In this webinar, we investigate whether speakers marshal phonetic integration as a strategy to distinguish language contact phenomena. Systematic comparison of the behavior of individuals, diagnostics, and language-mixing types (code‑switches, established loanwords and nonce borrowings) reveals variability at every level of the adaptation process, providing strong evidence that bilinguals do not phonetically distinguish other‑language words, nonce or dictionary‑attested, in a uniform way. This is in striking contrast to the community‑wide morphosyntactic treatment they afford this same material when borrowing it: immediate, quasi‑categorical, and consistent. This confirms that phonetic and morphosyntactic integration are independent. Only the latter is a reliable metric for distinguishing language-mixing types.

Meet the Authors: Revisiting phonetic integration in bilingual borrowing

(Language Volume 96, Number 1, March 2020)

Shana Poplacka, Suzanne Robillarda, Nathalie Diona & John C. Paolillob

aUniversity of Ottawa and bIndiana University Bloomington

The webinar will include time for Q&A, so be sure to read the article on the Project MUSE page for Language -- it will be available in mid February -- and come prepared with questions. 

View a recording of the webinar.

See transcripts and hear the audio clips played in the webinar. (Click on underlined file names to hear audio clips.)

The webinar took place on Friday, February 28, 2020 from 1:30 - 3:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time.


Shana Poplack is Distinguished University Professor and Canada Research Chair in Linguistics at the University of Ottawa, and founding director of the Sociolinguistics Laboratory there. Her work applies theoretical and methodological insights gained from the study of linguistic variation and change to a variety of fields, including bilingual language mixing, language contact and grammatical convergence, the genesis of African American Vernacular English and normative prescription vs. praxis.



Suzanne Robillard is a PhD candidate in variationist sociolinguistics specializing in language contact phenomena, particularly within minority francophone communities of Canada. Her recent work examines the effects of dialect heterogeneity and geographic isolation on the development of shared linguistic norms among second-generation francophones in Victoria, Canada.



Nathalie Dion is the Research Coordinator of the University of Ottawa Sociolinguistics Laboratory, and collaborator on several projects investigating complementary aspects of language variation and change,  especially in bilingual and minority language contexts. She has published on a variety of topics relating to the linguistic manifestations of language contact, as well as on the relationship between grammatical prescription and everyday language use.



John C. Paolillo is an associate professor of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering with an adjunct appointment in Linguistics at Indiana University Bloomington. He earned his PhD at Stanford University working in a blend of sociolinguistics and formal linguistics. He is the author of a book on the statistical analysis of language (Analyzing Linguistic Variation, CSLI Publications, 2002).