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Academic Paper

Title: Individual effects in variation analysis: Model, software, and research design
Author: John C. Paolillo
Institution: University of Texas at Arlington
Linguistic Field: Discipline of Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Individual-level variation is a recurrent issue in variationist sociolinguistics. One current approach recommends addressing this via mixed-effects modeling. This paper shows that a closely related model with fixed effects for individual speakers can be directly estimated using Goldvarb. The consequences of employing different approaches to speaker variation are explored by using different model selection criteria. We conclude by discussing the relation of the statistical model to the assumptions of the research design, pointing out that nonrandom selection of speakers potentially violates the assumptions of models with random effects for speaker, and suggesting that a model with fixed effects for speakers may be a better alternative in these cases.


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 25, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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