Skip to main content Accessibility help

The dynamic interaction between lexical and contextual frequency: A case study of (ING)

  • Jon Forrest (a1)

To identify how contextual usage frequency and lexical frequency interact when controlling for traditional linguistic constraints, this study analyzes the effect of frequency on (ING), taking into account a word's frequent context of occurrence. The data consist of 13,167 tokens of (ING) from interviews with 132 speakers conducted in Raleigh, North Carolina. Results from mixed-effect logistic regression show a strong effect of frequency on the realization of (ING), and this effect interacts with phonological context of occurrence. Frequent occurrence in environments that favor -in amplify the effect of lexical frequency; conversely, frequent occurrence in environments that favor –ing dampen the effect of overall frequency. Frequency also interacts with year of birth, showing an entrenchment of high-frequency words, lagging behind the community change toward the –ing variant in apparent time. Overall, these findings support the usage-based position of frequency effects as the result of a dynamic interplay between context of use and cognitive systems.

Hide All
Abramowicz, Łukasz. (2007). Sociolinguistics meets exemplar theory: Frequency and recency effects in (ing). University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 13:2737.
Anshen, Frank, & Aronoff, Mark. (1988). Producing morphologically complex words. Linguistics 26:641656.
Baayen, R. Harald, Piepenbrock, Richard, & Gulikers, Leon. (1996). Celex2. Philadelphia: Linguistic Data Consortium. CD-ROM.
Baker, Adam, Archangeli, Diana, & Mielke, Jeff. (2011). Variability in American English s-retraction suggests a solution to the actuation problem. Language Variation and Change 23:347374.
Bates, Douglas, Maechler, Martin, Bolker, Ben, & Walker, Steven. (2017). Package ‘lme4’. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.
Blevins, James P. (2006). Word-based morphology. Journal of Linguistics 42:531573.
Brown, Esther L., & Raymond, William D. (2012). How discourse context shapes the lexicon: Explaining the distribution of Spanish f-/h words. Diachronica 29:139161.
Brysbaert, Marc &, New, Boris. (2009) Moving beyond Kucera and Francis: A critical evaluation of current word frequency norms and the introduction of a new and improved word frequency measure for American English. Behavior Research Methods 41:977990.
Burgess, Curt, & Livesay, Kay. (1998). The effect of corpus size in predicting reaction time in a basic word recognition task: Moving on from Kučera and Francis. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers 30:272277.
Burnham, Kenneth P., & Anderson, David R. (2004). Multimodel inference understanding AIC and BIC in model selection. Sociological Methods and Research 33:261304.
Bybee, Joan. (1985). Morphology: A study of the relation between meaning and form. Vol. 9. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.
Bybee, Joan. (1999). Usage-based phonology. Functionalism and Formalism in Linguistics 1:211242.
Bybee, Joan. (2002). Word frequency and context of use in the lexical diffusion of phonetically conditioned sound change. Language Variation and Change 14:261290.
Bybee, Joan. (2006). From usage to grammar: The mind's response to repetition. Language 82:711733.
Bybee, Joan. (2010). Language, usage and cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Clark, Lynn, & Watson, Kevin. (2011). Testing claims of a usage-based phonology with Liverpool English t-to-r. English Language and Linguistics 15:523547.
Cofer, Thomas. (1972). Linguistic variability in a Philadelphia community . Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.
Diessel, Holger. (2007). Frequency effects in language acquisition, language use, and diachronic change. New Ideas in Psychology 25:108127.
Dinkin, Aaron J. (2008). The real effect of word frequency on phonetic variation. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 14:97106.
Dodsworth, Robin. (2013). Retreat from the Southern Vowel Shift in Raleigh, NC: Social factors. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 19:3140.
Dodsworth, Robin, & Kohn, Mary. (2012). Urban rejection of the vernacular: The SVS undone. Language Variation and Change 24:221245.
Erker, Daniel, & Guy, Gregory R. (2012). The role of lexical frequency in syntactic variability: Variable subject personal pronoun expression in Spanish. Language 88:526557.
