Article published in:The Locus of Linguistic Variation
Edited by Constantine Lignos, Laurel MacKenzie and Meredith Tamminga
[Benjamins Current Topics 97] 2018
► pp. 97–116
Constant effects and the independence of variants in controlled judgment data
This article proposes that Kroch’s (1989) Constant Rate Hypothesis – the generalization that contextual effects tend to be stable in processes of diachronic variation in production data – be extended to synchronic variation in controlled judgment data. Two recent, large-sample judgment experiments are discussed suggesting that shared contextual effects across speakers in acceptability judgments can be used to infer a single abstract source for patterns of variation across superficially different contexts. At the same time, the results suggest that not all sets of variants – or “ways of saying the same thing” (Labov 1972: 271) – are linguistic variables of this formally defined type.
Keywords: variable, constant rate hypothesis, variant, syntax, change, particle verb, competing grammar, ditransitive
Published online: 06 September 2018