a rural feature. The feature
is robustly present in the data in both communities, especially so in
Warszawa where it has acquired a new positive social evaluation: it is
particularly used by young well-educated speakers from the highest social
class. With respect to interaction with stress, the sociolinguistic
patterns discovered in the analysis bear a strong resemblance not to
variable attachment, but to the noun stress variation examined in chapter 4.

The findings presented in the dissertation are a strong argument in favor
of the non-lexicalist analysis of Polish person/number agreement marking.
At the same time, however, they confirm the analysis according to which
speakers of Polish have to posit competing grammars for the feature. Such
an analysis is also justified by historical developments in Polish syntax
and morphology.



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