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American Dialects

Justyna Jarosz

on 14 January 2014

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Transcript of dialects

Dialects of
Geographic Location- The people who live near you are the people who influence you the most as far as the way you speak.
Why Languages Vary
All of these different yet amazing dialects come together to make America the unique melting pot it's known for.
Patterns of Settlement- The many different cultures that settled in America, as well as the spreading of these cultures determine many of the changes in dialects.
Why American Dialects Differ
Founder Effect- Europeans settled first and it wasn’t until many years later when immigrants from other cultures came. This resulted in the immigrants being pressured to conform to the dialects already present, creating a solid foundation of the dialects spoken, hence why these regional dialects are still present today.
Territory Included
Differences Between Northerners and New Englanders
New England
The North
The Midland
The South
The West
The West
The North
The Midland
The South
New England
The lines that mark the boundaries of areas where a particular linguistic form is used
Unique Words
Interesting Facts
Territory Covered
Unique Phonetic Features
Unique Words
More Unique Terms
Territory Included
Unique Phonetic Features
Sayings That Differ
Unique Words
Unique Phonetic Features
Territory Included
Unique Phonetic Features
Territory Included
Unique Phonetic Features
Unique Words
Interesting Facts
Unique Words
Interesting Facts
Western Massachusetts
Northern portions of New York
South Dakota
North Dakota
Northern Cities Shift
systematic rotation of vowel space affecting pronunciation of long low/mid vowels [aeᵆ], [a], and [ ᵓ] and the short vowels [ ], [ ], and [ ]
ex. - beg/bet, lock/lot, bet/bus
use of “with” without a direct object
ex. ‘Do you want to come with?’
the use of “by” instead of “at”
ex. ‘I was by Sarah’s house.’ v ‘I was at Sarah’s house.
needs verb + ing construction
ex. ‘The table needs cleaning.’ v ‘The table needs to be cleaned.’
‘pop’ instead of ‘soda’ or ‘coke’
‘sneaker’ instead of ‘tennis shoe’
‘parkway’ or ‘tree lawn’ for the strip of grass beside a sidewalk
Territory Included
- There is a pattern called the Southern Shift that leads to distinctions in the South.
1) Involves a nuclei of back vowel diphthongs becoming fronted
2) Short front vowels take on the characteristics of diphthongs
3) Phenomenon known as the “pin/pen merger” (‘pen’ is traditionally pronounced [pEn] is pronounced [pIn].)
Commonly Used Terms
Syntactic Features
1) The first is the use of the phrase ‘fixin’ as in “I’m fixin to clean the house” This replaces the traditional ‘getting ready to’
2) The second is the use of two modals in a verb phrase known as a double modal to indicate that a plan has a high degree of tentativeness.
EX: ‘I might could help you clean your garage tomorrow.’
- Southerners use this as a polite way to say that the plans are tentative. The phrase would traditionally be ‘I might be able to help you clean your garage tomorrow.’
1) roly poly: Gray creature that rolls up into a ball when touched

2) curb strip: Strip of grass found in one’s front yard between the sidewalk and the road.

3) buggy: Grocery cart

4) coke: Most widely used term to describe a carbonated beverage
New Mexico,
Less distinctive factors attributing to variation due to the fact it was settled last and is much like a hybrid of all the other regions
Generally pronunciation closely resembles that of the Midland patterns.
exceptions: /u/ is pronounced closer to the front of the mouth, especially after alveolar consonants [t] and [d]
“lookie lou” (a rubbernecker who slows down traffic to look at a car accident)
“firefly” (flying bug found in the summertime that lights up at night)
“granola” (hippy, active lifestyle)
“hella” as an adverb for anything to add emphasis (only in northern California)
spanglish is also very common in southern california due to its proximity to Mexico.
“soda” instead of "pop" or "coke"
"How they talk in the Movies!"
Many reasons for the current dialect trace back to how the west was settled and by whom.
Western New York (except NYC, which is a distinct speech island)
Eastern Massachusetts
New Hampshire,
Rhode Island
1). The pronunciation of [a], such as “cot”, “pot”, and “hock”,
and [ᵓ ], “caught”, “thought”, “hawk”, these words are homophones

2). /r/ is not pronounced when it precedes a consonant, either within a word or at the end of the word.
ex: “park your car” - [pakj ka]

Morphological Differences
3). New England speakers use “on line” to describe a situation, where as Northern speakers would say “in line”.
ex: “We were waiting on line for tickets.”

