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Journal ArticleDOI

The Canadian shift in Montreal

Charles Boberg1
01 Jul 2005-Language Variation and Change (Cambridge University Press)-Vol. 17, Iss: 02, pp 133-154
TL;DR: In this article, the authors extended the study of the Canadian Shift to the English-speaking community of Montreal, Quebec, using acoustic rather than impressionistic analysis and a larger and more diverse sample.
Abstract: Based on an impressionistic study of 16 young Canadians, mostly from Ontario, Clarke, Elms, and Youssef (1995) reported that the short front vowels of Canadian English are involved in a chain shift, the “Canadian Shift,” triggered by the merger of in low-back position, whereby is retracted to low-central position, and are lowered toward the low-front space vacated by . This article extends the study of the Canadian Shift to the English-speaking community of Montreal, Quebec, using acoustic rather than impressionistic analysis and a larger and more diverse sample. The new data motivate a revised view of the Shift, at least as it operates in Montreal, in which the three front vowels are retracted in a set of parallel shifts, rather than rotating in a chain shift.An earlier version of this paper was presented at NWAVE 32 (University of Pennsylvania, October 10, 2003). Thanks are due to members of the audience at that presentation, as well as to anonymous reviewers of the present version of the article, for helpful comments. In the preparation of the present version, the author is especially indebted to Anicka Fast and Erika Lawrance for research assistance and to Myrtis Fossey for assistance with statistical analysis. This research received financial support from three sources: the Research Grants Office of McGill University, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and the Fonds quebecois de la recherche sur la societe et la culture (Grant #2003-NC-81927).
Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examined the role of ethnicity in conditioning linguistic variation and found that speakers may vary in overall rate, but linguistic conditioning remains largely constant across and within ethnic groups, while there is evidence for language transfer in the first generation, differences between generations suggest that transfer does not persist.
Abstract: Following recent work that questions traditional social categories, this paper examines the role of ethnicity in conditioning linguistic variation. Reporting on a large-scale project in the multicultural context of Toronto, we argue for combining emic and etic approaches to social categorization. Focusing on the Chinese and Italian communities, our analysis of two sociolinguistic variables shows that speakers may vary in overall rate, but linguistic conditioning remains largely constant across and within ethnic groups. Whereas there is evidence for language transfer in the first generation, differences between generations suggest that transfer does not persist. Some speakers appear to use overall rates to express ethnic identity. Differences between communities may be explained in terms of different timelines of settlement and visible-minority status.

173 citations


Cites background from "The Canadian shift in Montreal"

  • ...Nevertheless, the correlation between EO status and the overall rates of deletion and participation in (components of) the CVS suggest to us that, though all speakers share the same linguistic system, at least some of them may be using overall rates of use to construct and express ethnic identities....

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  • ...Table 5 shows the results of a one-level binomial analysis for the linguistic conditioning of the CVS in each ethnic group.15 The effects for (ɛ) are fairly consistent across all groups, with following obstruents disfavoring and laterals favoring.16 For (æ), the effects are similarly parallel....

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  • ...First documented by Clarke, Elms, and Youssef (1995), the CVS has been studied in various locales across Canada (Boberg, 2004, 2005, 2008; D’Arcy, 2005; De Decker, 2002; De Decker & Mackenzie, 1999; Hagiwara, 2006; Hoffman, 1998, 1999a, 1999b; Labov, Ash, & Boberg, 2006; Meechan, 1999; Roeder &…...

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  • ...There is some evidence for differences in phonological conditioning for the CVS....

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  • ...Though there is some dispute about its precise phonetic characterization (e.g., Boberg, 2004, 2005; Hagiwara, 2006) and its status as a chain shift (Boberg, 2005; Clarke et al., 1995; Hagiwara, 2006), most studies agree that it is an ongoing change....

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Journal ArticleDOI
Charles Boberg1
TL;DR: This article analyzed word list data from a larger number of speakers (eighty-six) drawn from a narrower social range, comprising young, university-educated speakers of Standard Canadian English from all across the country.
Abstract: Taking as a point of departure the preliminary view of regional phonetic differentiation in Canadian English developed by the Atlas of North American English, this article presents data from a new acoustic-phonetic study of regional variation in Canadian English carried out by the author at McGill University. While the Atlas analyzes mostly spontaneous speech data from thirty-three speakers covering a broad social range, the present study analyzes word list data from a larger number of speakers (eighty-six) drawn from a narrower social range, comprising young, university-educated speakers of Standard Canadian English from all across the country. The new data set permits a more detailed view of regional variation within Canada than was possible in the Atlas, which focuses on differentiating Canadian from neighboring varieties of American English. This view adds detail to the established account in some respects, while suggesting a revised regional taxonomy of Canadian English in others. In particular, this...

96 citations


Cites methods from "The Canadian shift in Montreal"

  • ...This picture closely matches the regional taxonomy based on lexical data developed in Boberg (2005b), suggesting that it applies to Canadian English as a whole, rather than only to the phonetic level of analysis....

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  • ...This taxonomy corresponds to the six major regions identified in the study of lexical data reported in Boberg (2005b)....

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Book
Charles Boberg1
26 Aug 2010
TL;DR: The authors provide a framework for original studies of English, both present-day and past, and provide theoretical and descriptive contributions to our knowledge of national varities of English language, both written and spoken.
Abstract: Studies in english language. The aim of this series is to provide a framework for original studies of English, both present-day and past. All books are based surely on empirical research, and represent theoretical and descriptive contributions to our knowledge of national varities of English, both written and spoken. The series covers a broad range of topics and approaches, including syntax, phonology, grammar, vocabulary, discourse, pragmatics and sociolinguistics, and is aimed at an international readership.

79 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The study found a set of systematic changes to /I, ε, æ/ including positional changes in the acoustic space (mostly lowering of the vowels) and significant variation in formant dynamics (increased monophthongization) in three successive generations of 123 adult female speakers.

63 citations


Additional excerpts

  • ...…to point out that similar developments involving these vowels have been reported in other English-speaking countries including the Canadian shift in parts of Canada (e.g., Boberg, 2005; Clarke et al., 1995) and a shift in southeastern England (Torgersen & Kerswill, 2004; Trudgill, 2004)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Given the widespread occurrence of these parallel chainlike changes, this development is termed the “North American Shift,” which conforms to the general principles of chain shifting formulated by Labov (1994) and others.
Abstract: This study examines cross-generational changes in the vowel systems in central Ohio, southeastern Wisconsin, and western North Carolina. Speech samples from 239 speakers, males and females, were divided into three age groups: grandparents (66–91 years old), parents (35–51), and children (8–12). Acoustic analysis of vowel dynamics (i.e., formant movement) was undertaken to explore variation in the amount of spectral change for each vowel. A robust set of cross-generational changes in /ɪ, ɛ, ae, ɑ/ was found within each dialect-specific vowel system, involving both their positions and dynamics. With each successive generation, /ɪ, ɛ, ae/ become increasingly monophthongized and /ɑ/ is diphthongized in children. These changes correspond to a general anticlockwise parallel rotation of vowels (with some exceptions in /ɪ/ and /ɛ/). Given the widespread occurrence of these parallel chainlike changes, we term this development the “North American Shift,” which conforms to the general principles of chain shifting formulated by Labov (1994) and others.

58 citations


Cites result from "The Canadian shift in Montreal"

  • ...…(i.e., system-driven) factors and a variety of external (i.e., contact-driven) factors in different varieties of English in the world (e.g., Boberg, 2005; Cox, 1999; Labov, 1994; Labov, Ash, & Boberg, 2006; Labov, Yaeger, & Steiner, 1972; Torgersen & Kerswill, 2004; Trudgill, 2004; Watson,…...

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  • ...On the contrary, our data support the vowel development reported by Boberg (2005), who provided acoustic and statistical evidence against the classic chain shift proposed in the original version of the Canadian shift....

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References
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Book
01 Jan 1994

1,732 citations


"The Canadian shift in Montreal" refers background in this paper

  • ...The basis of this causal relation is the maintenance of maximal margins of security in phonological space to prevent confusion with neighboring phonemes, a key component of the structural economy of vowel systems, as conceived by Martinet (1955) and further developed by Labov (1994)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors found that women lead men in rejecting linguistic changes as they are recognized by the speech community, a differentiation that is maximal for the second highest status group, and that sexual differentiation is independent of social class at the beginning of a change, but that interaction develops gradually as social awareness of the change increases.
Abstract: Two general principles of sexual differentiation emerge from previous sociolinguistic studies: that men use a higher frequency of nonstandard forms than women in stable situations, and that women are generally the innovators in linguistic change. It is not clear whether these two tendencies can be unified, or how differences between the sexes can account for the observed patterns of linguistic change. The extensive interaction between sex and other social factors raises the issue as to whether the curvilinear social class pattern associated with linguistic change is the product of a rejection of female-dominated changes by lower-class males. Multivariate analysis of data from the Philadelphia Project on Linguistic Change and Variation indicates that sexual differentiation is independent of social class at the beginning of a change, but that interaction develops gradually as social awareness of the change increases. It is proposed that sexual differentiation of language is generated by two distinct processes: (1) for all social classes, the asymmetric context of language learning leads to an initial acceleration of female-dominated changes and retardation of male-dominated changes; (2) women lead men in the rejection of linguistic changes as they are recognized by the speech community, a differentiation that is maximal for the second highest status group.

1,012 citations


"The Canadian shift in Montreal" refers result in this paper

  • ...This is an unexpected result, given the general view that women tend to lead active sound changes (Labov, 1990:215)....

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Book
01 Jan 2006
TL;DR: The Atlas of North American English re-defines the regional dialects of American English on the basis of sound changes active in the 1990s and draws new boundaries reflecting those changes.
Abstract: The Atlas of North American English provides the first overall view of the pronunciation and vowel systems of the dialects of the US and Canada The Atlas re-defines the regional dialects of American English on the basis of sound changes active in the 1990s and draws new boundaries reflecting those changes It is based on a telephone survey of 762 local speakers, representing all the urbanized areas of North America It has been developed by Bill Labov, one of the leading sociolinguists of the world, together with his colleagues Sharon Ash and Charles Boberg The Atlas consists of a printed volume accompanied by an interactive CD-ROM The print and multimedia content is alsoavailable online Combined Edition: Book and Multimedia CD-ROM The printed volume contains 23 chapters that re-define the geographic boundaries of North American dialects and trace the influence of gender, age, education, and city size on the progress of sound change; findings that show a dramatic and increasing divergence of English in North America; 139 four color maps that illustrate the regional distribution of phonological and phonetic variables across the North American continent; 120 four color vowel charts of individual speakers The interactive multimedia CD-ROM supplements the printed articles and maps by providing a data base with measurements of more than 100,000 vowels and mean values for 439 speakers; the Plotnik program for mapping each of the individual vowel systems; extended sound samples of all North American dialects; interactive applications to enhance classroom presentations Online only Version: Print and Multimedia Content The online only version offers simultaneous access to the print and multimedia content to all users in the university/library network; presents a wider selection of interactive data, maps, and audio samples that will be recurrently updated; provides students with concurrent access to research material for classroom assignments Key Features: a multimedia reference tool, overthrows previously heldhypothesesin North American dialectology, sound samples on CD-ROM easily accessible through clearly designedinteractive maps System Requirements for CD-ROM and Online only version: Windows PC: Pentium PC, Windows 9x, NT, or XP, at least 16MB RAM, CD-ROM Drive, 16 Bit Soundcard, SVGA (600 x 800 resolution) Apple MAC: OS 6 or higher, 16 Bit Soundcard, at least 16MB RAM Supported Browsers: Internet Explorer, 55 or 6 (Mac OS: Internet Explorer 51)/Netscape 7x or higher/Mozilla 10 or higher/Mozilla Firefox 10 or higher PlugIns: Macromedia Flash Player 6/Acrobat Reader

696 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper argued that insights and techniques from both these disciplines will be of value in improving descriptions of geographical variation in language, and that these improvements will in turn lead to more adequate explanations for certain of the social and spatial characteristics of linguistic change.
Abstract: Linguistic geography has remained relatively unaffected by recent developments in sociolinguistic theory and method and theoretical geography. In this paper it is argued that insights and techniques from both these disciplines will be of value in improving descriptions of geographical variation in language, and that these improvements will in turn lead to more adequate explanations for certain of the social and spatial characteristics of linguistic change. Evidence in favour of a sociolinguistic methodology and new cartographic techniques in dialect geography is drawn from empirical studies in urban dialectology, in East Anglia, England, and rural dialectology, in Norway. (Sociolinguistic variation, dialectology, linguistic change, British English, Norwegian.)

384 citations


"The Canadian shift in Montreal" refers background in this paper

  • ...This suggests that the Canadian Shift may be diffusing outward from its point of origin in Toronto, in a hierarchical pattern like that identified by Trudgill (1974)....

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