Proceedings of Methods XVI

Papers from the sixteenth international conference on Methods in Dialectology, 2017

by Yoshiyuki Asahi (Volume editor)
©2020 Conference proceedings 300 Pages


Methods in Dialectology is a venerable institution, having started in 1972 in London, Western Ontario, Canada. This book is a collection of papers presented at Methods XVI in Tachikawa, Japan, in 2017. It was the first time Methods took place in Asia. In this volume, the emphasis is on diverse methods and diverse research questions. Many of the papers focus on language innovation, language change, corpus studies and linguistic atlas from different perspectives. At the same time, methodological innovation is very much in focus. Its emphasis meant that several papers showcased cutting-edge quantitative techniques that allow dialectologists to address questions that had been thought impossible to answer only a few years ago.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editor
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Editorial preface
  • Foreword
  • Table of contents
  • A list of contributors
  • Part I: Innovation
  • Individual- vs. community-level variation: New evidence from variable (t,d) in Canadian English (Katharina Pabst, Lex Konnelly, Melanie Röthlisberger, and Sali A. Tagliamonte)
  • Variation and change in a Japanese new town: Production and perception of variable (ng) (Akiko Okumura)
  • Innovative possessive marker in the Burgenland dialect of Hungarian in Austria (Hajime Oshima)
  • Postposed demonstrative: An innovation from contact between North Russian and Central Veps dialects (Chingduang Yurayong)
  • Does dialect loss give more or less variation?: On dialect leveling and language creativity (Jos Swanenberg)
  • Nativisation in adolescent Palauan English: A discourse-pragmatic perspective (Kazuko Matsumoto)
  • But I’m embarrassed!: The representation of Hokkaido dialect in the Japanese anime, Silver Spoon (Rika Ito)
  • Accommodation and social networks: Grammatical variation among expatriate English speakers in Japan (Keiko Hirano and David Britain)
  • Language situations: A method for capturing variation within speakers’ repertoires (Heike Wiese)
  • Part II: Language change
  • The diffusion of lexical bundles from an urban center to a rural community in Japan (Kevin Heffernan)
  • The structure of diversified language usage in metropolitan Tokyo: Analyses using large-scale database for word accent (Harumi Mitsui, Kanetaka Yarimizu, and Motoei Sawaki)
  • Different paths in the acquisition of Japanese negative words meaning prohibition: Dame in the standard form and akan in the western dialect (Mihoko Kubota)
  • Analysis of the transmission of reference honorifics in the Japanese household (Kazuko Tanabe)
  • The state of dialect usage and transmission in Iheya (Salvatore Carlino)
  • Change in spoken Finnish: The dialect of 7-year-olds of two generations (Marjatta Palander)
  • A real-time perspective on the Southern vowel shift in Kentuckiana (Brian José)
  • Part III: Corpus and quantitative studies
  • Corpus-based study of Japanese dialects: Regional differences in accusative case marking system (Nobuko Kibe, Kumiko Sato, Taro Nakanishi, and Kohei Nakazawa)
  • The speaking style of elderly assembly members in the Fukuoka prefectural assembly (Hitoshi Nikaido)
  • The birth and diffusion of group languages in the National Diet (Kenjiro Matsuda)
  • Regional differences in conjunctives in the minutes of local assemblies (Suguru Kawase)
  • Revisiting transatlantic relatives: Evidence from British and Canadian English (Stephen Levey and Heike Pichler)
  • Using semantic vector space models to investigate lexical replacement: A corpus-based study of ongoing changes in intensifier use (Martin Schweinberger)
  • Pazeh-Kaxabu affinity revisited: from a corpus-based approach (Chihkai Lin)
  • Part IV: Atlases
  • Standardization and distance: A case study of the linguistic atlas of Champagne and Brie (ALCB) (Yuji Kawaguchi)
  • A geolinguistic study on Taiwanese in the west coast of Taiwan using ‘Glottograms’ (Jung-min Li and Hsiao-feng Cheng)
  • ‘Where’ as a negative prefix in Khams Tibetan: A geolinguistic approach towards a grammaticalisation process (Hiroyuki Suzuki and Lozong Lhamo)
  • Series index

