Sociolinguistics Lunch: Erin Callahan (University of Western Carolina/ NC)

OCT 11, 2013 | 2:00 PM TO 4:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




October 11, 2013: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM




Title: Emerging Hispanicized English in the Southeast U.S.: Grammatical Variation in a Triethnic Community

Abstract:  This study investigates variable past tense marking patterns in an emerging variety of N.C. Hispanic English (n=44) spoken by language learners at three Length of Residency (LOR) groups in three schools in Durham, NC in terms of 1. lexical semantics (Andersen & Shirai 1996, Bayley 1999), 2. frequency (Guy & Erker 2012) 3. discourse structure (Kumpf 1984, Bardovi-Harlig 1998) and 4. verb class and phonological environment (Wolfram 1985, Bayley 1994). Statistical results show significant effects of verb class, lexical aspect, and frequency and interacting effects of verb class and frequency (specifically, suppletives like copula are simultaneously highly frequent and highly phonetically salient). A subsample coded for the discourse factor shows some evidence for the correlation of copula and backgrounding function. An analysis of consonant cluster reduction patterns (CCR) demonstrates dialect acquisition of variable constraints (e.g. in terms of N.C. AAVE), namely phonological environment (_P > _C > _V) and morphemic status (monomorpheme > bimorpheme), though the significant result for morphemic status is ultimately shown to be due to collinearity with phonological environment (i.e. bimorphemic cluster/regular past tense –ed verbs occur in prevocalic contexts) in both N.C. HE and AAVE. Pedagogical applications are discussed, including accurately identifying English Language Learners (ELLs) in the context of local/regional accommodation.

The CUNY Sociolinguistics Lunch is a series of talks on sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics given by students, faculty, and visiting scholars usually from local institutions.

The talks are held at the Graduate Center on three Fridays per semester. The format includes ample time for discussion, and so it is an excellent venue for presenting on-going research or research in preparation for publication.