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LINGUIST List 19.2242

Tue Jul 15 2008

Diss: Historical Ling/Phonetics/Socioling: Bigham: 'Dialect Contact...'

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        1.    Douglas Bigham, Dialect Contact and Accommodation among Emerging Adults in a University Setting


Message 1: Dialect Contact and Accommodation among Emerging Adults in a University Setting
Date: 14-Jul-2008
From: Douglas Bigham <douglas.s.bighamgmail.com>
Subject: Dialect Contact and Accommodation among Emerging Adults in a University Setting
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Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008

Author: Douglas Stephan Bigham

Dissertation Title: Dialect Contact and Accommodation among Emerging Adults in a University Setting

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
                            Phonetics
                            Sociolinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Robert D. King
Matthew J. Gordon
Randy Diehl
Janet M. Fuller

Dissertation Abstract:

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) is a site of linguistic
diversity where speakers of three major dialects of American English -
Northern, Midland, and Southern - are brought into contact with one
another. The speech of undergraduates at SIUC is subject to the processes
of dialect contact and accommodation; as a result, regional speech features
are lost in favor of an overarching SIUC dialect norm or koiné.

The linguistic contact that takes place at Southern Illinois University at
Carbondale is unique. Previous studies of dialect contact involve
situations created by migrations of large populations of settlers moving to
a new area. These 'migrants' settle permanently in the new area and become
isolated from their original anchor dialects. The dialect mixture that
arises from countless single instances of interpersonal accommodation will,
under many circumstances, lead to koinéization or new dialect formation.

However, the dialect contact situation at SIUC is different from these
previous studies. First, the contact situation at SIUC is made up of fluid
populations of highly mobile individuals - undergraduates. While the groups
in contact remain consistent, individual students comprising the
populations of these groups come and go every year. Additionally, rather
than permanently relocating, the contact between the different groups at
SIUC is interrupted by students leaving for three months of summer break
and one month of winter break every year, thereby preventing speakers of
the displaced dialects from becoming isolated from their original anchor
dialects. The presence of these factors at SIUC provides a way to test and
expand our existing models of language use and language attitudes in
regards to dialect contact, accommodation, self- and group-categorization,
and individual- and community-level notions of linguistic variation and
language change.



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