Child Language Variation
  • ISSN 2211-6834
  • E-ISSN: 2211-6842
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Glottal stop is a widely reported phenomenon in the United Kingdom, but it has been rarely studied in the United States. The current study follows up on work on this feature in a wide age range of speakers in Vermont. Currently the speakers comprise thirty-six children ages 2;6 to 5 from this same location. In addition to demonstrating that these children have acquired the phonological constraints, as well as the full range of allophones of /t/, the results provide a lens through which to explore other issues of language acquisition and language variation, most notably, the boundary between dialectal and developmental variation. In general, it is argued that sociolinguistically conditioned variation adds empirical as well as theoretical value to studies of phonetically and phonologically conditioned variation and acquisition of the phonological system by first language learners.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Andersen, Elaine
    1990Speaking with style: The sociolinguistic skills of children. New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Cedergren, Henriette & David Sankoff
    1974 Variable rules: Performance as a statistical reflection of competence. Language50. 333–355. doi: 10.2307/412441
    https://doi.org/10.2307/412441 [Google Scholar]
  3. Chevrot, Jean-Pierre , Laurence Beaud & Renata Varga
    2000 “Developmental data on a French sociolinguistic variable: The word-final post-consonantal /R/..” Variation and Change12(3). 295–319. doi: 10.1017/S095439450012304X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S095439450012304X [Google Scholar]
  4. Docherty, Gerry , Paul Foulkes , James Milroy , & Lesley Milroy
    1997 Descriptive adequacy in phonology: A variationist perspective. Journal of Linguistics33(2). 275–310. doi: 10.1017/S002222679700649X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S002222679700649X [Google Scholar]
  5. Eddington, David & Michael Taylor
    2009 T-glottalization in American English. American Speech84(3). 298–314. doi: 10.1215/00031283‑2009‑023
    https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-2009-023 [Google Scholar]
  6. Fischer, John
    1958 Social influence of a linguistic variant. Word14: 47–56. doi: 10.1080/00437956.1958.11659655
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.1958.11659655 [Google Scholar]
  7. Guy, Gregory
    1980 Variation in the group and in the individual: The case of final stop deletion. In W. Labov (ed.), Locating Language in Time and Space, 1–36. New York: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Guy, Gregory & Sally Boyd
    1990 The development of a morphological class. Language Variation and Change2. 1–18. doi: 10.1017/S0954394500000235
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394500000235 [Google Scholar]
  9. Harris, John & Jonathan Kaye
    1990 A tale of two cities: London glottaling and New York City tapping. The Linguistic Review7. 251–274. doi: 10.1515/tlir.1990.7.3.251
    https://doi.org/10.1515/tlir.1990.7.3.251 [Google Scholar]
  10. Johnson, T
    2009 Vermont accent becoming a thing of the past. Burlington Free Press. Burlington, Vermont.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Kerswill, Paul & Ann Williams
    2000 Creating a New Town koine: Children and language change in Milton Keynes. Language in Society2. 65–115. doi: 10.1017/s0047404500001020
    https://doi.org/10.1017/s0047404500001020 [Google Scholar]
  12. 2005 New towns and koineization: Linguistic and social correlates. Linguistics43(5). 1023–1048. doi: 10.1515/ling.2005.43.5.1023
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.2005.43.5.1023 [Google Scholar]
  13. Labov, William
    1964 Stages in the acquisition of Standard English. In Roger Shuy , A. Davis & R. Hogan (eds.), Social dialects and language learning, 77–104. Champaign, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. 1972Sociolinguistic Patterns. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. 1989 The child as linguistic historian. Language Variation and Change1. 85–94. doi: 10.1017/S0954394500000120
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394500000120 [Google Scholar]
  16. Locke, John
    1983Phonological Acquisition and Change. New York: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Macaulay, Ronald
    1977Language, Social Class, and Education: A Glasgow Study. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. MacQuarrie, Brian
    2004 Talking Bah-k in Vermont: On secluded farm researcher strikes linguistic gold. Boston Globe. Boston, MA.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Milroy, James , Leslie Milroy & Sue Hartley
