Folk linguistics attempts through their metalinguistic statements to research the perceptions and attitudes of people about language, generally gathered in a naturalistic setting. Data was collected from 11 white, middle- and working-class participants from Eastern Massachusetts in a semi-structured focus group environment. The participants openly talked about linguistic subjects. Participants were encouraged by questions such as, “Do New Hampshire individuals speak differently?” “it provided a springboard for subjects of discussion. The results showed that the community based its debate on politicians’ discourse (to be precise, former Boston Mayor Tom Menino), linguistic status markers, unique characteristics (r- and g-dropping, broad / a/), regions (local regions of Massachusetts and Tennessee), and ethnicity (Black and Hispanic). The participants, rather than the prosecutor, presented all the subjects.
Rebecca Day Babcock
Literature and Languages, University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Odessa, TX, USA.
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