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CARLA Presentation: #YouAreWhatYouTweet: Decoding Speaker Identity & Fricative Epithesis on French-Language Twitter
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
12:20 p.m.–1:10 p.m. (Central Time)–Note Time

Phrase-final fricative epithesis (PFFE) is a sociophonetic phenomenon in Continental French (=from France) in which utterance-final vowels lose their voicing and give way to intense fricative-like whistles, e.g., mais oui_hhh (Fónagy, 1989). Although readily observed in the speech of both native speakers and second-language learners, the variable’s percepts remain somewhat elusive. This study uses a matched-guise task to establish PFFE’s perceptual values among native and second-language French speakers and determines what sociolinguistic characteristics of the listener influence these perceptions. The findings are then compared to a 2060-token Twitter corpus of PFFE occurrences to illustrate the ways in which the variable’s life on Twitter both corroborates previous perception findings and provides evidence of a more iconic, more structurally permissive life on Twitter, conditioned by the creative digital vernacular writing style popular to the medium. Suggestions are offered for raising language learners’ awareness of and competence in decoding sociophonetic phenomena, particularly those with complex multimodal behaviors.

Amanda Dalola is Director of the Language Center and Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Minnesota. Her current research projects include the production, perception, and digital media renderings of sociophonetic variables and speech styles in French and Korean, the use of social media applications in the language learning classroom, and the use of translanguaging and open educational resources as open educational practices.

This presentation is cospsonsored by the Language Center and the Department of Linguistics in the College of Liberal Arts.

Nov 9, 2022 12:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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