Volume 43, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0172-8865
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9730
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An understanding of linguistic heterogeneity in older speakers is crucial for the study of language variation and change. To date, intra-speaker malleability in older populations remains under-researched, in varieties of English and more generally. This paper contributes panel data to the question of how aging individuals engage with ongoing changes in the realisation of (t) in the Tyneside region in the North-East of England. We examine the variable ways in which six speakers recorded in their 20s/30s and re-interviewed in their 60s/70s adapt to community-wide change. The finding that some speakers exhibit malleability in their variable realisation of (t) substantiates a life-course perspective over a strict maturational explanation. More specifically, our analysis explores the contribution of long-term (in)stability to lifespan-specific identity construction in the Tyneside area. Our findings support calls for the incorporation of sophisticated statistical methods in combination with social constructivist approaches into panel research on older age populations.


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