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Language variation and change in English accents

Class at Faculty of Arts |


The seminar will take place in January 2017. The exact dates and times are to be specified.

Each unit (e.g. lecture/seminar) will last 45 minutes. There will be 4 units every day for the period of 5 days.  

Day 1:   Lecture1:       Language variation and change (LVC) - introduction

            Seminar:        Introduction to Praat  

            Lecture2:       Methodology used in LVC

            Lecture3:       Vocalic changes  

Day 2:   Seminar1:      Analysing vowels - introduction

            Seminar2:      Front vowel shift       

            Lecture1:       Actuation problem

            Lecture2:       Embedding problem  

Day 3:    Lecture1:       Consonantal changes in obstruents

             Seminar1:      Pre-aspiration, glottalisation, and glottalling  

             Seminar2:      Post-aspiration and affrication

             Seminar3:      dh-stopping  

Day 4:    Lecture1:       Transmission problem: Critical Period Hypothesis

             Lecture 2:      LVC beyond segments  

             Seminar 1:     Creaky voice

             Seminar 2:     Creaky voice II  

Day 5:    Seminar 1:     in-class analysis

             Seminar 2:     in-class analysis  

             Lecture1:       Propagation models

             Lecture 2:      Social, cognitive, or biological?


The module will start with a general introduction to the fields of language variation and change, and phonetics and phonology. In the lectures, we will address theoretical aspects of the field, which will be combined with discussions of the most vigorous changes affecting today’s English accents. In the seminars, we will explore some of the phonetic/phonological variation of the sounds in question and learn how to analyse them.

After taking this module, the student will be able to carry out basic phonetic analyses and have a good overview of those aspects which are the most relevant for the study of English varieties.