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Saturday, October 12 • 11:20am - 11:45am
Moreton: Abstract factors in English diphthong raising in a Mississippi dialect

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Abstract factors in English diphthong raising in a Mississippi dialect

American Raising is one version of English Diphthong Raising, the pattern of higher diphthongs before voiceless consonants which reappears in many times and places around the English-speaking world when a concrete phonetic precursor spawns an abstract phonological pattern.  Research on the concrete-to-abstract transition has focused on whether Raising is conditioned by concrete surface voicing or abstract underlying voicing of flapped-/t/ (wríter^ vs. ríder).  Here, an under-studied Raising variety illustrates additional abstract conditioning by prosody (cýpress^ vs. Báikàl_) and morphology (Fìghtólogy^ vs. phỳtólogy). 

Some theories hold that a freshly-phonologized pattern is phonetically conditioned, becoming more-abstractly conditioned over time; if so, Raising should add conditions in the order phonetics--prosody--morphology. Alternatively, the precursor might already be abstractly conditioned; if so, that conditioning should be seen in the unphonologized residue of the precursor. Incorporating more abstract factors into studies of American Raising may therefore significantly benefit the theory of phonologization in general.

Session abstract: American Raising

On-going work by various researchers finds that the raising of the diphthong /aɪ/ to [ʌɪ] before voiceless consonants is becoming widespread in the US, occurring in many communities in different locales (e.g. Fort Wayne, Berkson et al. 2017; Kansas City, Strelluf 2018). In U.S. varieties of English that display /aɪ/-raising, the raising generally occurs in the absence of concomitant /aʊ/-raising: we refer to this as American Raising, thereby distinguishing it from Canadian Raising. The recent emergence of American Raising in multiple, distinct locales makes it increasingly possible to document its origins and spread. This panel brings together phonologists, phoneticians and sociolinguists to address formal and sociolinguistic aspects of American Raising in different locales.  Formal aspects include questions about which words/environments are the first to raise and how raising spreads to other words/environments.  Social aspects include questions on how it spreads through social networks and the matter of what raising indexes.


Elliott Moreton

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Saturday October 12, 2019 11:20am - 11:45am PDT
EMU Gumwood
  S: American raising