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Linguistics Vanguard

A Multimodal Journal for the Language Sciences

Editor-in-Chief: Bergs, Alexander / Cohn, Abigail C. / Good, Jeff

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Sociophonetic perspectives on stylistic diversity in speech research

Lauren Hall-Lew
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Edinburgh, Linguistics and English Language, Edinburgh, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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/ Zac Boyd
  • University of Edinburgh, Linguistics and English Language, Edinburgh, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2020-01-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2018-0063


Sociolinguistic data collection traditionally includes interviews, reading passages, and word lists (Labov 1972). Researchers have increasingly sought out elicitation tasks that have the benefits of tasks based on reading aloud (e.g., studying infrequently occurring variables; controlling for linguistic factors; eliciting the same lexical items across participants) while also eliciting styles more comparable to interview speech (see Drager 2018). Examples include the Map Task (Brown et al. 1984) and the Diapix task (Baker and Hazan 2011). Other researchers have turned instead to elicitation tasks that maximize ecological validity, taking themselves out of the recording context and training participants to collect field recordings (e.g., Podesva 2007; Sharma 2011). But how comparable is the speech elicited from each of these tasks? Building on results from previous research (Boyd et al. 2015; Hall-Lew and Boyd 2017) we consider three US English speakers’ vowel productions from interviews, reading passages, ‘Lab Tasks’, and self-recordings. We suggest that both Lab Tasks and self-recordings have the potential to increase descriptive accuracy and indexical analysis in sociophonetic research.

Keywords: sociophonetics; methods; vowels; variation; style


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About the article

Received: 2019-02-18

Accepted: 2019-06-12

Published Online: 2020-01-29

Citation Information: Linguistics Vanguard, Volume 6, Issue s1, 20180063, ISSN (Online) 2199-174X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2018-0063.

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