This project investigates the possibility of bidialectalism through sociolinguistic analysis of second dialect acquisition. Sociolinguistics has studied bilingualism, providing important revisions to models of the language faculty; however, bidialectalism has avoided empirical sociolinguistic investigation. Style-shifting is well researched in sociolinguistics, and bidialectalism has been much discussed in education and speech pathology circles, but no linguistic study has taken up the question of when style-shifting may end and bidialectalism begin, what the principles governing bidialectalism might be, or if bidialectalism is even humanly possible. In an empirical investigation, this project aims to assess dialect acquisition to determine the boundaries of bidialectalism and its implications for the language faculty. In this project, twenty speakers from a southern dialect region introduced into a northern dialect area will be interviewed to gather data on real-time changes in their idiolects. The project focuses on how and if the speakers organize their production of dialect features as discrete sets or whether their dialect features blend in production.

Qualitative-descriptive and quantitative-variationist analytical models are applied to the emerging data, and the objective analysis of language variation is implemented by the analysis of data obtained from subjective speaker identification tasks. In addition, data gathered in a variety of speech situations will be utilized in the examination of intraspeaker variation in the dialect acquisition process. This project provides important insights about how the language faculty functions in targeting a second dialect, the locus of sociolinguistic variation in the language faculty, and the linguistic and social boundaries of bidialectalism.

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West Virginia University Research Corporation
United States
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