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Saturday, October 12 • 2:55pm - 3:20pm
Dodsworth et al.: Social network correlates of /ai/ raising: A community comparison

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Social network correlates of /ai/ raising: A community comparison

The leaders of linguistic change are believed to have open, diverse networks containing weak ties. This study investigates the social network correlates of the raising of the /ai/ nucleus before voiceless consonants in two distinct regions showing similar apparent-time change: urban Raleigh, North Carolina and rural Kansas. First, a network cluster detection procedure reveals no significant network correlates of /ai/ raising in Raleigh, suggesting that contact with Northern dialects does not predict adoption of the change. Second, we ask qualitatively whether the leaders of linguistic change have open social networks relative to others. In both Raleigh and Kansas, the leaders are females who have lived or gone to school in more than one area of town; however, young speakers who do not lead /ai/ raising have multiple network types, ranging from diverse and far-reaching to insulated. The network conditions promoting the adoption of multi-regional linguistic changes require further inquiry.

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.


Robin Dodsworth

Professor, North Carolina State University

Mary Kohn

Kansas State University

Jon Forrest

University of Georgia

Saturday October 12, 2019 2:55pm - 3:20pm PDT
EMU Gumwood
  S: American raising