- Gillian Sankoff, Suzanne Evans Wagner & Laura Jensen. The long tail of language change: Québécois French futures in real time.
- J. Daniel Hasty, Ashley Hesson, Suzanne Evans Wagner & Robert Lannon. Finding needles in the right haystack: Double modals in medical consultations. [Winner of the NWAV 40 Best Student Poster prize]
The lastest issue of the University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics features four current or former MSU sociolinguists: Suzanne Wagner, Ashley Hesson, Daniel Hasty and Laura Jensen:
Congratulations to Dr. J. Daniel Hasty, who successfully defended his dissertation on Friday, May 11th! Daniel's dissertation looks at a syntactic construction that is part of his own native Tennessee dialect: the double modal construction. Daniel provided a novel syntactic analysis of double modals, and then described their social distribution, using grammaticality judgements, corpus linguistics and language attitude experiments. Daniel argued that double modal sentences such as You might should think about losing some weight provide evidence that double modals are used as a politeness device in face-threatening situations. This may account for their greater acceptability among women, despite the fact that they are not part of Standard US English grammar.
Daniel will soon be moving to the Myrtle Beach, SC area to take up a position at Coastal Carolina University in the fall. Daniel will be an assistant professor in the English department, working alongside Becky Childs, who is a well-known variationist sociolinguist and former student of Walt Wolfram's.
(The photo above shows Daniel at his graduation ceremony, with advisor Suzanne Evans Wagner.)
Ashley Hesson and Suzanne Evans Wagner convened a panel session this weekend at GURT 2012. The panel, titled "Using physician-patient interviews for quantitative sociolinguistic analysis: a methodological check-up" featured contributions from Heidi Hamilton and Wen-ying Sylvia Chou who are co-editors of the forthcoming Handbook of Language and Health Communication (Routledge), as well as from Robert Podesva and Robert Lannon. Ashley and Suzanne's collaborators J. Daniel Hasty and Norma Mendoza-Denton were also represented. The panel was followed by a discussion of how best to bring together qualitative and quantitative analysts to solve healthcare communication problems, and how to access large databases of doctor-patient conversation.
Congratulations to Daniel Hasty and Ashley Hesson, who are the winners of the NWAV 40 Best Student Poster prize! The prize, worth $200, is voted on by NWAV conference attendees. The poster, titled Finding needles in the right haystack: Double modals in medical consultations, was co-authored with Suzanne Evans Wagner and Bob Lannon. Bob represented Verilogue Inc, whose corpus of doctor-patient interactions was used as the data source in the study.
Hasty et al searched for the Southern United States English double modal (DM) construction, e.g. You might could think about losing some weight. This construction is rare in other kinds of recorded speech corpora, such as sociolinguistic interviews, since it is pragmatically favored in service interactions and face-threatening negotiations. Hypothesizing that DMs might occur in doctor-patient talk, Hasty et al searched Verilogue's nationwide corpus of over 45,000 conversations. The search turned up 95 double modals, of which the majority -- surprisingly -- were produced by doctors. The study results also suggested that DMs are most frequent in discussion of and decisions about treatment, in which doctors appear to use DMs to mitigate their instructions to patients.
Congratulations to all the MSU presenters at NWAV 40 : Xiaoshi Li, Suzanne Wagner, Ashley Hesson, Daniel Hasty and recent graduate Laura Jensen (now at UT-Austin). We had a great dinner with former MSU faculty and students (n>22). Look for photos very soon!
Daniel Hasty will present My doctor said what? A study of language attitude towards the double modal at the American Dialect Society Annual Meeting in January 2012.
Who we are
We are faculty and students interested in language variation and change at Michigan State University in the departments of Linguistics & Languages, Romance & Classical Studies, Anthropology, Education and beyond.