Social identity and sound change : the case of Wo in Shanghainese

Liu, Guo-qiang 2012, Social identity and sound change : the case of Wo in Shanghainese, Australian review of applied linguistics, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 203-214.

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Title Social identity and sound change : the case of Wo in Shanghainese
Formatted title Social identity and sound change : the case of Wo in Shanghainese
Author(s) Liu, Guo-qiang
Journal name Australian review of applied linguistics
Volume number 35
Issue number 2
Start page 203
End page 214
Total pages 12
Publisher Applied Linguistics Association of Australia
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2012-07-30
ISSN 0155-0640
Keyword(s) language contact
language variation
language change
sound change
social identity
Summary Research has shown that language change is driven on one hand by forces internal to language itself such as grammar-internal systematic pressure, and on the other hand by social motives such as social identity. Language contact presents new features, but why is it that some of them are incorporated as variation and evolving into language change, while others are not? This paper reports a study on a sound change in Shanghainese, a dialect of the Chinese language. Data were collected in natural contexts of conversation followed by a brief interview with informants to gain identity related information about them. It has found that previously negative perception of status attached to a new sound induced by language/dialect contact changed into a positive perception, and people started to identify positively with this new sound. Further, there were differences in various different age and gender groups in taking up the new sound. As a result, this sound has evolved from a nonnative alternative to a systematic variation and it is being established as a sound change. This study has thus further confirmed that social identity plays a pivotal role in driving language features into language variation and language change.
Language eng
Field of Research 200405 Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
Socio Economic Objective 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2012, Applied Linguistics Association of Australia
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School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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Created: Tue, 31 Jul 2012, 10:04:13 EST by Guo-qiang Liu

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