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Showing papers in "American Speech in 2020"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the Rootedness Metric is used to measure place-attachment in a speaker's language to understand how attachment to place impacts the phonetic variation in Appalachia.
Abstract: The relationship of a speaker’s language to their sense of place has been a focus of much of the sociolinguistic literature and dialect studies. However, the use of differing methodologies and measures makes comparison and contrast of the importance of place across different communities and social contexts problematic and drawing overarching conclusions challenging. To resolve this, the current article presents a way to quantitatively measure place-attachment using a Rootedness Metric that is both adaptable and comparable, permitting more nuanced understandings of place and language. Through three case studies, the author presents evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of the Rootedness Metric to better understand how attachment to place impacts the phonetic variation in Appalachia. Inclusion of rootedness helps to explain why demographically similar speakers have divergent production, while the production of dissimilar speakers patterns alike.

10 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examined nominal case marking in Wisconsin Heritage German, based on audio recordings of six speakers made in the late 1940s, and concluded that speakers were proficient in both their heritage variety of German, acquired through naturalistic means, as well as in Standard German acquired through institutional support in educational and religious domains.
Abstract: The present work examines nominal case marking in Wisconsin Heritage German, based on audio recordings of six speakers made in the late 1940s. Linguistic data provide positive evidence for a four-case nominal system characteristic of Standard German. At the same time, biographical and demographic information show that the heritage varieties acquired and spoken in the home often employed a different nominal system, one that often exhibited dative-accusative case syncretism and lacked genitive case—features that surfaced even when Standard German was spoken. These data strongly suggest that speakers were proficient in both their heritage variety of German, acquired through naturalistic means, as well as in Standard German, acquired through institutional support in educational and religious domains. Over time, these formal German-language domains shifted to externally oriented, English-language institutions. Standard German was no longer supported, while the heritage variety was retained in domestic and social domains. Subsequent case syncretism in Wisconsin Heritage German therefore reflects the retention of preimmigration, nonstandard varieties, rather than a morphological change in a unified heritage grammar. This work concludes by proposing a multistage model of domain-specific language shift, informed by both synchronic variation within the community as well as by social factors affecting language shift over time.

7 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article examined prosodic rhythm and vowel quality in second-generation Miami-born Latinx speakers of various national origin backgrounds, and found that the prosodic rhythms were significantly more syllable-timed in casual speech than those of white speakers.
Abstract: The situation of sustained contact between Spanish and English in Miami during the past half century provides a rare opportunity to study contact-induced language change in an ecological context in which speakers of the immigrant language (i.e., Spanish) have become the numerical majority. The study reported here is designed to track the phonetic and prosodic influences of Spanish on the variety of English emerging among second-generation Miami-born Latinx speakers of various national origin backgrounds by examining a suite of variables shown in prior studies to exhibit Spanish substrate influence in other regional contexts. We examine two kinds of phonetic variables in the English spoken by 20 second-generation Latinx and 5 Anglo white speakers: (1) prosodic rhythm and (2) vowel quality. Prosodic rhythm was quantified using Low and Grabe’s Pairwise Variability Index (nPVI); results show that Miami-born Latinx speakers are significantly more syllable-timed in casual speech than Miami-born Anglo white speakers. Significant vocalic differences were also observed, with Latinx speakers producing lower and more backed tokens of [æ] in prenasal and nonprenasal positions and more backed tokens of [u].

7 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper found that while the feature occurs in both cities, its social distribution is not identical and different age and gender distributions and varying metalinguistic commentary raise questions about the trajectory of change in each city.
Abstract: Prior research documents /æ/ raising and tensing when followed by /g/ in words like bag in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in Seattle. The present study compares /æg/ raising among speakers from Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia, and explores the social motivations for its use. The findings show that while the feature occurs in both cities, its social distribution is not identical. Different age and gender distributions and varying metalinguistic commentary raise questions about the trajectory of change in each city. Nonetheless, speakers’ realizations of raised bag are associated with similar sociocultural backgrounds and ideologies. In Seattle, bag raisers have multigenerational ties to the area, take strong ideological stances against changes in the area’s industries and economy, and oppose “gentrification.” Nonraisers have more international ties, show stronger interest in moving elsewhere, and embrace Seattle’s new industries. In Vancouver, BAG raisers describe growing up as Caucasian Canadians in majority Asian neighborhoods and emphasize the changing demographics and increased cost of living. In both cities, bag raisers are ideologically opposed to perceived encroachment and take conservative stances toward changes in their city. This highlights that the West and Canada participate in some of the same sound changes and show similar, locally contextualized motivations for their use.

