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The coming of age: how do linguists tease apart chronological, biological, and social age?

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Age is one of the key variables in the field of language variation and change (LVC). The vast majority of experimental work generally views a speaker's date of birth—chronological age—as a good reflection of both their social age, for example, which generation they identify with and how strongly and their biological age, that is, the physiological age of their body. This paper aims to provide the reader with tools to tease apart these three ways of conceptualising the variable of age. It reviews qualitative and quantitative methods from fields adjacent to LVC that will enable linguists of different theoretical interests to tap into biological and social aspects of ageing. In doing so, it provides a practical manual for linguists wishing to work from a more multifaceted understanding of one of the key variables in many linguistic subfields.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12404
JournalLanguage and Linguistics Compass
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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