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Saturday, October 12 • 2:05pm - 2:30pm
Rankinen: Apparent-time evidence of raised /aj/ and /aw/ in Michigan’s upper peninsula

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Apparent-time evidence of raised /aj/ and /aw/ in Michigan’s upper peninsula

​Canadian-like raising, also known as American raising (the raised variant of /aj/ but not /aw/), seems to be developing independent of an external model of diffusion across many American speech communities. The proximity of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) with Canada begs the question if a rural American English speech community exhibits the raised variants of /aj/, /aw/  or both, and if so, is it due to external models of diffusion or developing internal within the community itself. Toward this end, the present study focuses on a sociolinguistically stratified 85-speaker corpus of monolingual English speakers from Michigan’s Marquette County. The clear preference toward the raised variants of both /aj/ and /aw/ among younger middle-class females and a clear preference toward the non-raised variants among younger working-class females suggests these linguistic variables are changes-in-progress and hold prestige following sociolinguistic principles of sound change in this rural UP speech community.

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.


Wil Rankinen

Grand Valley State University

Saturday October 12, 2019 2:05pm - 2:30pm PDT
EMU Gumwood
  S: American raising