    1994 Local and supra-local change in British English: The case of glottalization. English World-Wide15. 1–33. doi: 10.1075/eww.15.1.02mil
    https://doi.org/10.1075/eww.15.1.02mil [Google Scholar]
  20. Neu, Helene
    1980 Ranking of constraints on /t,d/ deletion in American English. In William Labov (ed.), Locating Language in Time and Space. New York: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Quay, Suzanne
    2008 Social and stylistic variation in the speech of children: Some evidence from Edinburgh. First Language28. 5–33. doi: 10.1177/0142723707083557
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0142723707083557 [Google Scholar]
  22. Reid, Euan
    1978 Social and stylistic variation in the speech of children: Some evidence from Edinburgh. In P. Trudgill (ed.), Sociolinguistic Patterns in British English, 158–171.London: Edwin Arnold.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Roberts, Julie
    1996Acquisition of Variable Rules: (-t,d) Deletion and (ing) Production. IRCS Technical Papers. University of Pennsylvania, Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, Philadelphia.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. 1997 Acquisition of variable rules: A study of (-t,d) deletion. Journal of Child Language24. 351–372. doi: 10.1017/S0305000997003073
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000997003073 [Google Scholar]
  25. 1997b Hitting a moving target: Acquisition of sound change in progress by Philadelphia children. Language Variation and Change9. 249–266. doi: 10.1017/S0954394500001897
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394500001897 [Google Scholar]
  26. 2006 As old becomes new: Glottalization in Vermont. American Speech81(3). 227–249. doi: 10.1215/00031283‑2006‑016
    https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-2006-016 [Google Scholar]
  27. 2007 Vermont Lowering? Raising some questions about (ay) and (aw) south of the Canadian border. Language Variation and Change19. 181–197. doi: 10.1017/S0954394507070068
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394507070068 [Google Scholar]
  28. 2013 Child language variation. In Jack K. Chambers & Natalie Schilling-Estes (eds.), Handbook of language variation and change, 263–276. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. doi: 10.1002/9781118335598.ch12
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118335598.ch12 [Google Scholar]
  29. Roberts, Julie & William Labov
    1995 Learning to talk Philadelphian. Language Variation and Change7. 101–122. doi: 10.1017/S0954394500000910
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394500000910 [Google Scholar]
  30. Robinson, John , Helen Lawrence & Sali Tagliamonte
    2001Goldvarb 2001 A multivariate analysis application for Windows. www.york.ac.uk/depts/lang/webstuff/goldvarb.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Romaine, Suzanne
    1975Linguistic variability in the speech of some Edinburgh schoolchildren. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Sankoff, David & William Labov
    1979 On the uses of variable rules. Language in Society8. 189–222. doi: 10.1017/S0047404500007430
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404500007430 [Google Scholar]
  33. Scollon, Ronald & Suzanne Scollon
    1981Narrative, literacy, and face in interethnic communication. New York: Ablex.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Smith, Jennifer , Mercedes Durham & Liane Fortune
    2007 ‘Mam, ma troosers is fa’in doon’: Community, caregiver and child in the acquisition of variation in a Scottish dialect. Language Variation and Change19(1). 63–99. doi: 10.1017/S0954394507070044
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394507070044 [Google Scholar]
  35. 2009 Universal, dialect specific and pathways of acquisition: Caregivers, children and t/d deletion. Language Variation and Change21(1). 69–95. doi: 10.1017/S0954394509000039
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394509000039 [Google Scholar]
  36. Vermont Business Roundtable
    (January 1993) Working Paper: A critical look at Vermont's economy, past present and future. Burlington, VT.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Wells, John C
    1982Accents of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511611759
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511611759 [Google Scholar]
  38. Youssef, Valerie
    1991 Variation as a feature of language acquisition in the Trinidad context. Language Variation and Change3. 75–101. doi: 10.1017/S0954394500000454
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394500000454 [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): American English; glottalization; language acquisition; sociolinguistics; variation
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error