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Real and apparent time: evidence from language change across the lifespan

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In the 40 years since Weinreich, Labov & Herzog (1968), studies combining diachronic evidence with the synchronic analysis of contemporary speech communities attest to the well-foundedness of the concept of apparent time, on which real-time interpretation rests. However, we have not had access to the kind of data that would allow us to factor in the change that may occur for speakers across their lifespans. The current paper uses data from a longitudinal study of Montreal French, including the re-recording of the same speakers in 1971, 1984 and 1995, to propose several models of the possible relationships between language change in the community and language change across individual lifespans.

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