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?  For my dissertation, I 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.

I'm resuming this work in Washington, DC, with a new focus on speakers' attitudes toward place, both at the national (e.g. Canada vs. U.S.) level and the local (hometown vs. DC), and on how these attitudes mediate adaptation to a new regional dialect. If you'd like to participate in this new project, follow the Participate! link for more information.

I'm also working with Daniel Ezra Johnson on a project which examines how speakers who are acquiring second dialects shift between their old and new accents in different contexts. 


Selected papers

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.