"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." (Heraclitus)
One cannot make the same utterance twice; it will not be the exact same utterance. Variation is always present in language use. It occurs on all levels of linguistic organization (phonetics, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics). Much of this variation is not accidental, but contains information about the speaker (or writer) and what they want to convey. Moreover, linguistic variation is the source of language change.
In this course we will:
- survey the range of variation found in the English language. This includes social and regional variation (accents, dialects, sociolects), as well as articulatory variation (e.g. phonetic reduction) and pragmatic variation;
- study how changes in the English language are connected to variation;
- learn about the linguistic research in variation and change.Additional texts will be announced in class.
Course book: Kiesling, Scott F. 2011. Linguistic Variation and Change. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.