6 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors conducted an acoustic analysis of word list data from 27 participants in Fort Wayne, Indiana and reported four major/aI/production patterns in the Fort Wayne data, which range on a continuum from no /aI/- raising to phonological raising of /a I/(i.e., raising before t-flaps, a pattern of Canadian raising referred to as Dialect A).
Abstract: This article addresses incipient/aI/-raising in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Acoustic analysis of word list data from 27 participants targets both typical items (e.g., write, writing) and monomorphemic trochaic words often overlooked in previous research (e.g., Nike, bison, cyber, tiger). It reports four major/aI/production patterns in the Fort Wayne data, which range on a continuum from no/aI/-raising to phonological raising of/aI/(i.e., raising before t-flaps, a pattern of Canadian raising referred to as Dialect A). In the middle of the continuum is found the elusive Dialect B, a pattern of Canadian raising first documented by Martin Joos in 1942 in which raising occurs in write but not before t-flaps. The authors find that speakers of this type of raising tend not to raise in any trochaic words. In fact, raising in monomorphemic trochaic words, such as Nike or bison, is exceedingly rare in the Fort Wayne data. In tandem with the variation observed within Fort Wayne, the fact that raising has not yet extended into monomorphemic trochaic words further suggests that raising is incipient in this variety. The authors propose that Dialect B is not a separate dialect at all but an incipient variety of Dialect A.

5 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper investigated the place of intonation in the American Jewish English repertoire, a collection of features that speakers can use to index Jewish identity, and found that more macro-rhythmic contours (with regular alternations of high and low pitch) are heard as more Jewish.
Abstract: This article investigates intonation’s place in what Sarah Bunin Benor calls the American Jewish English repertoire, a collection of features that speakers can use to index Jewish identity. Results from a perceptual experiment show variation in which intonational contours listeners associate with Jewishness. Jewish listeners, particularly those with connections with Yiddish speakers, pick out a phonetically distinct rise-fall as indicating Jewishness; however, non-Jewish listeners hear a different set of contours—a less phonetically distinct rise-fall and a rise—as sounding Jewish. The author proposes that there is a unifying feature being perceived as “Jewish”: specifically, more macro-rhythmic contours (with regular alternations of high and low pitch) are heard as more Jewish. For Jewish speakers, only the contour with the greatest degree of macro-rhythm (the rise-fall with higher peaks) is heard as Jewish; for non-Jewish speakers, a lower degree of macro-rhythm suffices. Intonation thus behaves much like other parts of the sound system in that the social meaning of a particular linguistic feature is highly dependent on an individual’s linguistic and social history.

4 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Michael J. Fox1
TL;DR: This article used acoustic vowel measurements from 132 speakers in three geographically contiguous cities located in northwestern Wisconsin and found that similar socio-geographic contexts lead to linguistic similarity, dissimilarity in social ecology leads to greater linguistic dissimilarities as the difference between a dyads’ years of birth increases.
Abstract: The social mechanisms that influence the direction of language change operate along the demarcations of networks of communication (Bloomfield 1933; Milroy and Milroy 1985). Within geographic regions, the focused organizations that individuals participate in structure the lines of communication (Feld 1981) and the socio-demographic composition (social ecology) therein limits the options of peers to associate with (McPherson, Smith-Lovin, and Cook 2001). Schools have their own social ecology (McFarland et al. 2014) and attendance at schools can explain language change at a level above social interaction but below the level of community (Dodsworth and Benton 2017, 2019). This study uses acoustic vowel measurements from 132 speakers in three geographically contiguous cities located in northwestern Wisconsin. Modeling results indicate (1) similar socio-geographic contexts lead to linguistic similarity; (2) dissimilarity in social ecology leads to greater linguistic dissimilarity as the difference between a dyads’ years of birth increases; (3) net of local socio-geographic context and social ecology, similarity in sex and age leads to linguistic similarity and vice versa. These patterns indicate that local social ecologies further demarcate the lines of communication thereby structuring the form of language at a level between the micro interactional and the macro level of the speech community.

