Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

The Language Hoax

By John H. McWhorter

The Language Hoax "argues that that all humans process life the same way, regardless of their language."


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Language and Development in Africa

By H. Ekkehard Wolff

Language and Development in Africa "discusses the resourcefulness of languages, both local and global, in view of the ongoing transformation of African societies as much as for economic development.. "


The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported primarily by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2016 Fund Drive.

Academic Paper


Title: Revisiting transmission and diffusion: An agent-based model of vowel chain shifts across large communities
Author: James N. Stanford
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://linguistics.dartmouth.edu/people/james-n-stanford
Institution: Dartmouth College
Author: Laurence A. Kenny
Institution: Dartmouth College
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: In this study, we present the first agent-based simulation of vowel chain shifts across large communities, providing a parsimonious reinterpretation of Labov's (2007) notions of transmission, diffusion, and incrementation. Labov determined that parent-to-child transmission faithfully reproduces structural patterns such as the Northern Cities Shift (NCS), but adult-to-adult diffusion does not. NCS is transmitted faithfully to new generations of U.S. Inland North children. But St. Louis speakers, depending only on adult-adult contact, only attain an incomplete, unsystematic version. Labov (2007) attributed the difference to children's superior language-learning ability; transmission and diffusion are categorically different processes in that approach. By contrast, our multiagent simulation suggests that such transmission/diffusion effects can be derived by simple density of interactions and simple exemplar learning; we also find that incrementation is a natural outcome of this model. Unlike Labov (2007), this model does not require a dichotomy between transmission and diffusion. While dichotomous assumptions about child versus adult learning may be necessary in other contexts, our results suggest that the NCS effects in Labov (2007) may be explained economically in terms of simple density of interactions between speakers. Our results also provide an agent-based perspective supporting and explicating the notion of speech community.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 25, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page