Dataset

Quantitative social dialectology: Explaining linguistic variation geographically and socially

Wieling, M. (Creator), Nerbonne, J. (Creator), Baayen, R. H. (Creator), University of Groningen, 2013

Dataset

  • Univ Alberta, University of Alberta, Dept Linguist

Description

In this study we examine linguistic variation and its dependence on both social and geographic factors. We follow
dialectometry in applying a quantitative methodology and focusing on dialect distances, and social dialectology in the
choice of factors we examine in building a model to predict word pronunciation distances from the standard Dutch
language to 424 Dutch dialects. We combine linear mixed-effects regression modeling with generalized additive modeling
to predict the pronunciation distance of 559 words. Although geographical position is the dominant predictor, several other
factors emerged as significant. The model predicts a greater distance from the standard for smaller communities, for
communities with a higher average age, for nouns (as contrasted with verbs and adjectives), for more frequent words, and
for words with relatively many vowels. The impact of the demographic variables, however, varied from word to word. For a
majority of words, larger, richer and younger communities are moving towards the standard. For a smaller minority of
words, larger, richer and younger communities emerge as driving a change away from the standard. Similarly, the strength
of the effects of word frequency and word category varied geographically. The peripheral areas of the Netherlands showed
a greater distance from the standard for nouns (as opposed to verbs and adjectives) as well as for high-frequency words,
compared to the more central areas. Our findings indicate that changes in pronunciation have been spreading (in particular
for low-frequency words) from the Hollandic center of economic power to the peripheral areas of the country, meeting
resistance that is stronger wherever, for well-documented historical reasons, the political influence of Holland was reduced.
Our results are also consistent with the theory of lexical diffusion, in that distances from the Hollandic norm vary
systematically and predictably on a word by word basis.
Date made available2013
PublisherUniversity of Groningen
Date of data production2011
Access to the dataset Open
Contact researchdata@rug.nl
Related Publications
  1. Quantitative Social Dialectology: Explaining Linguistic Variation Geographically and Socially

    Wieling, M., Nerbonne, J. & Baayen, R. H., 1-Sep-2011, In : PLoS ONE. 6, 9, 14 p., 23613.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

View all (1) »

ID: 64062533