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FRIAS Colloquium - Erik Schleef

Erik Schleef
University of Salzburg

The story of (ing): From historic re-analysis to contemporary attitudes
When Jun 12, 2023
from 03:00 PM to 04:00 PM
Where FRIAS Seminar Room
Contact Name
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The story of (ing): From historic re-analysis to contemporary attitudes


Of the handful of grammatical endings that are left in the English language, (ing) has a particularly interesting history which has resulted in its current variation: unstressed (ing) may be realised as either -ing or -in (as in singing versus singin’) in almost all L1 varieties of English. Due to historical developments, the frequency of -in use varies within Britain with more geographically peripheral areas using -in much more (e.g. England`s North, South-west, East and Scotland) than more central areas of England. At the same time, speakers hold different attitudes towards these variants of (ing) all over the English-speaking world. For example, Campbell-Kibler’s (2009, 2011) investigation of (ing) in the US found -ing to be perceived as more articulate, educated, hard-working and formal than -in. While several studies have taken this variable as their focus, regional comparisons of the evaluation of (ing) are extremely rare. This presentation outlines the historical development of (ing) but focuses on the attitudes towards the variants of (ing) in three locations – London, Manchester and Edinburgh. It aims to uncover whether and, if so, how attitudes towards variation in (ing) differ in these three localities. Data comes from perceptual experiments in which respondents from each location rated stimuli doublets, each containing only one of the variants of (ing) on multiple social attribute scales, such as educatedness, casualness, etc. The relatively recent arrival of various implicit attitude experiments have led to questions about the nature of our measurements and whether previous experimental methods have been successful in keeping the participants unaware of the attitude target. Different methods to collect language attitudes will be outlined and contrasted and implications for language attitude research will be discussed.