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An abstract representation of the source of variation. Realized by

two or more variants.

The actual realization of a variable. Analogous to the phonetic
realizations of a phoneme.

Relatively neutral term used to refer to languages and dialects.
Avoids the problem of drawing a distinction between the two,
and avoids negative attitudes often attached to the term dialect.

If the distribution of variants is neither random nor free, and
instead shows systematic correlations with independent factors,
those factors can be said to constrain the variation, or to be the
constraints on the variable.

Free Variation
The idea that some variants alternate with each other without
any reliable constraints on their occurrence in a particular
context or by particular speakers.

Interspeaker Variation
Differences and variation that is measured between different
speakers (individuals or social groups)

Intraspeaker Variation
Differences in the way a single person at different times, or with
different interlocutors, or even within a sentence

Synchronic Variation
Variation occurring now

Diachronic Change
Change realized over chronological time.

Envelope of Variation
All, and only, the contexts in which a variable occurs.

Dialect Leveling

Reduction of differences distinguishing regional dialects or

accents. One possible outcome of contact between speakers of
different varieties.

Wave Model
Theory that language change emanates from a single starting
point and is gradually incorporated into the speech of the nearest

Gravity Model
Model of the diffusion of innovations introduced by Peter
Trudgill. Social innovations have been observed to "hop"
between large population centers in a discontinuous manner. It
predicts that the larger the city/town, the sooner an innovation is
likely to show up there. Ex: Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Where speakers differ at the level of pronunciation only. Their
grammar may be wholly or largely the same. Can index a
speaker's regional/geographical origin, social factors, attitude, or
even education.

A term widely applied to what are considered sub-varieties of a
single language. Generally, dialect and accent are distinguished
by how much of the linguistic system differs. Dialects differ on
more than just pronunciation.

Perceptual Dialectology
The study of people's subjectively held beliefs about different
dialects or linguistic varieties. The focus on lay perceptions about
language complements the regional dialectologists' more
objective focus on the way people are recorded as speaking.

Subjective Evaluation
A speaker's perceptions of their own performance and their
performance evaluated by some external measure.

Speech Community
Objective criteria: group speakers together in a speech
community if the distribution of a variable was consistent with
the respect to other factors. Subjective criteria: group speakers as
a speech community if they shared a sense of and belief in comembership.

Code Switching
The alternation between varieties, or codes, across sentences or
clause boundaries.

A situation where two closely related languages are used in a
speech community. One for High functions and one of Low

H language
High functions in a diglossia. Ex: church, newspapers, etc.

L language
Low functions in a diglossia. Ex: in the home, market, etc.

Quotative Verbs
Verbs introducing reports of discourse (ex: direct and indirect
speech or thought). They include older, more stable variants such
as 'say' and 'think' as well as newer ones such as 'be like', 'be all'.

Style Shifting
Variation in an individual's speech correlating with differences in
addressee, social context, personal goals or externally imposed

Attention Paid to Speech

Labov proposed that the different distribution of forms in
different styles was motivated by the amount of attention the
speaker was paying to the act of speaking. In activities, such as
reading aloud, reading word lists or minimal pairs, Labov argued
that speakers are paying more attention to their speech than they
are in interviews and in interviews they paid more attention than
when conversing with friends and family.

Audience Design
Derived from accommodation theory. Proposal that intraspeaker
variation arises because speakers are paying attention to who
they are addressing or who might be listening to or overhearing
them, and modify their speech accordingly.

Observer's Paradox
The double bind researchers find themselves in when what they
are interested in knowing is how people behave when they are

not being observed, but the only way to find out how they be
have is to observe them.

Sociolinguistic Interview
An interview, usually one on one, in which different tasks or
activities are used to elicit different styles of speech. Ex: Kathy D

Rapid and Anonymous Survey

A questionnaire used to gather data quickly in the public domain.
Ex: Labov's fourth floor study

The process by which speakers attune or adapt their linguistic
behavior in light of their interlocutors' behavior and their
attitudes towards their interlocutors (may be conscious or
unconscious process). Encompasses both convergence and

Accommodation towards the speech of one's interlocutors.
Accentuates similarities between interlocutors'' speech styles,
and/or makes the speaker sound more like their interlocutor.
Triggered by conscious or unconscious desires to emphasize
similarity with interlocutors we like, and to increase attraction.

Accommodation away from the speech of one's interlocutors.
Accentuates differences between interlocutors' speech styles,
and/or makes the speaker sound less like their interlocutor.
Wants to emphasize difference and increase distance.

A person we are directly talking to has the greatest impact on
how we talk. Known to be part of the speech context, ratified,
and is addressed. First away from speaker.

Known, ratified, but is not addressed. Second away from speaker.

Known, not ratified or addressed. Third away from speaker.


Not known, not ratified, not addressed. Last away from speaker.

Covert Prestige
A norm of target that is oriented to without the speaker even
being aware that they are orienting to it. Evidence of covert
prestige can be found in mismatches between speakers' self
report of using one variant and actual use of another variant.
Often used wrongly to refer to the value with non standard or
vernacular varieties.

Overt Prestige
The prestige associated with a variant that speakers are aware of
and can talk about in terms of standardness, or moral
evaluations like being "nicer" or "better".

21. Stereotype
A linguistic feature that is widely recognized and is very often the
subject if dialect performances and impersonations.