Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


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."

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Academic Paper

Title: The sociolinguistic variant as a carrier of social meaning
Author: Kathryn Campbell-Kibler
Institution: Ohio State University
Linguistic Field: Linguistic Theories; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Traditionally used as a "heuristic device" (Labov, 1978), the sociolinguistic variable has taken on a new role as a primitive of speaker/hearer mental models in third-wave variation work (Eckert, 2005, 2008). Results from a sociolinguistic perception study suggest that at least in some cases, variants of the same variable function independently as loci of indexically linked social meaning. Listener responses were collected to three matched guises of the English variable (ING): -in, -ing, and a neutral guise with no audible (ING) tokens. The results counter the study hypothesis that listener expectation, triggered by speaker regional accent, would shape (ING)'s impact. Instead, the two variants showed distinct social associations: the -ing guises were rated as more intelligent/educated, more articulate, and less likely to be a student than either the -in or neutral guises, which did not differ significantly. In contrast, -in guises made speakers sound less formal and less likely to be gay than the -ing and neutral guises, which did not differ. These results suggest that third-wave work needs to more closely examine the role of the variable in theorizing the relationship between linguistic and social structures.


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 22, Issue 3.

Return to TOC.

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page