Fischer, John L. (1958). Social influences on the choice of a linguistic variant. Word-Journal of the International Linguistic Association 14:4756.
Forrest, Jon. (2015). Community rules and speaker behavior: Individual adherence to group constraints on (ING). Language Variation and Change 27:377406.
Francis, W. Nelson, & Kucera, Henry. (1982). Frequency analysis of English usage: Lexicon and grammar. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Gahl, Susanne. (2008). Time and thyme are not homophones: The effect of lemma frequency on word durations in spontaneous speech. Language 84:474496.
Guy, Gregory R. (1991a). Explanation in variable phonology: An exponential model of morphological constraints. Language Variation and Change 3:122.
Guy, Gregory R. (1991b). Contextual conditioning in variable lexical phonology. Language Variation and Change 3:223239.
Guy, Gregory R. (2007). Lexical exceptions in variable phonology. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 13:109119.
Guy, Gregory R., Hay, Jen, & Walker, Abby. (2008). Phonological, lexical, and frequency factors in coronal stop deletion in early New Zealand English. Paper presented at Laboratory Phonology 11, Wellington, New Zealand, June 30–July 2.
Hay, Jennifer B., & Baayen, R. Harald. (2005). Shifting paradigms: Gradient structure in morphology. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9:342348.
Hay, Jennifer, & Drager, Katie. (2010). Stuffed toys and speech perception. Linguistics 48:865892.
Hay, Jennifer, & Foulkes, Paul. (2016). The evolution of medial/t/over real and remembered time. Language 29:298330.
Hay, Jennifer, Nolan, Aaron, & Drager, Katie. (2006). From fush to feesh: Exemplar priming in speech perception. Linguistic Review 23:351379.
Hay, Jennifer B., Pierrehumbert, Janet B., Walker, Abby J., & LaShell, Patrick. (2015). Tracking word frequency effects through 130 years of sound change. Cognition 139:8391.
Hay, Jennifer, Warren, Paul, & Drager, Katie. (2006). Factors influencing speech perception in the context of a merger-in-progress. Journal of Phonetics 34:458484.
Hazen, Kirk. (2008). (ING): A vernacular baseline for English in Appalachia. American Speech 83:116140.
Hazen, Kirk. (2011). Flying high above the social radar: Coronal stop deletion in modern Appalachia. Language Variation and Change 23:105137.
Houston, Ann. (1985). Continuity and change in English morphology: The variable (ING) . Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.
Johnson, Keith. (1997). Speech perception without speaker normalization: An exemplar model. In Johnson, K. and Mullennix, J. (eds.), Talker Variability in Speech Processing. San Diego: Academic Press. 145165.
Kendall, Tyler. (2013). Speech rate, pause and sociolinguistic variation: Studies in corpus sociophonetics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Koops, Christian, Gentry, Elizabeth, & Pantos, Andrew. (2008). The effect of perceived speaker age on the perception of PIN and PEN vowels in Houston, Texas. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 14:93101.
Labov, William. (1966). The social stratification of English in New York City. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Labov, William. (1972). Sociolinguistic patterns. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Labov, William. (2001). Principles of linguistic change . Vol. 2. Social factors. Oxford: Blackwell.
Labov, William. (2010). Principles of linguistic change . Vol. 3. Cognitive and cultural factors. John Wiley & Sons.
Labov, William, Ash, Sharon, & Boberg, Charles. (2006). The atlas of North American English: Phonetics, phonology, and sound change: A multimedia reference tool. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Lieberman, Erez, Michel, Jean-Baptiste, Jackson, Joe, Tang, Tina, & Nowak, Martin A. (2007). Quantifying the evolutionary dynamics of language. Nature 449:713716.
Phillips, Betty S. (1984). Word frequency and the actuation of sound change. Language 60:320342.
Pierrehumbert, Janet B. (2001). Lenition and contrast. In Bybee, J. and Hopper, P. (eds.), Frequency and the Emergence of Linguistic Structure. Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 137157.
