Selected work

Click on the titles for links to slides.

Social meaning, variation and change


(2019) With Lewis Esposito. How far do Pacific Northwest features spread? Evidence of prevelar raising/fronting across CaliforniaPaper presented at NWAV48. Oct 10-12 Eugene, Oregon

Prevelar raising (or BAG/BEG raising) has been noted as a defining feature of Pacific Northwest English, yet its status nearby in California remains largely unknown. Our study finds evidence of prevelar raising across four field-sites in California. Further, we show that degree of raising and/or fronting is conditioned by social factors (notably speaker age and location). We also show that BAG and BEG pattern differently, arguing that prevelar raising is not a blanket phenomenon: while BAG is lowering over time, BEG remains stable.

(2017) The relationship between iconicity as motor-sensory analogy and social meaning: Evidence from creaky voice. Paper presented at NWAV46. November 2-4, Madison, Wisconsin.

Looking at the possible perceptuomotor analogies (or proto-iconic meaning) for creaky voice may shed light on how certain vocal qualities get used for stance/affect work micro-interactionally, and how these ideologically map to macro social categories. I use data which shows creak taken up in moments of “expressive tempering”, and a correlation between creak use and class identity in a small cohort of middle-class British speakers.

(2017) Bringing social meaning into ideophone and iconicity research.
Workshop in Mimetics II: New approaches to old questions. November 11 Nanzan University, Japan

Analyzing ideophone loss through the lens of social meaning helps to unpack potential cross-linguistic ideologies towards iconicity and/or expressive language.  I consider how ideophones come to be socially “marked” in colonial contexts through a survey of western thought on representation, performance and mimesis.  Ideophones then become markers of social identity, linking speakers (in colonial contexts) to more rural or old-fashioned social practices.  Ideophones as identity markers can then motivate language change in two ways: ideophone loss or de-ideophonization.  I use the example of Zulu and Iscamtho to illustrate this.




(2018) Policing male intimacy: A sociopragmatic analysis of a homophobic tag  Poster presented at Workshop on Sociolinguistic, Psycholinguistic and Formal Perspectives on Meaning. July 1-3 Paris, France

The tag “no homo” works to block the retrieval of ideologies associated to “being gay”, presumed on the basis of speaker persona + utterance content.  In moments of male emotional intimacy, a speaker uses the tag to maintain commitment to the semantic content of the utterance, but distances themselves from any non-heteronormative associations.  The tag thus functions to police heteronormative masculinity, and suggests that persona-mediated interpretation is expected by speakers.

(2018) Persona recovery as a primary pragmatic process in the interpretation of implicit content Paper presented at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Society of America. January 4-6, Salt Lake City, Utah

Hearers recover a speaker’s persona from linguistic and extra-linguistic cues, and then use the ideological associations drawn from this to retrieve missing content in political slogans.

(2017) “As if” vs “as was”: Quotatives, expressivity and interpretation.Paper presented at Semfest 18, March 17, Stanford University.

“As was” quotatives (say) can be used in contrast with “as if” quotatives (be like) to structure the affective impact and interpretation of narratives.  Zero quotatives can then be taken up once a character is established, offering “direct access” to a character’s attitudinal/affective stance without the interference of an “explicit” narrator.  In this way, they are an example of how the voice and body can be used as long distance referential anchors, tracking disparate characters.