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Saturday, October 12 • 8:55am - 9:20am
Carmichael & Dajko: Rhoticity and shifting ethnic identity in New Orleans English

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Rhoticity and shifting ethnic identity in New Orleans English

New Orleans English is shifting towards non-rhoticity. We argue that ethnic affiliation is central to understanding the ways this change is progressing. Reading passage data for 102 speakers from Greater New Orleans was examined in a mixed effects logistic regression, which revealed an interaction between birth year and ethnicity/location. Older Black New Orleanians and older White suburbanites are highly nonrhotic, while older Creole and White New Orleanians both show much lower rates of non-rhoticity. However, in younger generations, White speakers from all over Greater New Orleans becoming more rhotic. Young Black New Orleanians maintain the low levels previously attested, and young Creoles now align with this population rather than with Whites. We note the ways this pattern mirrors trends in other US cities of Black and White speech diverging, while accounting for the Creole population’s shift in ethnic identity.


Katie Carmichael

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Nathalie Dajko

Tulane University

Saturday October 12, 2019 8:55am - 9:20am PDT
EMU Crater Lake N
  T: SECOL sponsored
  • Session type Talk
  • Chair: Paul Reed