3 citations



Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper examined the perspectives of one central Wisconsin community regarding internal language differentiation within the state and found that an urban-rural divide is at play for perception of the first two mentioned areas, whereas perceptioin of the latter identified area reflects the belief in a regionally located standard variety.
Abstract: This article investigates whether residents of central Wisconsin perceive language variation within their state and, if they do, what it looks like according to them. To achieve these aims, this study examines the perspectives of one central Wisconsin community regarding internal language differentiation within the state. It follows the perceptual dialectology paradigm, based on work by Dennis Preston, in that it studies how nonlinguists view language variation within Wisconsin. Respondents completed Preston’s draw-a-map task, which additionally asked them to label each indicated area. The drawn boundaries were digitalized using ArcGIS to create composite maps to allow for systematic comparison. The labels provided by the respondents were analyzed to see how this group of Wisconsin residents views the speech of each identified region and thus to see whether there are distinctly enregistered dialects within Wisconsin for these respondents. Findings show three distinctly perceived areas within the state: the Milwaukee area, the north of the state, and the participants’ own area, central Wisconsin. The analysis of the labels indicates that an urban-rural divide is at play for perception of the first two mentioned areas, whereas perceptioin of the latter identified area reflects the belief in a regionally located standard variety.

2 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper investigated the nature of this dialect boundary via new sociolinguistic interview data from eight neighboring communities: four along the St. Lawrence River and four 25 miles south of it.
Abstract: In 2013, Dinkin reported an unexpectedly sharp dialect boundary in northern New York between the communities of Ogdensburg and Canton in St. Lawrence County: Ogdensburg exhibited the Northern Cities Vowel Shift (NCS) and very little evidence of the low back merger, while Canton showed low back merger nearing completion and no NCS. This article investigates the nature of this dialect boundary via new sociolinguistic interview data from eight neighboring communities: four along the St. Lawrence River and four 25 miles south of it. An east-west division is observed in merger incidence: the four communities to the west, including Ogdensburg, show relatively robust lot-thought distinction, though apparent-time trends toward merger exist; east of Ogdensburg, the merger is much more advanced. A similar sharp boundary may hold for the NCS raising of trap (though the data are spottier due to the NCS’s obsolescence). The geographical sharpness of this boundary suggests that it is not due merely to socioeconomic differences between communities. It may be due to historical patterns of transportation: in the nineteenth century, Ogdensburg was the easternmost navigable point of the upper St. Lawrence River, meaning communities east of Ogdensburg were not directly accessible to the Great Lakes shipping network. keywords: low back merger, Northern Cities Shift, dialect geography, Inland North, North Country The inland north of the United States is a dialect region in flux. Labov, Ash, and Boberg’s Atlas of North American English (2006) portrayed the region, stretching along the Great Lakes from Upstate New York to Wisconsin, as maintaining or even increasing its distinctiveness from other dialect regions. While the merger of the low back lot and thought vowel phonemes was in progress or complete in the majority of North American dialect regions, the Inland North appeared to show “stable resistance” to the merger in the Atlas data, collected in the 1990s. The characteristic chain shift of the region, the Northern Cities Shift (NCS), involving the fronting of lot, the fronting and raising of trap, the lowering of thought, and other changes, was in progress in apparent time to the extent that it was one of Labov, Ash, and Boberg’s most prominent examples of North American dialect regions diverging from each other. Downloaded from http://read.dukeupress.edu/american-speech/article-pdf/95/3/321/815823/0950321.pdf by SAN DIEGO STATE UNIV, ajd@post.harvard.edu on 07 August 2020 american speech 95.3 (2020) 322 In the years since the publication of Labov, Ash, and Boberg (2006), however, it has become clear that the Inland North’s stable distinctiveness was short-lived. The backing of lot across all of Upstate New York, documented in Dinkin (2011), is both a retreat from the NCS and progress toward the low back merger. Driscoll and Lape (2015) find nearly all of the NCS features retreating in apparent time in Syracuse, New York; Milholland (2018) finds the same in Buffalo. Wagner et al. (2016), Morgan et al. (2017), and Nesbitt (2018), among others, have reported retreat from both raised trap and fronted lot in Michigan. McCarthy (2011), D’Onofrio and Benheim (2018), and Durian and Cameron (2018) have all reported the loss of some or all NCS features in Chicago among at least some groups of speakers. Several studies, including Driscoll and Lape (2015), Nesbitt and Mason (2016), and Thiel and Dinkin (2017), have suggested that retreat from the NCS features is due to growing negative social evaluation of its features. With regard to lot, I have proposed (Dinkin 2011) that the backing of lot is spreading into the Inland North from adjacent regions where the low back merger is well established, such as Canada; this argument is based on data collected in 2006–8 showing that the Inland North communities displaying the most evidence of low back merger in progress are those closest to the Canadian border, at the northern edge of New York State. Also at the northern edge of New York is a dialect region termed the North Country,1 which lacks the NCS and is the only dialect region in upstate New York where the merger appeared to be well established at the time of that fieldwork. An outstanding conundrum in the dialectology of the NCS is the nature of the border between the Inland North and the North Country. In data collected in 2008, I found a sharp dialect border in St. Lawrence County, New York (Dinkin 2013), between the city of Ogdensburg and the village of Canton, near the northern border of the state. Ogdensburg is an Inland North city, in which the majority of speakers sampled showed substantial NCS raising of trap and fronting of lot, and none had full merger of lot and thought. In Canton, nearly all speakers sampled had lot and thought at least partially merged in minimal-pair judgments, and no NCS raising of trap was in evidence; on the basis of this, Canton was assigned to the North Country. The apparent dialect boundary between these two communities is quite sharp; Ogdensburg and Canton are only 20 miles apart, in a sparsely populated rural region with no settlements of appreciable size between them, so it is not possible for there to be a gradual geographic transition from the Inland North pattern to the North Country pattern. In an earlier article (Dinkin 2013), I was not able to completely explain the presence of this sharp dialect boundary, describing it as a topic that “would benefit from additional data collection” (28). Elsewhere in New York State, the geographical limit of the Inland North dialect region was found to Downloaded from http://read.dukeupress.edu/american-speech/article-pdf/95/3/321/815823/0950321.pdf by SAN DIEGO STATE UNIV, ajd@post.harvard.edu on 07 August 2020 The Foot of the Lake 323 be determined by early-nineteenth-century settlement patterns: communities that were principally founded by westward migration from western New England exhibit the NCS (see also Boberg 2001 on the relationship between western New England and the NCS), while communities in which New England settlement played little to no role belong to a different dialect region, the Hudson Valley. This explanation, however, is not fully satisfying for the boundary between Ogdensburg and Canton, inasmuch as their settlements both apparently derive from western New England.2 Now that the gradual loss of the NCS has been documented throughout the Inland North region, however, an alternative possibility presents itself: perhaps the dialect boundary between Ogdensburg and Canton is illusory. If the NCS is being lost and trends toward the low back merger are initiated throughout the Inland North, perhaps Canton was once an Inland North community as well and is merely an early adopter of trends that are now beginning to be visible throughout the region. If the loss of the NCS is driven by social stigma associated with it or by contact with speakers from non–Inland North regions, Canton’s status as a college town with a more middle-class population might account for the absence of the NCS there in 2008. The principal research questions of this article are thus: What is the nature and cause of the dialect difference between Ogdensburg and Canton? Do they differ linguistically because they truly lie in separate regions or because of socioeconomic and demographic differences within a single region? To answer this question, we must examine the region surrounding Ogdensburg and Canton. A secondary question of interest is whether the advancement of lot-thought merger in northern New York is a result of diffusion from nearby Canada, and so the principal focus of analysis in this article will be the lot and thought vowels; but the most distinctive feature of the NCS, the raising of trap, will be examined as well.

