Posted by & filed under Member Publications.

The (randomly selected) focus publication for August 2015 is:

McKenzie, R.M. (2015). The sociolinguistics of variety identification and categorisation: Free classification of varieties of spoken English amongst non-linguist listeners. Language Awareness, 24(2), 150-168. Doi: 10.1080/09658416.2014.998232 

Abstract: In addition to the examination of non-linguists’ evaluations of different speech varieties, in recent years, sociolinguists and sociophoneticians have afforded greater attention towards the ways in which naïve listeners’ perceive, process and encode spoken language variation, including the identification of language varieties as regionally or socially localised forms. The present study attempts to extend understanding of non-linguists’ perceptions of linguistic diversity through the investigation of how accurately and consistently UK-born students, resident in the north-east of England, can identify the speaker place of origin of six forms of L1 and L2 English. The results demonstrate that whilst the process of encoding indexical properties to and categorisations of speech stimulus as belonging to a specific language variety is complex, there is a clear tendency amongst informants to initially identify the speech as either native or non-native, most especially through the perception of specific segmental and non-segmental phonological features, before attempting more fine-grained classifications. The findings also point to the recognition of speaker place of origin at different levels of awareness, above and below the level of individual consciousness.