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Saturday, October 12 • 3:40pm - 5:30pm
(L1) Haddican et al.: The arrival of back vowel fronting in New York City English

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The arrival of back vowel fronting in New York City English

New York City English (NYCE) has generally been described as conservative with respect to back vowel fronting (BVF) (Labov et al., 2005). This poster reports on a production study with 97 subjects suggesting extensive diffusion of BVF in NYCE, with age effects for fronting in TOO, HOOP, GOAT and FOOT lexical sets starting with subjects born in the late 1970’s. Importantly, modeling revealed no effects of subject ethnicity, gender or occupational prestige group, unlike descriptions of similar changes in other communities. The absence of strong effects of ethnicity also makes BVF unlike two other vocalic changes recently described for NYCE, namely THOUGHT-lowering and change to a nasal short-a system. Moreover, BVF correlates weakly across speakers with use of innovative variants for THOUGHT and short-a. These results suggest that BVF indexes a different set of social meanings than the low-vowel changes, which are more prominent in local metalinguistic discourse (Cutler, 2018).


William Haddican

CUNY-Queens College

Cece Cutler

Professor, Lehman College
My current NSF project with Christina Tortora, Michael Newman, Bill Haddican and Beatrice Santorini to create a 1M word audio aligned and parsed corpus of New York City English.

Alessa Farinella

CUNY-Queens College

Tsu Zhu

CUNY-Queens College

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