2 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors investigated a discourse-pragmatic use of the word wait in spoken North American English and found that older people use longer, more temporally specified variants, wait a minute/wait a second, while wait alone is increasing in apparent time with women leading its advance.
Abstract: This study investigates a discourse-pragmatic use of the word wait in spoken North American English. This function is an extension from an original lexical meaning of pausing or lingering which has extended to indicate a pause in discourse as a speaker reflects on or corrects an earlier topic. Over 340 examples from 211 individuals permit comparative sociolinguistic methods and statistical modelling in order to offer an early assessment of the variation among alternates of this innovative use and to test for broad social and linguistic factors in order to understand the underlying processes. The results expose notable recent developments: older people use longer, more temporally specified variants, wait a minute/wait a second, while wait alone is increasing in apparent time with women leading its advance. The robust increase in use of wait alone, e.g. “I haven’t seen her yet. No wait. Yes, I have”, co-occurrence with other markers, e.g. no, and the function of self-correction/commentary arises after 1970. The unique contribution of socially stratified corpora also demonstrates that this development follows well-known principles of linguistic change as wait develops from a verb with temporal specification to a full-fledged discourse-pragmatic marker on the left periphery.“…markers allow speakers to construct and integrate multiple planes and dimensions of an emergent reality” (Schiffrin 1987:330)


