"Live from London" Homecoming Lecture

Thursday, October 8, 2020 @ 12:15 pm

Layered selves: A socio-cognitive model of speech style

When sociolinguists study style-shifting today, the focus is often on audience, identity, and other social indexicality. This social constructivist approach is widely seen as having "very largely supplanted" (Coupland 2007) the earlier interest in attention-paid-to-speech (Labov 1972). In this talk I look at micro-fluctuations in style production and suggest that attentional effects are in fact pervasive in spoken interaction and give us clues to underlying psycholinguistic processes.

To develop a 'socio-cognitive' model of style, I look at real-time fluctuations in the speech of bidialectal individuals—native speakers who have layers of speech styles due to migration or contact. Using experimental and conversational data, I show that attentional load and patterns of switching variants 'on and off' point to different degrees of control (Green 1998) and a distinction between effortful and routinized styles (Kahneman 2011), akin to bilingual L1/L2 control. 

Devyani Sharma is a sociolinguistics professor and chair of the Linguistics department at Queen Mary University of London.[1] Her research interests include language variation and change, syntactic variation and style. Sharma's work particularly focusses on these topics within World Englishes and British Asian communities.

For the Zoom link please contact: James.N.Stanford@Dartmouth.edu