Dialect contact and linguistic accommodation


Dialect contact and language contact are considered as some of the main factors in language change. It has been argued that short-term accommodation can turn into long-term accommodation if the contact takes place frequently enough, and if the speaker's attitudes are favourable (Trudgill 1986). Although there is a growing body of research on accommodation and phonetic imitation, there are only few studies that focus on accommodation between dialects in spontaneous speech.

The aim of this project is to investigate phonetic accommodation in dialect contact situations. We test the role of linguistic (e.g. perceptual salience of features) and social factors (e.g. person perception, place attachment) in phonetic accommodation by analysing dialogues between speakers of Grison and Zurich German; dialects that differ in both segmental (e.g. vowel quality) and suprasegmental features (e.g. speech rate, prosody). Longer-term aim of this project is to compare short-term and long-term accommodation within the same speaker in order to gain knowledge on the relationship between short-term and long term-accommodation.

Project leadership

Hanna Ruch

In collaboration with

Tamara Rakic, Lancaster University; Srdjan Dragojevic (research assistant)


URPP Language and Space