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors compared the effects of city and ethnicity with respect to Quebec English speakers' participation in two ongoing changes affecting /æ/ in Canadian English: retraction as part of the Canadian Shift and tensing in prenasal environments.
Abstract: This study compares the effects of city and ethnicity with respect to Quebec English speakers’ participation in two ongoing changes affecting /æ/ in Canadian English: retraction as part of the Canadian Shift and tensing in prenasal environments. Quebec English speakers might be expected to differ in their behavior with regard to these two phenomena as compared to other Canadian English speakers. Based on an analysis of Cartesian distances and a mixed-effects model using spontaneous speech, the authors find that Quebec English speakers are less advanced with respect to the Canadian Shift, especially speakers from Quebec City. For tensing, British-origin speakers from Montreal and Quebec City are found to pattern similarly, participating in the more widespread patterning, while Jewish and Italian speakers are moving in the opposite direction. The authors argue that this move away from characteristically Canadian patterns is an artefact of the interplay between the two phenomena under study, reflective of differential replication of the Canadian Shift in the two environments.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors explored geographical variation in a range of understudied dative constructions in American English and found that these constructions are found primarily in the South and that they permit numerous syntactic variations and permutations.
Abstract: This article explores geographical variation in a range of understudied dative constructions in American English. It shows that these constructions are found primarily in the South and that they permit numerous syntactic variations and permutations. However, not all sentences and constructions have an equal status. In particular, the authors find that they lie on a continuum of markedness. More marked variants are judged acceptable by fewer speakers and have a more limited geographic distribution. And yet, even the most marked variants cannot be dismissed: the strong geographic nature of their distribution shows that they are a genuine part of the grammar of many speakers. Overall, this research contributes a more detailed picture of dative constructions in American English and a more nuanced picture of syntactic variation in Southern American English; moreover, the authors offer a novel approach to measuring geographical markedness in syntactic variation.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors discusses the history and regional variation of the complex preposition off of (e.g., I got off of the bus) from Early Modern to Present-Day English by examining a variety of linguistic corpora and databases from different perspectives.
Abstract: This article discusses the history and regional variation of the complex preposition off of (e.g., I got off of the bus). The study is intended to uncover detailed information about the use of the form from Early Modern to Present-Day English by examining a variety of linguistic corpora and databases from different perspectives. In addition to charting the history and present-day variation of off of, the study will make a methodological contribution to historical dialectology by showing that there are extensive, severely underused resources that can reveal valuable information about the geographical variation of English even if they were not originally designed for that purpose. Most crucially, the article introduces a way to investigate Early Modern English from the perspective of regional variation, thus paving the way for future research in a field that has been extremely challenging to study in the past.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper investigated how American English speakers from within and outside the Appalachian region interpret negative auxiliary inversion (NAI) and found that Appalachian participants tended to obtain the "not all" and not the "no one" reading for NAI.
Abstract: This study investigates how American English speakers from within and outside the Appalachian region interpret negative auxiliary inversion (NAI). Previously observed in Appalachian and other English varieties, NAI has surface syntax similar to yes-no questions but receives a declarative interpretation (e.g., Didn’t everybody watch Superbowl 53, meaning ‘not everybody watched’). Previous work shows that NAI is associated with a reading in which some but not all people participated in an event, as opposed to one in which no one participated. Results from an interpretation task revealed that Appalachian participants tended to obtain the ‘not all’ and not the ‘no one’ reading for NAI. In contrast, non-Appalachian participants’ interpretations exhibited greater inter- and intraspeaker variability. Appalachian participants with more ‘not all’ interpretations reported positive attitudes toward NAI use, and they also distinguished between attested and unattested syntactic subject types (e.g., everybody, many people, *few people) in a naturalness rating task. Appalachian participants with more ‘no one’ interpretations had more negative attitudes toward NAI use and made no distinction between subject types. These results highlight how individuals from Appalachia interpret NAI differently than individuals from outside the region and suggest that language attitudes may impact semantic interpretation within a nonmainstream speaker group.




Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Riehl et al. as mentioned in this paper examined lexical diversity in Greater St. Louis and found that both age and place are robust indicators of lexical selection in Southern Illinois and St Louis.
Abstract: The Greater St. Louis “dialect island” poses interesting problems for dialect documentation, partly because Greater St. Louis is a transitional area where many overlapping linguistic influences have left their mark, and also because is an area with new immigrant communities, racial divides, and an aging population.Using a sample from survey and interview data from 815 participants over a seven-year period, we examine lexical diversity in Greater St. Louis, comprising counties both in Missouri and Illinois. We discover that both age and place are robust indicators of lexical selection in Southern Illinois and St. Louis. Our findings provide a concurring rationale with phonologically-based studies that supports the existence of a unique dialect island in Greater St. Louis. KEY TERMS: Midlands Dialect, Midwest, Metro East, St. Louis Corridor Hans Kurath, who observed in the 1930s that the Midland area of the Eastern United States was “highly complex,” would today find the dialects of Illinois just as challenging. While many states contain an array of language regions, none contain as many as Illinois. According to the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), there are thirteen identified regions in this transitional state, permitting us to examine the influences of linguistic features common to the Midland, North Midland, South Midland, West Midland, Great Lakes, North, North Central, Inland North, Ohio Valley, Mississippi Valley, Upper Mississippi Valley, Lower Mississippi Valley, and Ohio-Mississippi Valleys. Here, we examine lexical variation in Illinois, relative to the region in Southwestern Illinois known as the “Metro East,” five counties of Southwestern Illinois which, together with the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County, form a larger entity: “Greater St. Louis.” Basing findings primarily on phonological features, some researchers have regarded Greater St. Louis as a dialect island. We furnish some lexical evidence that supports this claim, but use a novel approach for examining lexical data within this dialect area. The specific wording of lexical items investigated were based on the Harvard Dialect Study (HDS) (Vaux & Golder, 2003). However, this study yields a new data collection focused on Greater St. Louis, and uses statistical models to analyze the data that have not commonly been used in dialect studies of this area. The term “dialect island” extends the metaphor of the “language island” (“Sprachinsel,”) first coined in 1847 to describe the relationship of a Slavonic community to the surrounding German-speaking areas in East Prussia (Mattheier & Besch, 1985; Rosenberg, 2005; Riehl, 2010). While several dialect islands exist in Europe (see Auer, Hinskens, & Kerswill, 2005), the phenomenon is found in numerous places worldwide, including in the United States. Riehl notes that early studies considered dialects spoken in language islands, “as ‘pure’, ‘uncontaminated,’ and ‘homogeneous,’” however, later research found, “that most of the linguistic spaces under investigation not only used a mixture of different dialects, but also developed their own koiné...” (2010, p. 336). While not entirely homogeneous, linguistically or socially, and although they may differ in size and settlement history (Rosenberg, 2005), dialect islands all share the quality of being distinct from the areas that surround them. They are pockets, enclaves or colonies of dialect that have shared linguistic characteristics unlike those outside the island. Greater St. Louis is one such island, and an examination of co-occurring phonological, lexical, and syntactic linguistic features confirms that this island, like many other islands, this one is not entirely homogeneous. We demonstrate that while both the Metro East and St. Louis proper form a language island whose characteristics differ from the rest of Illinois, there are fissures inside this island such that the two parts of the island are also distinguished from one another. Our data provide numerous instances of this finding. For example, respondents inside Greater St. Louis are less likely to use the term shopping cart than Illinois respondents outside the metropolitan area. However, there are also differences between the two halves of Greater St. Louis in regards to this term, with neither of the halves replicating responses found outside the metropolitan area. We structure our analysis as follows: the first section discusses aspects of the settlement history of Illinois and situates Illinois and St. Louis with respect to earlier dialect research on these areas. Then, we present the methodology and research variables used for quantitative and qualitative analysis of survey and interview data. Two sections present the results, first from the quantitative analysis and then from the qualitative findings of collected interview