Lesley Milroy

18.–22. 4.


Lesley Milroy


  Faculty of Linguistics, Philology & Phonetics, University of Oxford

Odborné zaměření:
– Socioligvistika
– Jazykové ideologie
– Konverzační analýza
– Dialektologie
– Bilingvismus


18. 4. / 17:30 / č. 300 Variationist approaches to language change
This lecture forms a critical introduction to the goals and methods of Labovian (quantitative) sociolinguistics, where it is assumed that the seeds of linguistic change lie in variation. The “structured heterogeneity” of spoken language is therefore seen as a key to observing linguistic change in progress. Drawing on English language data from the 16th/17th we look at two grammatical changes which have (almost?) gone to completion. We then turn to examples of phonological variation and change in progress in contemporary English. The conceptualization of social variables and their role in change is explored, and major issues are identified for more detailed discussion in Lectures 2 and 3.
19. 4. / 10:50 / č. 300 “Off the shelf” and “under the counter”: why are some sound changes more accessible than others?
Variationist (Labovian) theory has traditionally treated sound change as a unitary phenomenon. In this presentation, I examine the contrasting structural characteristics and different sociologies underlying two different types of sound change – those which are relatively accessible to a large number of speakers versus those which diffuse within a socially and geographically more limited domain. An initial conceptual distinction is required between local/“under the counter” changes which require local support and participation, and supralocal/“off the shelf” changes. Both types are socially embedded but the latter type does not require the support of local networks/constant primary interaction to support learning and is therefore more generally accessible. The apparently greater cognitive accessibility of such change is discussed, but distinguishing different types of change in terms of how “easy” or “difficult” they are is found to be a complex task.
22. 4. / 17:30 / č. 200 Wales and whales, Italy and bitterly, Smith and sniff: language ideologies and phonological change
The focus here is on the relationship between ideological (attitudinal) change and phonological change, referring to frameworks developed within linguistic anthropology. The more familiar analytic methods of variationist sociolinguistics, with its focus on social variables, are re-examined. I draw attention to discourses of race and class, purity and strength versus corruption, weakness and decay. Linguistic examples include (a) patterns of variation and change over many centuries, with reference to the w/wh merger and distinction in the UK and Canada; (b) changing ideologies of non-prevocalic /r/ in the US, England and Scotland and (c) local ideologies in contemporary Glasgow associated with de-rhoticization, w/wh merging and th- fronting by young working class speakers.