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Bilingual/Bicultural Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Bilingual/Bicultural Education

In the Department of Arts & Humanities

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Event Details: 47th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea

Description: Theme Session Title: The Perception of Non-Native Varieties: Methods and Findings in Perceptual Dialectology


Gitte Kristiansen (Universidad Complutense de Madrid):
Marinel Gerritsen (Radboud University Nijmegen):
Dirk Geeraerts (K.U. Leuven):


We know from previous research that L1 recognition is surprisingly fast (Purnell et al. 1999), surprisingly accurate (Van Bezooijen and Gooskens 1999) and that it is an early acquisition, which evolves gradually and experientially (Kristiansen 2010). Listeners thus gradually construct mental representations to identify native varieties and foreign languages. At the same time, linguistic varieties trigger attitudinal reactions. Accents are socially diagnostic and serve as effective cognitive shortcuts to identification (where is this speaker from?) and characterization (what is this speaker like?).

In more technical terms, accents are socially diagnostic because linguistic stereotypes, i.e. sets of abstract linguistic schemata composed of a cluster of salient features, gradually emerge to capture the essence of what a group speaks like. In this sense of the words, social and linguistic stereotypes, rather than distorted images, constitute useful cognitive reference points that emerge to allow us to navigate fast and efficiently in a complex social world.

Ever since Lambert et al. (1960) published their pioneering article on speech evaluation methods, numerous studies have investigated the (conscious or unconscious) attitudes triggered by L1 varieties (e.g. Chambers and Trudgill 1998, Preston 2011, Grondelaers and van Hout 2010, Kristiansen 2010). Numerous studies thus exist on L1 perception, but L2 identification and characterization is still severely understudied. Given the role of English as a Lingua Franca in an increasingly globalised world, focus in this theme session is on the (attitudinal and identificational) perception of non-native accents of English. At the same time, given the empirical nature of the theoretical questions that we address, the scope is by no means limited to situations in which (a variety of) English constitutes the L2 language.

Type: Conferences & Seminars

Location: Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

Date & Time: From 9/11/2014 0:00 AM To 9/14/2014 0:00 AM

Contact: Gitte Kristiansen



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