A list of contributors

David Britain, University of Bern, Switzerland

Salvatore Carlino, National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, Japan

Hsiao-feng Cheng, National Central University, Taiwan

Kevin Heffernan, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan

Keiko Hirano, University of Kitakyushu, Japan

Rika Ito, St. Olaf College, USA

Brian José, Indiana State University, USA

Yuji Kawaguchi, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Japan

Suguru Kawase, Shirayuri University, Japan

Nobuko Kibe, National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, Japan

Lex Konnelly, University of Toronto, Canada

Mihoko Kubota, Tokyo Zokei University, Japan

Stephen Levey, University of Ottawa, Canada

Lozong Lhamo, Diqing Prefectural Tibetan High School, China

Jung-min Li, Minjiang University, China

Chihkai Lin, Tatung University, Taiwan

Kenjiro Matsuda, Kobe Shoin Women’s University, Japan

Kazuko Matsumoto, The University of Tokyo, Japan

Harumi Mitsui, Kokugakuin University, Japan

Taro Nakanishi, Atomi University, Japan

Kohei Nakazawa, National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, Japan

Hitoshi Nikaido, Fukuoka Jo Gakuin University, Japan

Akiko Okumura, The University of Tokyo, Japan

Hajime Oshima, National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, Japan

Katharina Pabst, University of Toronto, Canada

Marjatta Palander, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Heike Pichler, Newcastle University, UK

Melanie Röthlisberger, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Kumiko Sato, National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, Japan

Motoei Sawaki, Shinshu University, Japan

Martin Schweinberger, The University of Queensland, Australia

Hiroyuki Suzuki, University of Oslo, Norway

Jos Swanenberg, Tilburg University, the Netherlands

Sali A. Tagliamonte, University of Toronto, Canada

Kazuko Tanabe, Japan Women’s University, Japan

Heike Wiese, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany

Kanetaka Yarimizu, National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, Japan

Chingduang Yurayong, University of Helsinki, Finland

Katharina Pabst, Lex Konnelly, Melanie Röthlisberger, and Sali A. Tagliamonte

Individual- vs. community-level variation
New evidence from variable (t,d) in Canadian English

1 Introduction

The simplification of consonant clusters involving the alveolar stops /t/ and /d/ in word-final clusters in English, also known as (t,d) deletion, is one of the most frequently studied variables in variationist sociolinguistics (Labov et al. 1968; Guy and Boyd 1990; Tagliamonte and Temple 2005, inter alia). This research has shown that uninflected or monomorphemic words, as in (1a), undergo deletion at a higher rate than regular past tense verbs, as in (1b), with semi-weak verbs, i.e., past tense forms that have both a stem-vowel change and a past tense suffix, patterning in between, as in (1c).



The REST was all fields. (wcarlsberg/F/78)2


I FOUNØ I’d come home all pissed off about shit. (fconnor/M/17)


Yeah, the girls LOVED him. (mmcguigan/M/32)

As Tamminga and Fruehwald (2013) note, this pattern has been explained from a variety of theoretical perspectives, ranging from variable rules (Labov et al. 1968) to lexical phonology (Guy 1991) and Optimality Theory (Kiparsky 1994). All of these models are based on the assumption that (t,d) deletion is a single, unified process, an assumption that Tamminga and Fruehwald question. Analyzing two corpora of American English, they found that semi-weak verbs have higher rates ←17 | 18→of inter-speaker and inter-lexical variation than monomorphemes and regular past tense verbs. Drawing on previous work suggesting that children do not attach the past tense suffix to semi-weak verbs (Guy and Boyd 1990; Roberts 1997; Smith et al. 2009), they argue that the surface variation between the different morphological forms is the result of three separate processes, two phonological (phonological deletion in monomorphemes and phonological deletion in all past tense forms), and one morphological (allomorphy in semi-weaks). Thus, while all monomorphemic, semi-weak, and regular past tense forms are subject to the more general phonological rule of consonant cluster reduction, the semi-weak verbs are also subject to allomorphy; for example, a semi-weak verb like kept also has a competing allomorph kep.

