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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Relationship between Perception and Production in Adult Acquisition of a New Dialect's Phonetic System Add Dissertation
Author: Zoe Ziliak Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Florida, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2012
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonetics; Sociolinguistics;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Hélène Blondeau

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

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.