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LINGUIST List 24.327

Fri Jan 18 2013

Diss: Phonetics/ Socioling/ English: Ziliak: 'The Relationship between Perception and Production in Adult Acquisition of a New Dialect's Phonetic System'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <lxialinguistlist.org>

Date: 17-Jan-2013
From: Zoe Ziliak <ziliakufl.edu>
Subject: The Relationship between Perception and Production in Adult Acquisition of a New Dialect's Phonetic System
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Institution: University of Florida
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Zoe Ziliak

Dissertation Title: The Relationship between Perception and Production in Adult Acquisition of a New Dialect's Phonetic System

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics
                            Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Hélène Blondeau

Dissertation Abstract:

This study investigates adults’ ability to change their phonetic systems in
perception and production, specifically upon exposure to a new dialect in
adulthood. It further addresses the relative importance of binary biological sex
and socially constructed gender in predicting an individual’s sociolinguistic
variation.

Perception and production data was collected from lifelong residents of southern
Indiana, lifelong residents of Chicago, and individuals raised in southern Indiana
who moved to Chicago in adulthood (the Mobile group). The Mobile participants
were shifting from their native Lower Midland or Upper South dialect and
adopting the Northern Cities Shift (NCS) characteristic of Chicago. A gender
identity test, the Extended Personality Attributes Questionnaire, was also
administered to each participant.

Results indicate that both perception and production are malleable in adulthood,
but production may be more subject to change than perception. However, this
relationship is not constant across individuals: some Mobile group members
changed production more than perception, but others changed perception more,
and still others had shifted the two equally or not at all. Analyses suggest that
socially constructed gender and educational level may be reliable predictors of
an individual’s pattern in adopting a second dialect’s phonetic system in
adulthood. Interestingly, an individual’s femininity level may be more important
than her masculinity in determining behavior.

This study has implications for the research areas of language change across
the lifespan, gender and language, second dialect acquisition, second language
acquisition, and American dialectology.



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