This paper replicates Tamminga and Fruehwald’s (2013) analysis using data from Toronto, Canada (Tagliamonte 2003–2006). Tamminga and Fruehwald (2013) hypothesized that if (t,d) deletion is one unified process, inter-speaker differences should show a consistent range across categories – that is, their rates of deletion should be relatively similar for each morphological class. They investigated this by fitting a mixed-effects model on the full dataset that included a random slope of individual speaker by morphological class. Results showed that the range of inter-speaker differences was not consistent across these categories for their data: Speakers were more tightly clustered for regular past tense and monomorphemes than for semi-weak verbs.

Testing Tamminga and Fruehwald’s (2013) hypotheses on a different data set allows us to address two issues: First, it allows us to test whether semi-weak verbs display higher rates of inter-speaker and inter-lexical variation in different varieties. If this were true, it would be further supportive to the hypothesis that there are indeed multiple distinct processes at work. Second, it allows us to further investigate “[o];ne of the enduring questions in linguistics” (Guy 1980:1): the relationship between individual- and community-level variation. Decades of research have shown that there is indeed such a thing as a “community grammar”, meaning that individuals who are part of the same community tend to display similar patterns of variation. However, relatively little is known about the extent to which individuals can and do deviate from community norms (for a more detailed discussion of these issues, see Walker & Meyerhoff 2003). Taking a closer look at inter-speaker variation will allow us to address this issue in the literature and augment our understanding of variation at the community level.

2 The data

The data we use to replicate Tamminga and Fruehwald’s (2013) findings stem from a subset of the Toronto English Archive, a corpus consisting of sociolinguistic ←18 | 19→interviews with speakers born and raised in Toronto, Canada. The subset consists of 56 speakers (28 men and 28 women) between the ages of 17 and 92. The speakers represent a variety of educational backgrounds, occupations, and ethnicities (for a more detailed description of the data set, see Tagliamonte 2012). The size and representation of social groups within the corpus make it the ideal tool with which to pursue the question of the role of the individual vs. the group, as it closely models the makeup of the broader speech community.

The data comprise 3,418 tokens: all lexical items with word-final consonant clusters ending in /t/ or /d/, excluding negative and interrogative constructions (e.g., isn’t and won’t), proper nouns, neutralization contexts, lexical items where the exact type of noun phrase could not be determined as well as the conjunction and (cf. Tagliamonte and Temple 2005). The data show that (t,d) deletion in the Toronto data has four variants: deletion (Ø), and three surface realization forms: [t];, [d], and the glottal stop [ʔ]. For the purposes of this study, all tokens that end in [t] or [d] will be treated as realized, while all tokens that end in Ø and [ʔ] will be treated as deleted (following Walker 2012).

The overall distribution of final consonant deletion and retention is presented in Tab. 1.

Tab. 1: Overall distribution of variable (t,d)









Total N



As the table shows, the rate of deletion in the Toronto data is 49.85%. This contrasts with the data from York English in the UK, which has a much lower deletion rate of 24% (Tagliamonte and Temple 2005:287).

3 Coding and analysis

Our coding schema follows existing precedent, focusing on three linguistic factors most commonly found to be significant in conditioning rates of (t,d) deletion: preceding phonological environment, following phonological environment, and the morphological class of the word (cf. Guy and Boyd 1990; Bayley 1994; Santa Ana 1996), summarized in the Tab. 2. Tokens were also coded for age, gender, occupation, and normalized corpus frequency; however, consistent with the analysis that we replicate here, we do not consider demographic factors in the present study.

Tab. 2: Summary of coding protocol

Linguistic factors

Preceding phonological segment (based on Tagliamonte and Temple 2005)


Non-sibilant fricatives


Liquids and glides



ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (June)
Innovation Language change Corpus studies Linguistic atlas Variation
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 300 pp., 68 fig. b/w, 57 tables.

Biographical notes

Yoshiyuki Asahi (Volume editor)

Yoshiyuki Asahi is an associate professor of sociolinguistics at the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics. He holds a PhD in Japanese linguistics from Osaka University. He works on language variation and change through dialect contact and published several books on these topics.


Title: Proceedings of Methods XVI
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