Second dialect acquisition

When people move to new regions, how do they change aspects of their accent, and what do these changes tell us about how words and sounds are represented in the mind?  I've interviewed born-and-bred Canadians who moved as adults to the New York City region to find out whether they had adopted dialect features of their new region or maintained features of their native dialect. It seems that they do both, depending on the feature - and the reasons for this are both linguistic and social. In more recent work, I've observed that these speakers also style shift, using features of their first and second dialects to convey stance and complex place identity.

I'm continuing and broadening this work as part of an NSF-supported project titled Second Dialect Acquisition and Stylistic Variation in Mobile Speakers. Read more about the project (and if applicable, sign up to participate!) here.


Selected papers

Nycz, Jennifer. 2018. Stylistic variation among mobile speakers: Using old and new regional variables to construct complex place identity. Language Variation and Change 30(20): 175-202.

Nycz, Jennifer. 2016. Awareness and acquisition of new dialect features. In Babel, Anna (ed.), Awareness and Control in Sociolinguistic Research. Cambridge University Press. 62-79.

Nycz, Jennifer. 2015. Second dialect acquisition: A sociophonetic perspective. Language and Linguistics Compass 9: 469-482.

Johnson, Daniel Ezra and Jennifer Nycz. 2015. Partial mergers and near-distinctions: Stylistic layering in dialect acquisition. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 21(2): Article 13. 

Nycz, Jennifer. 2013. New contrast acquisition: Methodological issues and theoretical implications. English Language & Linguistics 17(2): 325-357.

Nycz, Jennifer. 2013.  Changing words or changing rules? Second dialect acquisition and phonological representation. Journal of Pragmatics 52: 49–62. Click here for a video of me talking  about this paper with the Memorial University Newfoundland Sociolinguistics Reading Group! 

Nycz, Jennifer. 2011.  Second Dialect Acquisition: Implications for Theories of Phonological Representation. Doctoral Dissertation, New York University.