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Friday, October 11 • 2:55pm - 3:20pm
Akin & Kohn: The promise of a Free State: A study of archival recordings of rural African American Language in Kansas from the early 20th Century

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The promise of a Free State: A study of archival recordings of rural African American Language in Kansas from the early 20th Century

The study of rural communities can clarify how different structures of segregation have impacted the diachronic development of African American Language (AAL) phonology. Through archival recordings of speakers born between 1888-1933 who lived in rural farming towns of East / Central Kansas, we compare the speech of three African Americans from a county where many post-reconstruction migrants settled to six nearby European American speakers. We examine vocalic patterns known to show differences between Southern AAL and regional European American English by analyzing participants’ full vowel spaces. In this subset, the vowel systems of the African American speakers are not distinct from the European Americans, though other variables such as prosody may still distinguish ethnicity. These results may reflect the impact of integration within rural Kansas communities, in contrast to the impact of urban segregation patterns which led to distinct phonological patterns commonly associated with AAL.

Speakers
LA

Lynsey Akin

Kansas State University
MK

Mary Kohn

Kansas State University


Friday October 11, 2019 2:55pm - 3:20pm
EMU Crater Lake S
  • Session type Talk
  • Chair: Sonja Lanehart


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