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Saturday, October 12 • 11:45am - 12:10pm
Carmichael: /ai/ before /au/, except by the sea?: Diphthong raising in New Orleans English

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/ai/ before /au/, except by the sea?: Diphthong raising in New Orleans English

Pre-voiceless /ai/ and /au/-raising are documented in North American English varieties, though /ai/-raising is more common in US varieties. This study documents both forms of raising in New Orleans English (NOE), in cooccurrence with pre-voiced /ai/-monophthongization. Speech from 57 white, working class NOE speakers demonstrates that all 3 forms of variation occur across individual speakers’ grammars in varying combinations; the presence of one form of variation neither precludes nor predicts the presence of another. Notably, the youngest speakers in the corpus demonstrate the most pre-voiceless /au/-raising, suggesting that /au/-raising is a change in progress. In contrast, /ai/- raising and -monophthongization do not demonstrate age effects, instead occurring inconsistently across the corpus. Preliminary results thus suggest that /au/-raising is an independent development from /ai/-raising, and that NOE represents another example of a dialect that features the cooccurrence of pre-voiceless /ai/-raising and pre-voiced /ai/-monophthongization for some speakers.

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 //-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.


Katie Carmichael

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Saturday October 12, 2019 11:45am - 12:10pm PDT
EMU Gumwood
  S: American raising