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The Ohio State University

1. Lin, Yuhan. Stylistic Variation and Social Perception in Second Dialect Acquisition.

Degree: PhD, Linguistics, 2018, The Ohio State University

This dissertation examines how mobile speakers’ language use and social perception of language interact with their place-based identities. Specifically, I examine audience-based and topic-based style shift in speech production, as well as the social perception of second dialect (D2) use. This work focuses on Mandarin speakers from Xiamen, a city in Southern China, who moved to Beijing for college education. It investigates three linguistic features that differentiated Northern and Xiamen Mandarin: the /s/-/¿/ contrast, neutral tone, and /w/->[¿].The effect of audience regional background (Northern vs. Xiamen) was examined by the means of a friend-with-friend conversation task, followed by wordlist reading. Effects of audience regional background (Northern vs. Xiamen) and speaker’s Beijing orientation were found for /¿/ and neutral tone: the mobile speakers used more Northern Mandarin variants when talking to their Northern friend, and those who were more oriented towards Beijing also had more Northern Mandarin-like production. Additionally, an interaction of audience and Beijing orientation was found for /¿/, such that speakers who were less oriented to Beijing were more likely to use Xiamen Mandarin with a Xiamen friend than those that had more positive Beijing orientation.The effect of place-based topic was examined through speakers’ production of two read- ing passages, which were Xiamen-themed and Beijing-themed, respectively. No significant effect of topic was observed for /s/-/¿/ and neutral tone, and there was a significant effect for /w/->[¿] in the unexpected direction.The social perception study adopted a between-speaker matched-guise technique to investigate how mobile Xiamen speakers perceived the acquisition of Northern Mandarin. The effects for the three linguistic features were examined separately. The results showed that when D2 Northern Mandarin features were incorporated into the speech of Xiamen Mandarin speakers, they were perceived as more likely to build a connection to the Northern community and more talkative and energetic compared to when they used the D1 variants. For /w/->[¿], the use of Northern Mandarin guise was perceived as less likable. An inter- action was found between the listeners’ intention to return to Xiamen and guise: those who were less likely to return to Xiamen were more likely to rate the D2 Northern Mandarin guise as more Beijing-oriented.This dissertation is one of the first few large-scale studies that have shown audience- based style shift for second dialect users. This finding calls for closer examination of how researchers’ own linguistic background affects D2 learners’ production. In addition, this work has also found effects of attitude (i.e Beijing orientation) on D2 use (for /¿/ and neutral tone) and style-shift (for /¿/). Comparing how the attitude effect differs across the linguistic variables, I concluded that factors like explicit knowledge, prestige and the overall extent of D2 use can play a role for this effect.The comparison between the results of the… Advisors/Committee Members: Campbell-Kibler, Kathryn (Advisor).

Subjects/Keywords: Linguistics; linguistics, sociolinguistics, Mandarin, audience design, social perception, second dialect acquisition

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APA (6th Edition):

Lin, Y. (2018). Stylistic Variation and Social Perception in Second Dialect Acquisition. (Doctoral Dissertation). The Ohio State University. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Lin, Yuhan. “Stylistic Variation and Social Perception in Second Dialect Acquisition.” 2018. Doctoral Dissertation, The Ohio State University. Accessed December 18, 2018.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Lin, Yuhan. “Stylistic Variation and Social Perception in Second Dialect Acquisition.” 2018. Web. 18 Dec 2018.


Lin Y. Stylistic Variation and Social Perception in Second Dialect Acquisition. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. The Ohio State University; 2018. [cited 2018 Dec 18]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Lin Y. Stylistic Variation and Social Perception in Second Dialect Acquisition. [Doctoral Dissertation]. The Ohio State University; 2018. Available from: