chapter  5
20 Pages

Variation in Sound Systems

In the previous chapters, we laid the groundwork for topics that will be explored in the rest of the book. We defined the concept of variation in language and introduced the methodological constructs of the variable and the variable context. We also outlined the methodological and statistical procedures involved in the analysis of variation and multivariate analysis using GoldVarb. In this chapter and the next, we examine variation at different levels of the linguistic system, making a broad division between variation at the level of sound systems (i.e. phonetic and phonological variation) and variation at the level of grammatical systems (here including morphological, syntactic and discourse variation). As we will see, this division is a bit artificial, since some variables cut across sound systems and grammatical systems. However, the variables in each of these two areas are concerned with slightly different research questions and methods.