Abstract and Keywords
Interest in longitudinal sociolinguistic research has grown considerably over the past decade. This chapter notes that the major reason for this surge of interest is that longitudinal research has begun to answer some of the most important questions that relate language variation and language change. It examines what evidence longitudinal studies can provide about stability versus change, the relationship between language change and age grading, and whether longitudinal sociolinguistic evidence influences accepted wisdom on the relative stability of people’s grammars in adult life. Longitudinal studies are crucial in resolving these ambiguities of interpretation, and real-time data has now often been used to enrich apparent time interpretations.
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