4). New England speakers use “so don’t I” when other dialects use “so do I” as a way of showing agreement with another person.
New England and Northern speakers historically share similar dialect traits, leading to a high degree of overlap of features between areas. Present day speakers have led to the distinct differences stated before.
1). “berm” or “verge” (name for a strip of grass found in someone’s yard)
2). “pill bug” (used to name the little gray creatures that roll up into a ball)
3). “bubbler” (drinking or water fountain)
4). “Soda” (not pop)
5). They gave us the word cuss from curse, originally a high class, [r]-less pronunciation
mid and Southern regions of West Virginia, Western North Carolina and Virginia
Eastern Tennessee
Settlers in this region included English, Scottish-Irish, Pennsylvania Dutch, and French Huguenots, these settlers attribute to this dialect. The way the mountains inclose the people and restrict them from traveling also attributes to the culture of the Appalachian people.
1). Pronunciation of “fish” and “push”. In other dialects they are pronounced with a [ɪ ] and [ʊ ] while in Appalachia they pronounce them with an [i], [u].

2). How they deal with stress, [ ‘], differs from others too.
ex: the word "cigar" is pronounced [ci'gar] rather than [ciga'r] and "November" is pronounced [No'vember] rather than [Nove'mber]

People in Appalachia use a process known as a-prefixing in which they add an a- in certain verbal constructions.
ex: "The dog was a-crying and a-hollerin' all night."
-"jasper": used to describe a stranger
-"sigogglin": used to describe something that leans and is crooked
-"poke": used for the terms "bag" or "sack"
-"holler": used to describe a valley surrounded by mountains
-"dope": used as a term for carbonated beverages
along with some regions in South Dakota and Nebraska (not really)
Unique Phonetic Features Continued
cot and caught are homophones. ie [a] to [ ]
[i] is more like [I].
example: thing
Due to California's melting-pot culture, many words specific to other regions are used by the transplants that have moved to California.
Stereotypically known as "Valley Girl" and "Surfer Dude"
Valley girl example: "I'm like..."
Surfer Dude: "Killer Waves Bruh"
much of West Virginia, Virginia
most of North and South Carolina.

- Note that Florida is not included and is considered a separate speech island.
"The neccessary" (bathroom)
"brook" (instead of stream)
"toss your cookies" (vomit)
"strapped" (without money, broke)
schnozzle (nose)
Western Pennsylvania
Missouri (Excluding St. Louis)
Southern Iowa
Northern Oklahoma
Known not to have any type of accent. However, there are certain sounds that people in this area pronounce differently than other regions.
Most distinguishable sound: /ou/ as [theta u]
ex. 'Boat' = [bout] v [b(theta)ut] (with vowel produced closer to the mouth)
vocalization (when the end of a syllable is spoken as a vowel or glide as opposed to a consonant)
ex. belt [b lt] and hill [h l] are pronounced [b wt] and [h w]
One of the more uncommon features, which relates mostly to Pittsburgh and parts of central Ohio to the pronunciation of now [nau] is pronounced more like [na:]
(Due to Scotch-Irish Settlement)
“All the further” instead of “As far as” in a sentence
“That was all the further I could go.”
The usage of “anymore” without any marker of negation as “these days”
“Anymore, I cannot do yard because of my back.”
Adding -ed on the end of a verb without a preceding helping verb
“The dog needs washed” as opposed to “the dog needs to be washed”
"tree lawn" or "easement" (a strip of grass between the road and a sidewalk)
"pop" (rather than "soda" or "coke"
"sweeper" (vacuum cleaner)
"mango" (another term for green bell pepper)
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