This article explores the relationship between salience, stereotypes, and cooccurring language variables in the social perception of language. Following previous work, we argue that sociolinguistic perception is dependent upon the ability of listeners to map the linguistic cues contained in a speech signal to stereotypes. However, we contend that the understanding of which language features contribute to those stereotypes, and how they do so in the specific context of talk, has been limited because of the tendency to focus on preselected variables and to control for the context in which they occur. We advance an account of the role of stereotypes in the social perception of language by using a new tool for capturing, visualizing, and querying listeners' real-time reactions to voice samples. Our survey instrument collects reactions to two topically distinct guises from the same speaker (taken from the Scilly Voices corpus), both of which contained a similar number of regionally distinctive accent features. As our survey instrument includes a review function enabling listeners to provide information on why certain features were notable to them, we are able to interrogate listeners' ability to respond to unspecified linguistic features. Ultimately, this enables us to build a more nuanced account of the interaction between a range of linguistic features and their relationship to message content, and allows us to demonstrate that both do evaluative and perceptual work.

Our findings have important implications for those interested in understanding the situated meaning of linguistic features and, in particular, how researchers might continue to develop exemplar models of the ways in which social information is indexed to linguistic features. We argue that no experiment can be context-free and, as a result, researchers must consider ways of modeling the effects of co-present variants on a given exemplar, not just the social indices of specific exemplars themselves.*