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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Boston (r): Neighbo(r)s nea(r) and fa(r)
Author: Naomi G. Nagy
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Toronto
Author: Patricia Irwin
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The influence of linguistic and social factors on (r) in Boston and two New Hampshire towns is described. The preceding vowel and geographic, ethnic, and age-related differences were found to have strong effects. In comparison to Bostonians, New Hampshire speakers exhibit a higher rate of rhoticity, and fewer factors constrain their variability. Younger speakers are more rhotic than older speakers, as are more educated speakers and those in higher linguistic marketplace positions. This study demonstrates that these patterns fit the transmission (within Boston) and diffusion (to New Hampshire) framework (Labov, 2007) only with the addition of accommodation theory (Niedzielski & Giles, 1996), which connects our linguistic findings to evidence that many New Hampshire residents do not identify with Boston. The effects on (r) in other studies are compared to determine which effects are particular to individual communities (nonuniversal) and which occur across all communities examined. The nonuniversal effects are therefore available as measures of contact-induced change. This study introduces a method for quantitatively comparing the amount of change between communities.


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 22, Issue 2.

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