An Evaluation of Sociolinguistic Elicitation Methods

Zac Boyd , Zuzanna Elliott , Josef Fruehwald and Lauren Hall-Lew (2015)


This study investigates the effects of different elicitation methods on the speech of a single speaker of San Francisco English who is participating in a systematic set of vocalic sound changes known as the California Vowel Shift. We contrast data obtained from classic sociolinguistic interview methods with data from self-recordings, as well as data from various methods for eliciting spontaneous speech that are typically used in laboratory settings. An analysis of five sound changes indicates that self-recorded speech often results in significantly more advanced productions than interview speech, while speech from laboratory methods is largely comparable to interview speech. Surprisingly, differences between read speech and unscripted speech are minimal. We conclude by recommending the utility of controlled-but-spontaneous laboratory elicitation methods, and by strongly recommending the use of self-recorded data for studies of sound changes in progress.

Published ICPhS


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