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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Query Details

Query Subject:   Age as Sociolinguistic Category
Author:   Mary Shapiro
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Sociolinguistics

Query:   I'm looking for studies (or even speculative/theoretical musings) that
treat age as a sociolinguistic category (rather than as evidence for
historical change). Wolfram & Fasold at least raise this as a possible
avenue for study in my (now ancient & outdated) version of ''The Study
of Social Dialects in American English,'' but I would be interested in
finding work that follows up on this. Labovian studies do tend to
group subjects by age, but the point there seems to be to show
historical change, not to investigate what W&F referred to as
''differences that relate to age-grading; there are characteristic
linguistic behaviors appropriate for different stages in the life
history of an individual.'' I would be particularly happy to discover
studies that focus on older (senior) speakers.

I will be happy to post a summary to the list if I get any replies.

Thank you.
Mary Shapiro
Assoc. Professor of Linguistics
Truman State University
Kirksville, MO 63501
LL Issue: 13.2296
Date posted: 12-Sep-2002


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