data. Finally, we discuss the results, conclude, and elaborate the ways in which others can build on this research. SETTLEMENT HISTORY AND PREVIOUS STUDIES Illinois has an unusually high level of dialect mixture that may be linked to the settlement history of the state, through which successive waves of migration deposited linguistic resources. Wolfram & Schilling (2016) report that prior to 1830, the U.S. interior was affected by the direct westward expansion of settlers who brought their dialects with them. These dialects partly replicated the dialect maps of the Eastern states but with an intensification of dialect mixture and some leveling out of dialectal differences due to language contact, especially for speakers in “the ever-expanding Midland dialect region” (American English, p. 114). Migrations of Southern woodsmen into the Wabash, Sangamon and Mississippi River Valleys brought early southern dialectal influences into the region (Frazer, 1987), while physical geography played a key role, with northward movement along the rivers. Early settlement of Chicago brought movement from the north, with further extensions into the mining communities in Northwestern Illinois. We have an incomplete picture of the exact nature of the dialects spoken in Illinois in late 1800s, but have some spoken clues coming from characterizations of literary dialect (see Fenno, 1983). Later influences came as a result of the National Highway that extended into Southern Illinois from the east, an antecedent to today’s I-70, and movement to the south from Chicago to St. Louis along historic Route 66, the precursor of today’s I-55, sometimes identified in dialect studies as the St. Louis Corridor. The resulting picture is a state with many layers of dialects, a region that “...not only represents a crossroads of migration, a conduit from the East to the West, but also a transitional corridor between the two major cultural regions, the North and South” (Carver, 1989, p. 190). Many have observed that Greater St. Louis, the St. Louis Corridor, and regions of Southern Illinois outside these areas pose interesting problems for dialect documentation (Callary, 1975; Carver, 1989; Friedman, 2015; Labov, 2007; Labov, Ash, & Boberg, 1997, 2006; Murray, 1993, 2002; Frazer, 1978, 1987; Kurath, 1972; Marckwardt, 1957; Wolfram & Schilling, 2016). One important piece of this complexity is found in Southwestern Illinois, where researchers have long observed that Greater St. Louis forms a dialect island within the broader Midland region (Frazer, 1987). Map 1 situates the dialect island within the United States, and Map 2 provides a visualization adapted from the Atlas of North American English (ANAE) (2006) showing that the surrounding Midlands dialect in Southern Illinois differs from the St. Louis area with a corridor that extends certain northern features southward. Map 1: Location of the St. Louis Dialect Island Map 2: St. Louis Corridor Extending into Midland’s Dialect (adapted from the Atlas of North American English: “NAE Dialects”) The ANAE (2006) further reports on St. Louis Island phonological characteristics that do not match the general Midlands dialect, such as solid contrast of /o/ and /oh/, general raising of /æ/, with extreme fronting of /æ/ in bat and bad. The ANAE reports vowels in both cut and coat further back than the vowel in cot, and a spreading loss of its traditional merger of /ahr/ and /ɔhr/ to coalesce with the Northern Cities Vowel Shift (NCS). The ANAE additionally finds St. Louis Corridor characteristics similar to the Inland North and western New York State in that, unlike the Midland dialect surrounding this area, resistance to low back merger coincides with the raising of /æ/. Labov (2007) states that the front-back approximation of /e/ and /o/ is “generally absent in the Midland region, except for St. Louis and nearby communities” (p. 373, italics added). Labov (2007) also suggests that the NCS features not only reveal the strongest differentiation from the Midland dialect outside the St. Louis Corridor, but also that St. Louis speakers are further along on this shift than those from smaller cities within the corridor. This may be taken as evidence for diffusion along the corridor and not incrementally spread by children within the communities (i.e., transmission). While documenting the alignment of St. Louis with the Inland North, the ANAE notes that in numerous ways, St. Louis remains “more or less aligned with the Midland” (2006, p. 277). Even for the spread of the NCS, Labov notes another difference between the St. Louis Corridor and the Inland North: the change in the Inland North involved consistent chain-shifting rotating six vowels, while the corridor displays “a more irregular result,” showing that sound changes diffuse “...individually rather than as a system” (2007, p. 383). The data used here are all phonological, date from the late 1990s, involve four Teslur speakers, and demonstrate somewhat differing language behavior. The ANAE view of St. Louis concurs with Murray’s (1993, 2006) accounts that documented other well-known features in th

Journal ArticleDOI
Charles Boberg1
TL;DR: This paper used acoustic phonetic, quantitative, and statistical analysis to identify the most important changes in the pronunciation of North American English by 40 European American leading actresses in their best-known films.
Abstract: As a follow-up to the author’s 2018 analysis of New York City English in film, this article turns its attention to the whole country over the same 80-year period of 1930–2010, using acoustic phonetic, quantitative, and statistical analysis to identify the most important changes in the pronunciation of North American English by 40 European American leading actresses in their best-known films. Focusing mostly on vowel production, the analysis reveals a gradual shift from East Coast patterns rooted in the speech of New York City to West Coast patterns rooted in the speech of Los Angeles. Changes include a decline in /r/ vocalization, which is restricted almost entirely to the period before the mid-1960s; a decline in the low back distinction between /o/ and /oh/ (lot and thought); a new distinction between /æ/ (trap) and its allophone before nasal consonants (e.g., ham or hand); shifts of /æ/ and /oh/ to a lower, more central position in the vowel space; and fronting of the back upgliding vowel /uw/ (goose). These and other patterns correspond closely to those identified in the speech of ordinary people, revealing an intriguing parallel between public speech in the mass media and private speech in local communities.

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TL;DR: This paper argued that invariant am was present in earlier African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and common among Black slaves and their immediate descendants, yet had largely disappeared by World War II.
Abstract: Scholars of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) have generally assumed that the invariant am typical of minstrel depictions of Black speech was a fabrication, used neither by modern nor earlier Black Americans. However, the frequency with which invariant am occurs in renditions of interviews with ex-slave speech has always lent a certain uncertainty here, despite claims that these must have been distortions introduced by the interviewers. The author argues that the use of invariant am in a great many literary sources written by Black writers with sober intention, grammatical descriptions of Black speech that note invariant am as a feature, and the use of invariant am in regional British dialects imported to the New World suggest that invariant am was present in earlier AAVE and common among Black slaves and their immediate descendants, yet had largely disappeared by World War II.

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TL;DR: This article examined the ways in which this phrase is used, understood and reinterpreted as it circulates within the South and outside of it, and found that a singular, negative connotation of the phrase and those who use it emerges, conjuring images of the sassy Southern belle.
Abstract: Language and identity are intricately woven into the personal and public lives of social groups. Words and phrases may originate in a subculture morphing into mainstream culture on the comingled streams of interactions among the masses. These words and phrases have specific meanings within their original contexts in their home cultures, yet they vary and evolve as they travel on the above-mentioned comingled streams of interactions and conversations. In this paper, we explore the typified Southern expression, ‘bless your heart,’ examining the ways in which this phrase is used, understood and reinterpreted as it circulates within the South and outside of it. We examine data from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) and substantiate those findings through sociolinguistic interviews focusing on individuals’ experiences with this phrase. We first note that when this phrase is used, it is capable of accomplishing a range of meanings, but positive and negative; however, when it gets spoken about, a singular, negative connotation of the phrase and those who use it emerges, conjuring images of the ‘sassy Southern belle.’ Despite this dichotomy of how the phrase is used and spoken about, a third, and more nuanced, understanding of the phrase was often evoked by the interview participants. Our research highlights the complexity of this phrase for both cultural insiders (i.e. Southerners) and outsiders (i.e. non-Southerners) and the potential negative repercussions of the monolithic representation of white Southern women and the iconic link between this figure of personhood and the seemingly innocuous phrase, ‘bless your heart.’


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Michael Adams1

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TL;DR: This paper examined the production and perception of prenasal word-medial /t/ in five US states: Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont, and found that younger speakers and women produced glottal stops more often than older speakers.
Abstract: The articulation of /t/ in American English varies according to linguistic and extralinguistic factors. Concerning social factors, word-final /t/ glottalization is seen more among speakers of African American English (Farrington 2018), younger speakers (Partin-Hernandez 2005, Roberts 2006), and women (Byrd 1994, Eddington and Channer 2010). This paper examines the production and perception of /t/ in five US states: Indiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont. For the production study, participants read a letter containing 24 prenasal word-medial /t/s (e.g., kitten) and 28 prevocalic word-final /t/s (e.g., not ever). For the perception study, 22 speakers recorded a unique sentence, each of which was manipulated acoustically in order to yield both oral and nasal releases of prenasal word-medial /t/ (e.g. button [bʌʔən] vs [bʌʔn̩]), as well as tap and glottal stop pronunciations of prevocalic word-final /t/ (e.g. not ever [nɑɾɛvɚ] vs. [nɑʔɛvɚ]). Next, these recordings were presented to participants who rated the speakers in terms of their perceived age, friendliness, pleasantness, rurality, education level, and whether they were from the same state as the participants. The production results for prenasal word-medial /t/ (e.g. button) indicate that younger speakers produced oral releases more often than their older counterparts. Age also was related to the realization of prevocalic word-final /t/ as a glottal stop (e.g., not ever), such that younger speakers and women produced glottal stops more often than older speakers. In the perception study, speakers who used glottal stops were viewed as less educated and less friendly. Speakers who used oral releases were perceived as more rustic and less educated. This paper contributes to the literature documenting the production and perception of /t/ in American English and to the literature that demonstrates the usefulness of using both production and perceptual data to study language variation (e.g., Brown 2015).

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