Pädagogische Hochschule Vorarlberg
Davydova, Julia; Dr. habil.
Davydova, Julia; Dr.
Hazen, Kirk; Dr.
2019 – 2020
This study explores the role of linguistic structure in speakers’ sociolinguistic perceptions of vernacular speech. In so doing, it tests the assumptions of the Interface Principle (Labov 1993) and its major claim that semantic and discourse-pragmatic features will elicit a greater degree of social awareness than the morphosyntactic variants (Levon and Buchstaller 2015). Relying on data obtained from 372 German respondents, we explore the social perceptions of two discourse-pragmatic and two morphosyntactic variables. The former are intensifiers and quotative markers; the latter are future tense and possessive markers. We show that the morphosyntactic features investigated here are generally available to the sociolinguistic monitor of L1 speakers as well as highly advanced foreign language learners (henceforth, EFL). However, these morphosyntactic features are (i) not available to the extent that the semantic / discourse-pragmatic variants are and (ii) their social evaluation is more malleable. We argue for the weaker version of the Interface Principle and propose that the differences in the recognisability of vernacular features is gradient between and within linguistic levels, and that juxtaposing different types of speaker data is instrumental in discerning those differences.