On Friday, April 8, 2022, the LSA presented another webinar in its “Meet the Author” series featuring Lacey Wade. Dr. Wade presented her recent article published in the journal Language entitled, “Experimental evidence for expectation-driven linguistic convergence.”

In her article published in the March 2022 issue of Language, Dr. Lacey Wade examined the role of sociolinguistic expectations in linguistic convergence, using glide-weakened /aɪ/—a salient feature of Southern US English—as a test case. She presented the results of two experiments utilizing a novel experimental paradigm for eliciting convergence—the word-naming game task—in which participants read aloud (baseline) or hear (exposure) clues describing particular words and then give their guesses out loud. Participants converged toward a Southern-shifted model talker by producing more glide-weakened tokens of /aɪ/, without ever hearing the model talker produce this vowel. Participants in the control (Midland talker) condition exhibited no such response. Convergence was facilitated by both living in the South and producing less-weakened baseline /aɪ/ glides, but attitudinal and domain-general individual-differences measures did not reliably predict convergence behaviors. Results are discussed in terms of implications for the cognitive mechanisms underlying convergence behaviors and the mental representations of sociolinguistic knowledge.

Dr. Wade presented her findings, followed by a time for questions and answers.

Watch the webinar on our YouTube channel.