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Saturday, October 12 • 3:40pm - 5:30pm
(K4) Reed: The Southern Vowel Shift in Alabama: Regional differentiation or ecological distinction?

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The Southern Vowel Shift in Alabama: Regional differentiation or ecological distinction?

In Alabama, previous research identified two broad dialectal regions— Northern and Southern Alabama. Both regions have been described as participating in the Southern Vowel Shift (SVS). The Northern region was described as having more demographic groups participating in the SVS than the Southern, where the spread of SVS features was more restricted. However, the entire state has undergone demographic shifts with an increase of in-migration and intra-state migration to urban areas, potentially changing this feature boundary. The present study shows that the SVS may be an ecological distinction, with rural speakers exhibiting more SVS features than urban speakers across both Alabama regions. Thus, these results indicate that the former North/South isogloss in Alabama may be dissolving. Instead, an ecological distinction appears to be forming, where features that index the South are now becoming indicative of speakers from rural areas, with the exception of the most iconic feature, /ay/ monophthongization.

Speakers
PR

Paul Reed

University of Alabama


Saturday October 12, 2019 3:40pm - 5:30pm PDT
EMU Ballroom