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How Much Do Individuals Vary?

Meredith Tamminga
University of Pennsylvania
May 12, 2017 - 3:30pm
Margaret Jacks Hall, Greenberg Room (460-126)

In recent years, research on sound change has given increased attention to individual differences. It has been suggested that individual-level differences in aspects of phonetic flexibility, such as phonetic imitation or perceptual learning, might facilitate or inhibit the spread of sound changes across speakers. In this talk I investigate the degree to which individual speakers differ from one another on dimensions relevant to theories of sound change. I argue that theories of sound change will not be able to escape the social context of particular changes and that some fundamental assumptions, including the existence of “leaders" of language change, may need to be revisited. 

Event Type: 
Linguistics Colloquium