Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines the fields of phonology and sociolinguistics, focusing on examples that bring their domains closer. It reviews instances where data organized by variationists have served to further develop Lexical Phonology, Optimality Theory, and Exemplar Theory (ET). This transition requires reexamining certain fundamental assumptions of traditional models of generative phonology. The discussion considers ways in which these developments have influenced sociolinguistic research design and interpretation, particularly regarding which gradient aspects are relevant to social perception and categorization. It also provides the groundwork for a unified linguistic model to be developed by collaboration across sociolinguistics, phonology, and other fields.
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