Controlled and automatic perceptions of a sociolinguistic marker

Annette D'Onofrio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper explores the relation between controlled and automatic perceptions of a sociolinguistic variable that yields no metalinguistic commentary- A marker (Labov, 1972). Two experiments examine links between the backed trap vowel and its social meanings. The first, a matched guise task, measures social evaluations of the feature in a relatively controlled, introspective task. In the second, two measures are used that access different points in online processing and different degrees of listener control: (a) lexical categorization of an ambiguous stimulus, measured by a mouse click, and (b) automatic, early responses to this ambiguous stimulus, measured by eye movements. While listeners perceptually link trap-backing with social information in all three measures, specific social effects differ across the measures. Findings illustrate that the task and time course of a response influence how listeners link a linguistic marker with social information, even when this sociolinguistic knowledge is below the level of conscious awareness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-285
Number of pages25
JournalLanguage Variation and Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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