Chapter published in:Language Variation – European Perspectives VIII: Selected papers from the Tenth International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE 10), Leeuwarden, June 2019
Edited by Hans Van de Velde, Nanna Haug Hilton and Remco Knooihuizen
[Studies in Language Variation 25] 2021
► pp. 135–160
Chapter 6Exploring an approach for modelling lectal coherence
This paper presents an exploratory approach for modelling and measuring the concept of lectal coherence – the logical unity of idiolects, dialects, sociolects, regiolects, etc. – and how coherence can shape variation and foster or constrain language change. Twelve phonological and morpho-syntactic features of Central Swabian, a variety of German spoken in the southwestern part of the country, exemplify differences in lectal coherence across two communities (Stuttgart and Schwäbisch Gmünd) and two points in time (1982 and 2017). Following the traditional quantitative variationist approach pioneered by Labov (1963), coupled with Guttman-like (1944) implicational scaling, and drawing on concepts from the order and lattice theory of mathematics (Partee, Ter Meulen, and Wall 1993), the proposed model brings together three views of coherence – covariation, implicational scaling, and lattice theory – to demonstrate a holistic approach to the study of linguistic coherence and its influence on language change. The research question this investigation explores is: does lectal coherence enable or inhibit linguistic change? The hypothesis tested in this study is that more coherent lects are less vulnerable to change and convergence while less coherent lects are more susceptible.
Keywords: sociolinguistics, language variation and change, linguistic coherence, dialects, quantitative models, longitudinal studies, lifespan change, Swabian, German
- 2.Data and methods
- 2.1Speech communities
- 2.2Swabian corpus
- 2.3Linguistic variables
- 2.4Extra-linguistic predictors
- 3.Analysis and results
- 3.1Linguistic variables
- 3.2Dialect change in Swabia
- 3.3Lectal coherence
- Pairwise comparisons
- The Lectal Lattice
- PCA and the Lattice
- Implicational coherence
- Coherence and language change
- Limitations and future opportunities
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Published online: 16 June 2021
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