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Each p[ɚ]son does it th[ɛː] way: Rhoticity variation and the community grammar

Blaxter, Tam; Beeching, Kate; Coates, Richard; Murphy, James; Robinson, Emily


Tam Blaxter

Kate Beeching
Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics

Emily Robinson


This paper examines individual differences in constraints on linguistic variation in light of Labov’s (2007) proposal that adult change (diffusion) disrupts systems of constraints and Tamminga, MacKenzie, and Embick’s (2016) typology of constraints. It is shown that, in pooling data from multiple speakers, some of the complexity in structured community variation may be overlooked. Data on rhoticity from speakers of Bristol English are compared to 34 previous studies of
rhoticity in varieties of English around the world. Constraints found to be consistent across varieties are also found to be consistent across speakers of Bristol English, whereas those that differ between varieties also differ between individuals, implying that only those which differ are truly part of the grammar, and that these are indeed disrupted by diffusion.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2019
Journal Language Variation and Change
Print ISSN 0954-3945
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Pages 1-37
APA6 Citation Blaxter, T., Beeching, K., Coates, R., Murphy, J., & Robinson, E. (2019). Each p[ɚ]son does it th[ɛː] way: Rhoticity variation and the community grammar. Language Variation and Change, 31, 1-37
Keywords phonetic variation, Bristol English, community grammar, elastic net regression
Additional Information Additional Information : This article has been published in a revised form in Language Variation and Change []. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press.


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