Language Variation Suite: A theoretical and methodological contribution for linguistic data analysis

Olga Scrivner, Manuel Díaz-Campos


In recent years there has been growing interest in quantitative methods for analyzing linguistic data.  Advanced multifactorial statistical analyses, such as inferential trees and mixed-effects logistic regression models, have become more accessible for linguistic research as a result of the availability of an open source programming environment provided by the statistical software R. In the present paper, we introduce a novel toolkit, Language Variation Suite, a software program that offers a friendly environment for conducting quantitative analyses. We demonstrate how theory built on traditional monofactorial analysis can be extended to macro and micro multifactorial approaches allowing for a deeper understanding of language variation. The focus of the analysis is based on intervocalic /d/ deletion in Spanish from the Diachronic Study of the Speech of Caracas 1987 and 2004-2010. In contrast to traditional methodological approaches we have treated intervocalic /d/ as a continuous dependent variable according to the intensity ratio measurements obtained. Furthermore, we have integrated various syntactic, phonetic and sociolinguistic factors. Non-parametric and fixed-effects regression models revealed that overall age (younger speakers), sex (male speakers), phonetic context (low vowels), token frequency and morphosyntactic category (past participles) have a significant effect on the lenition of intervocalic /d/. In contrast, the mixed-effects model selected only phonetic context, frequency and category, showing that individual speaker variation is higher than group variation.


variation; statistics; Spanish; phonetics

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2016 Olga Scrivner, Manuel Díaz-Campos

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Donate to the Open-Access Fund of the LSA

Linguistic Society of America

Advancing the Scientific Study of Language

ISSN (online): 2473-8689

This publication is made available for free to readers and with no charge to authors thanks in part to your continuing LSA membership and your donations to the open access fund.