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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: The effect of outliers on the perception of sound change
Author: William Labov
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Author: Maciej Baranowski
Institution: University of Manchester
Author: Aaron J. Dinkin
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Swarthmore College
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: The role of outliers in vowel distributions is examined through an experiment that registers subjects' assessments of symmetrical and asymmetrical distributions. Subjects first scaled their subjective impressions of a series of six resynthesized tokens of the word bad ranging from low front to upper mid front. They were then asked to register on this scale their overall impressions of four series of five phrases including bad: low symmetrical, low with a very low outlier, high symmetrical, high with a very high outlier. Subjects show the capacity to integrate outliers into their overall assessments in a manner consistent with their acoustic properties. The effect of low outliers was significantly greater, reflecting the socially marked status of this form in the Philadelphia community.


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 22, Issue 2.

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