Jane Stuart-Smith (Glasgow University)
Empirical insights for experimental grammar from sociophonology
A core aim of Axis 2 of the Labex EFL (Experimental Grammar in a Cross-Linguistic Perspective) is to harness and refine quantitative and experimental methods in such a way that linguistic theories can themselves be informed and enriched by the diverse instantiations of language in the world. But moving beyond the typically small base of language varieties considered and marrying empirical approaches to meet the apparent messiness of real-world linguistic variation, presents a set of recognized and interconnected challenges. Whilst these might seem more acute for formal linguistics (e.g. morphology, syntax), they also exist for theoretical linguistic research which appears at first glance to be more comfortable with applying quantitative methods to naturally-occurring language data to establish the grammatical structures underpinning linguistic variability, such as sociophonology. In this series of lectures, Jane Stuart-Smith (UGlasgow), whose work interrogates the interfaces ranging between phonetics, phonology and sociolinguistics, will problematize and discuss four areas of challenge already identified by Strand 2. Her seminars will be illustrated with evidence from her long-term research program on non-standard urban dialects (e.g. Glasgow Media Project; Sounds of the City), as well as collaborative cross-dialectal research (e.g. SPeech Across Dialects of English), noting that consideration of within-language variation is a crucial complementary component to any cross-linguistic perspective.