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Rhodes > English Language and Linguistics > Latest News

Language Variation -- European Perspectives

Date Released: Tue, 26 April 2011 09:42 +0200

Rhodes phonologist Dr Zhaleh Feizollahi has co-authored a chapter in a newly-released book, Language Variation -- European Perspectives III.  The chapter, written with Barbara Soukup of Universität Wien in Austria, is entitled "The role of intonation in Austrian listeners' perceptions of standard-dialect shifting". It discusses the ways in which Austrians distinguish between when someone is speaking in the standard variety of German used in Austria, and when they are speaking in their local dialects. One of the things that marks the differences between these two varieties of German is the different intonation patterns that are used. Soukup and Feizollahi's chapter looks at the way listeners 'hear' these differences in tone.

Below is a short summary of the book that Feizollahi and Soukup's chapter appears in:

Language Variation - European Perspectives III contains 18 selected papers from the International Conference on Language Variation in Europe which took place in Copenhagen 2009. The volume includes plenaries by Penelope Eckert ('Where does the social stop?') and Brit Mæhlum (on how cities have been viewed by dialectologists, sociolinguists - and lay people). In between these two longer papers, the editors have selected 16 others ranging over a wide field of interest from phonetics (i.a. Stuart-Smith, Timmins and Alam) via syntax (Wiese) to information structure (Moore and Snell) and from cognitive semantics (Levshina, Geeraerts and Spelman) to the perceptual study of intonation (Feizollahi and Soukup). Several of the papers concern methodological questions within corpus based studies of variation (Buchstaller and Corrigan, Vangsnes and Johannessen, and Ruus and Duncker). Taken as a whole the papers demonstrate how wide the field of variation studies has become during the last two decades. It is now central to almost all linguistic subfields.