Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Reader 1

Franny Brogan

Reader 2

Ronalee Brosterman


The field of sociolinguistics has long been interested in how speech differs across groups. These studies have been focused on how demographic factors like class, race, and geographical region alter speech patterns. However, more recently, the agency of individuals to use language as a tool to construct a certain identity or persona has been highlighted (e.g., Podesva 2007; Eckert 1989; Eckert 2008). These studies are limited due to the nature of their methods, relying on either one individual with a limited scope of characteristics or on a larger group of people with many different variables at play other than identity. The present study aims to address these limitations by centering on a set of unique participants that allow for a more controlled study and larger scope of interest. Specifically, this paper examines identity’s role in the sociolinguistic variation of pitch, speech quality, speech rate, and distinct accent markers within one individual with multiple identities (a person with Dissociative Identity Disorder). Despite the clear linguistic differences that have been noted by many studying Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), there have not been any studies that focus on the phonetic or phonological variables that differ in a single system. Through an examination of these variables, we propose that various elements of personal identity (including gender, age, and sexuality), as well as the alter’s function within the system, are what drive the linguistic decisions they make.