A linguistic variable becomes noticeable when the use of one variant rather than another is meaningful. Certain kinds of variables and variants may be more likely than others to become meaningful (and hence noticeable): ones that occur frequently, ones that stand out perceptually (perhaps by taking longer to pronounce), ones that play particular kinds of roles in the phonological system. But in order for any variable to become noticeable, “metapragmatic” work is necessary. Metapragmatic work is the work speakers do in discourse to indicate to one another what it means to use one variant or another. Metapragmatic work can occur through overt commentary on the meaning of using one variant or another, as when people say that a particular variant “sounds awful,” “makes my teeth hurt,” or “reminds me of my mother.” But not all metapragmatic work is metalinguistic in this way. The meaning of a sociolinguistic choice can also be signaled non-linguistically, through a gesture or facial expression or by drawing attention to something in the context that can be linked with the variant in question. It can also be signaled through “text-metricality,” or the juxtaposition of different linguistic forms in repeated linguistic or interactional contexts. I will illustrate each of these possibilities with examples from my work on “Pittsburghese,” a way of speaking associated with a U.S. city.
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Hermann Paul Scholarship in Linguistics 2022
The Hermann Paul Scholarship in Linguistics 2022 in Basel went to Wendy Diepgrond. Congratulations!
Hermann Paul Scholarship in Linguistics 2020
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Hermann Paul Scholarship in Linguistics 2019
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Hermann Paul Scholarship in Linguistics 2018
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