Publication details [#62779]

Sharma, Devyani. 2017. Scalar effects of social networks on language variation. Language Variation and Change 29 (3) : 393–418.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Cambridge University Press


This inquiry critically explores the impact of different dimensions of networks on different aspects of language variation. Three personal network dimensions (ethnicity, nationality, diversity) are judged in relation to three levels of language structure (phonetic form, accent range, language choice) over three generations of British Asians. The findings point out a scaling of network effects. The two metrics relating to qualities of an individual's ties are more historically and culturally specific, whereas the network metric that relates to the structure of an individual's social world seems to exert a more general impact on accent repertoires across generations. This two-tier typology—network qualities (more culturally contingent) and network structures (more general)—eases an integrated comprehension of former studies and a more structured methodology for exploring the effect of social networks on language.