Sociolingusitics Article Review

Sociolingusitics Article Review


SociolingusiticsArticle Review

GuidingQuestions for Article Reading

Beginby reading the title and scanning the article for its structure. Nextread the abstract closely and answer the following questions:

  1. What is the purpose or rationale of study (why they did it)?

Thepaper aimed at exploring the differences in rhoticity pertaining tothe reality television show called “Say Yes to the Dress”.

  1. What is the methodology (how they did it)?

Theresearchers used bridges’ budgets in place of social status so asto explore whether a modification of the consultants’ utilizationof (r) has any relationship with the level of expenditure that brideswould willingly make.

  1. What are some results (what they found)?

Ananalysis of mixed-effect logistic regression demonstratesconsiderable variations across the three budget groups

  1. What is their conclusion (what it means)?

Theresults of the study demonstrate that the perceived prestigepertaining to client has an impact on the bridal consultants to suchan extent that they are in favor of the prestige variant in instanceswhere they think that their client belongs to the wealthy or highersocial class.

Continuereading and answer the following questions while you read. You shouldalso take notes about questions that you have about the article.


  1. What is the overall purpose of the research?

Inthis research, the authors argue that consultants who work in upscalebridal salons and who are filmed in “Say Yes to the Dress” areconsiderably sensitive to social prestige variations present amongclients that they work with on the basis of the money that thecustomer would be willing to spend on the gown. They demonstrate thatthe consultants make their speech on the basis of their audience,moving to increased rhoticity/standard speech in instances where theclients would be capable of spending more money.

  1. How does the research fit into the context of its field? Is it, for example, attempting to settle a controversy? show the validity of a new technique? open up a new field of inquiry?

Thecurrent research builds on earlier studies where departmental storeshad been used but uses a higher number of tokens of rhoticity (r).This is aimed at causing a discussion of the manner in which realityTV may be used in addressing sociolinguistic questions.

  1. What are the specific research questions?

Thepaper is driven by the research question on whether the bride’sbudget has any correlation with the bridal consultants’ utilizationof rhoticity.


  1. What methods did the researchers use in the study to try to answer their questions? Were the measurements appropriate for the questions the researcher was approaching?

Theauthors analyzed Seasons 1-5 of the show with a combined total of 78episodes each of which is 20 minutes long. Five consultants that wereincorporated in the show were presented in the analysis. Theconsultants had worked at Kleinfeld for 8-15 years in the course ofrecording the show. The researchers analyzed interactions with acombined total of 126 brides

  1. Often, researchers need to use &quotindicators&quot because they cannot measure something directly–for example, using babies` birthweight to indicate nutritional status. Were the measures in this research clearly related to the variables in which the researchers (or you) were interested?

Theresearchers primarily used rhoticity as an indicator of the stratawithin which the brides belonged. Nevertheless, the fact that thesalon is pretty much popular and is known to host a TV show should bean indicator of the position of potential clients who frequent it.


  1. What are the major findings?

Theperceived prestige pertaining to clients exerts an impact on thebridal consultants to the extent that they act favorably to theprestige variant in instances where they perceive their client asbeing wealthy, thereby underlining the benefits pertaining toaudience design approach to intraspeaker variation. Indeed, theconsultants would use more non-rhoticity in instances where thereexisted an individual in the group who demonstrated variability inrhoticity.

  1. Were there problems that were not addressed?

Yes,I think problems such as the limited racial representation and thelimited types of salons affected the results and should be addressedas they introduced some bias.


  1. Do you agree with the conclusions drawn from the data?

Ilargely agree with the conclusions that have been devised from thedata obtained in the study. This is particularly considering the factthat the consultants or the firms for which they work are primarilydriven by financial incentives, in which case it would make sensethat the manner in which they speak would be determined by theapparent wealth of the clients.

  1. Are these conclusions over-generalized or appropriately careful?

Theconclusions made in the article are appropriately careful. However,it is imperative that they do not generalize with regard to theinfluence that the affluence of an individual has on the speakingpatterns of consultants rather they should also consider otheraspects such as the race of the brides. Further, the results could begeneralized in that only a single salon was examined, which meansthat it attracts a particular clique of clients primarily from thehigher end of the society.

  1. Are there other factors that could have influenced, or accounted for, the results?

Theresults are primarily caused by the affluence of the brides underobservation. However, the impact of other factors such as the racialhomogeneity should not be ignored as they could also affect theresults. The location of the salon meant that only New Yorkersfrequented the salon, while the fact that it hosts a radio stationmeant that the clients could be from the high end of the financialstrata.

  1. What further experiments would you think of, to continue the research or to answer remaining questions?

Theparameters of this experiment should remain but the number of bridesfrom other races should be included. Further, it would be imperativethat the researchers include younger consultants, as well as a widervariety of salons so as to eliminate bias.

  1. Summarize the findings of this article in 2-5 sentences.

Theresearchers found that the perceived prestige of clients affects themanner in which the bridal consultants speak or treat the clients. Ininstances where they perceive the bride as being wealthy or affluent,they tend to act and speak more favorably or with more rhotic than incases where the clients are well off.

SectionB: Questions

  1. Given that there is no indication of the social, educational, economic or even linguistic backgrounds pertaining to the consultants, is it possible that some social factors had an impact on their speech? What factors are these? Does the knowledge of the social factors have a bearing on the resultant data and findings of the study?

  2. Would the use of observable social media be a valid and accurate way for evaluating audience design and getting rid of bias? Would the increased varieties of the audience and participants present different results?

  3. Apart from the budget that the brides have, it is possible that other elements or characteristics such as their mannerisms and body language affect the consultants’ rhoticity? Do mannerisms and body language of brides have a higher impact on the consultants’ rhoticity than the perceived budget or wealth? What would account for these differences in the impacts of these?

  1. Describe the variation of rhoticity in NYCE. Is /r/ always variable? If not, in what contexts do we always find /r/? It what contexts is it variable? Are all variable contexts ‘equal’? In other words, are there some contexts where you’re more/less likely to find /r/?

Giventhat it was established that variable (r) was extraordinarilysensitive to any form of stylistic and social stratification, thevariability between non-rhoticity and rhoticity correlates with thestore’s or entity’s social standing given that individualsderived prestige from the entities in which they worked. Rhoticity isnot always variable rather it is primarily found in entities that areprestigious and where the clients are from the upper class. Labov’sstudy demonstrated clear stratification of rhoticity across threestores, which demonstrated that the salespeople’s speech in thelocations was a reflection of the store’s and customers’prestige.

b.Provide at least two reasons why having an understanding oftheoretical/formal linguistics is/was critical in the design/analysisof this article. How might the results have been mis-analyzed ormisinterpreted if the scholar hadn’t had an understanding ofphonology?

Havingproper comprehension of the formal linguistics allows an individualto know exactly what features he or she should be looking for and,especially, the variables that would be most appropriate in thedesign of the study if one aims at examining a particular phenomenon.This would also allow for proper examination of the variations inparticular variables and determine the main reasons for such changes.The causes of changes in (r) could have been misunderstood if thescholars did not have proper knowledge of phonology.


Eberhardt,M &amp Downs, C (2015). “(r) You Saying Yes to the Dress?”:Rhoticity on a Bridal Reality Television Show. Journalof English Linguistics2015, Vol. 43(2) 118–142