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Diagnostics of linguistic change: Mapping language change in real and apparent time (Dialing)
Start date: Feb 1, 2013, End date: Jan 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project aims to investigate the mechanisms of language change across the life-span and across the community. It provides the applicant with a platform to advance her research on linguistic change at Leipzig University by exploiting a corpus she has assembled in the last 5 years in collaboration with colleagues at Newcastle University. The research is based on 2 innovative data-sets: (i) A longitudinal corpus which contains spoken data recorded in the 1960s, the 1990s and the 2000s. The project takes advantage of the full range of diachronic evidence by analysing a socially balanced data-set of informants born almost one hundred years apart. (ii) Re-recordings of a panel sample of 10 speakers from the original 1960s data. The project considers four linguistic features at two levels of linguistic structure (phonology and morphosyntax) that are currently undergoing change in order to investigate the role of modularity in language variation across the life-span and in longitudinal historical change. As such, the project aims to test and refine models that have been proposed as regards the possible range and generalisability of linguistic variability during the speakers’ life and across linguistic variables. The integration of longitudinal trend and panel sampling is very rare in research on language variation and change and allows tracing the trajectory of on-going language change from the second half of the 19th into the second decade of the 21st century. The proposed research fits well within the ecology of linguistic research at Leipzig and promises to deepen collaborations between the University and other research institutes within Germany and across the EU. The project allows the applicant to make significant contributions in a field in which she has already established a considerable reputation and, by retaining a widely esteemed scientist in the EU, it contributes to its scientific excellence.
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