Ageing in LVC

Aims of the research project (2019-2021)
Within the field of language variation and change, age is often approached as a social variable (social age), as well as being placed on a par with chronological age (as opposed to biological age). This is the general tendency, despite the multifaceted characteristics of age (e.g. Eckert 1997). The first aim of the project is to develop the appropriate methodology to conduct linguistic research that considers social age as the key variable, as opposed to chronological age.
Most likely because biological age is difficult to determine without obtaining biological data, the role of biological ageing on language variation and change has not received as much attention as, for example, biological sex (vis-à-vis social gender identity). The second aim of the postdoc position is to contrast biological and chronological age and establish whether the former has any effects on selected laryngeal phenomena. This will include collection and analyses of production data as well as collection of the speakers’ biomarkers (in collaboration with Gillian Pepper). The project will enable us to establish not only whether biological ageing is a factor relevant for at least some consonantal and vocalic changes, but also what the magnitude of this potential effect may be.
In what remains of 2019, Anna Jespersen (the researcher employed to work on this project primarily) is on a leave, but we’ll be more active again in 2020 and 2021. Stay tuned.
This project is generously funded by the AUFF Starting Grant.
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