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Open Access Sociolinguistic Variation in Athenian Suburban Speech

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Sociolinguistic Variation in Athenian Suburban Speech

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This article focuses on the description and interpretation of the social meaning of sociolinguistic variation in Athenian suburban speech. A descriptive statistical and a Varbrul analysis of the syntactic variable Verb and presence or absence of Prepositional Phrase (V +/– PP), as it is used by native northern and western suburbanites of Athens, suggests that primarily the area (northern and western suburbia) and, to a lesser extent, the sex of the speakers are statistically significant macro social factors constraining variation. In an effort to tease out the social meaning of the variation, a further analysis of some micro factors within each area, including the group of speakers, the topic, and the stance towards the rivalry between the aforementioned suburban areas, suggests that variation in both areas is interactionally constrained, but in the northern area it tends to be more friendship group-constrained, while in the western area it is more education-constrained. In light of these findings, the sociolinguistic implications of the study translate into the analytical need to account for the relationship between interactional and social factors in the description of variable grammars.

Affiliations: 1: Qatar University irene.theodoropoulou@qu.edu.qa

10.1163/15699846-13130104
/content/journals/10.1163/15699846-13130104
dcterms_title,pub_keyword,dcterms_description,pub_author
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This article focuses on the description and interpretation of the social meaning of sociolinguistic variation in Athenian suburban speech. A descriptive statistical and a Varbrul analysis of the syntactic variable Verb and presence or absence of Prepositional Phrase (V +/– PP), as it is used by native northern and western suburbanites of Athens, suggests that primarily the area (northern and western suburbia) and, to a lesser extent, the sex of the speakers are statistically significant macro social factors constraining variation. In an effort to tease out the social meaning of the variation, a further analysis of some micro factors within each area, including the group of speakers, the topic, and the stance towards the rivalry between the aforementioned suburban areas, suggests that variation in both areas is interactionally constrained, but in the northern area it tends to be more friendship group-constrained, while in the western area it is more education-constrained. In light of these findings, the sociolinguistic implications of the study translate into the analytical need to account for the relationship between interactional and social factors in the description of variable grammars.

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/content/journals/10.1163/15699846-13130104
2013-01-01
2016-12-11

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