Pierrehumbert, Janet B. (2002). Word-specific phonetics. Laboratory Phonology 7:101139.
Pierrehumbert, Janet B. (2006). The next toolkit. Journal of Phonetics 34:516530.
Pierrehumbert, Janet B. (2016). Phonological representation: Beyond abstract versus episodic. Annual Review of Linguistics 2:3352.
Poplack, Shana, & Tagliamonte, Sali. (2000). The grammaticization of going to in (African American) English. Language Variation and Change 11:315342.
Prince, Alan, & Smolensky, Paul. (2008). Optimality theory: Constraint interaction in generative grammar. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
R Core Team. (2017). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Available at: Accessed July 10, 2015.
Rácz, Peter, Pierrehumbert, Janet B., Hay, Jennifer B., & Papp, Viktoria. (2015). Morphological emergence. In MacWhinney, B. and O'Grady, W. (eds.), The Handbook of Language Emergence. Malden: Wiley Blackwell. 123146.
Raymond, William D., & Brown, Esther L. (2012). Are effects of word frequency effects of context of use? An analysis of initial fricative reduction in Spanish. Frequency Effects in Language Learning and Processing 1:3552.
Raymond, William D., Brown, Esther L., & Healy, Alice F. (2016). Cumulative context effects and variant lexical representations: Word use and English final t/d deletion. Language Variation and Change 28:175202.
Reid, Euan. (1978). Social and stylistic variation in the speech of children: Some evidence from Edinburgh. In Coupland, N. (ed.), Sociolinguistic Patterns in British English. London: Edward Arnold. 158171.
Seyfarth, Scott. (2014). Word informativity influences acoustic duration: Effects of contextual predictability on lexical representation. Cognition 133:140155.
Shuy, Roger W., Wolfram, Walter A., & Riley, William K.. (1968). Linguistic correlates of social stratification in Detroit speech. Final report, Cooperative Research Project Number 6-1347. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, Office of Education, Bureau of Research.
Tagliamonte, Sali. (2004). Someth [in]’s go [ing] on!: Variable ing at ground zero. Language Variation in Europe: Papers from ICLAVE 2:390403.
Tagliamonte, Sali, & Temple, Rosalind. (2005). New perspectives on an ol' variable:(t, d) in British English. Language Variation and Change 17:281302.
Tamminga, Meredith J. (2014). Persistence in the production of linguistic variation. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.
Tamminga, Meredith. (2016). Persistence in phonological and morphological variation. Language Variation and Change 28:335356.
Thomas, Erik. (2010). Sociophonetics: An introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Torres Cacoullos, Rena, & Walker, James A. (2009). The present of the English future: Grammatical variation and collocations in discourse. Language 85:321354.
Trudgill, Peter. (1974). The social differentiation of English in Norwich. Vol. 13. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Archive.
Wagner, Suzanne Evans. (2012). Real-time evidence for age grad(ing) in late adolescence. Language Variation and Change 24:179202.
Wald, Benji, & Shopen, Timothy. (1985). A researcher's guide to the sociolinguistic variable (ING). In Clark, P. E. V., & Rosa, A. (eds.), Language: Introductory readings. New York: St. Martin's Press. 219249.
Walker, James A. (2012). Form, function, and frequency in phonological variation. Language Variation and Change 24:397415.
Wolfram, Walt, Christian, Donna, & Center for Applied Linguistics. (1976). Appalachian speech. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Yuan, Jiahong, & Liberman, Mark. (2011). Automatic detection of “g-dropping” in American English using forced alignment. In Proceedings of 2011 IEEE Workshop on Automatic Speech Recognition and Understanding (ASRU). New York: IEEE. 490493.
Zevin, Jason D., & Seidenberg, Mark S. (2002). Age of acquisition effects in word reading and other tasks. Journal of Memory and language 47:129.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Language Variation and Change
  • ISSN: 0954-3945
  • EISSN: 1469-8021
  • URL: /core/journals/language-variation-and-change
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed