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Ongoing Phonological Changes in Standard American English

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Levente Madarász

on 1 May 2013

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Transcript of Ongoing Phonological Changes in Standard American English

Ongoing Phonological Changes in Standard American English Levente Madarász


25 April 2013 Changes under scope (Chain) shift
Merger Chain shift "[P]honological developement in which one change within a given phonological system gives rise to other, related changes." (Hegedűs 2006, 2) Great Vowel Shift (Menzer 2000, "What is") Merger “A phonological process in which two or more phonemes (segments) collapse into a single constructive unit” (Hegedűs 2006, 6) Example:
PIE *a and *o merged into *a in all environments in Germanic languages

IE *oḱtō (merger of *a & *o to *a) → PGmc. *ahtau (Great Vowel Shift) →Mod. E. eight Northern Cities Chain Shift Innovations in the vowels of English urban centers on the American side of the Great Lakes
Characteristic of Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo Northern Cities Shift Examples ("The Language Samples Project", 2001A) ("The Language Samples Project", 2001A) The words in black text are situated where their vowels are pronounced in non-Northern-Cities-Shift dialects
The blue texts shows the displacement of the vowels in each word Southern Vowel Shift Operates in Southern States & African-American English
Confined to rural areas of the traditionally defined South ("The Language Samples Project", 2001B) Some Examples of the Southern Shift (Baranowski 2008, 2) Cot-Caught Merger (Low Back Merger) Generally occurs in: Canada, Northeastern New England, the Pittsburg area and the Western United States
“The sound change causes the vowel in caught, talk, and small to be pronounced like the vowel in cot, rock, and doll, so that cot and caught, for example, become homophones, and the two vowels merge into a single phoneme.” (Wikipedia)
The change does not affect a vowel followed by /r/, so barn and born remain distinct Some Comic Misunderstandings due to the Merger (from [Labov 2010, 33]) Carl R. [Boston]: How did the coffee machine work out?
Sherry A. [Chicago] [She began a story about her copy machine.]

Gillian S. [Montreal]: We won’t save any time to come here for a copy shop.
WL [Northern NJ]: Coffee shop?

Gillian S. [Montreal]: Oh! Copy shop! Here it is!
WL [Northern NJ] [He looks around for a coffee shop.]

Gillian S. [Montreal]: I wonder if there’s a copy place near the airport?WL [Northern NJ] [Why would she need coffee?] References Baranowski, M. (2008). "The Southern Shift in a marginally Southern dialect." University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics. 14, 2. U of Manchester. Retrieved from http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1053&context=pwpl

Hegedűs, I. (2006). Glossary for Historical Linguistics. PDF file, Pécs: U of Pécs.

Labov, W. (2010). Principles of Linguistic Change. Whiley-Blackwell P.

Menzer, M. J. (2000). "What is the Great Vowel Shift?". Furman U. Retrieved from http://eweb.furman.edu/~mmenzer/gvs/what.htmB

"The Language Samples Project." (2001A). "The Northern Cities Shift." The U of Arizona. Retrieved from http://www.ic.arizona.edu/~lsp/Northeast/ncshift/ncshift.html

"The Language Samples Project." (2001B). "Southern Vowel Shift." The U of Arizona. Retrieved from http://www.ic.arizona.edu/~lsp/Features/SVS.html
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