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6. Folk Linguistics and the Perception of Language Variety

Dennis R. Preston

Abstract

In this chapter I outline the various methods that have been used in Folk Linguistics to collect, interpret, and make use of lay persons’ knowledge of language. The survey begins with a historical account of the subfield of Perceptual Dialectology, in which lay persons are invited to construct maps of their knowledge of speech regions and, in later work, to comment on or rank regions with regard to their linguistic status along a variety of dimensions. Recent advances in computerized mapping are shown to have had a considerable influence on this work, allowing for greater sociolinguistic depth in the investigations. The chapter also briefly surveys the analysis of lay discourses about language variety and concludes with a survey of perceptual experiments that seek to understand the abilities of lay respondents to identify and classify varieties based on authentic and modified speech samples.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston