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Friday, October 11 • 9:45am - 10:10am
Becker & Bahls: The Low-Back-Merger Shift in Port Townsend, Washington

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The Low-Back-Merger Shift in Port Townsend, Washington

This study documents the vowel patterns of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, an understudied Western locale. We focus on the rotation of the short front vowels TRAP, DRESS, and KIT, with low back merger of LOT and THOUGHT as catalyst, adopting the term Low-Back-Merger Shift (LBMS). All speakers but one exceed the ANAE benchmark (Labov et al. 2006) for TRAP -backing (F2 < 1825 Hz), and all exceed the benchmark for DRESS-lowering (F1 > 650 Hz). A mixed effects regression model on the F2 of LOT demonstrates change in apparent time, with younger speakers producing a significantly backer LOT. These results lead us to question whether or not LBMS is such a recent change in the West, or if the long-time presence of low back merger in the region has produced communities with overall stability, even in rural locales.

avatar for Kara Becker

Kara Becker

Reed College

Cecilia Bahls

Reed College

Friday October 11, 2019 9:45am - 10:10am PDT
EMU Crater Lake N
  T: CWSL sponsored
  • Session type Talk
  • Chair: Alicia Wassink