Polina V. Kashkarova

University of Münster, Germany

The article presents a quantitative study of socially conditioned variation and change of Russian in the city of Cheboksary (Chuvash Republic of Russia). Speech samples were collected from a socially homogeneous group of 16 Chuvash-Russian bilingual speakers by means of sociolinguistic interviews. Analysis of four vowel variables identified the patterns of their variation according to the speakers’ age, gender and two speech styles. Multiple logistic regression analyses were then conducted to assess the results statistically. The results revealed an age differentiation pattern, suggesting a sound change in progress and a levelling of the regional features towards standard Russian. These findings have been linked to a reduced use of Chuvash by the younger generation, and the prestige of Russian in the Chuvash Republic. Furthermore, an unusual pattern of style variation was uncovered: some of the regional forms were used more frequently in a more monitored reading mode of speech. It is suggested that this effect is due to the impact of the orthographic form.

Keywords: language variation, sound change, regional variety of Russian, Russian in the Chuvash Republic, dialect levelling

For citation: Kashkarova, P.V. Phonetic variation and change of Russian in the city of Cheboksary [online] // Sociolinguistics. 2021. No. 4 (8). Pp. 86–100. (In Eng.) DOI: 10.37892/2713–2951–4–8–86–100