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North American English regional phonology
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This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. Please help improve this article to make it understandable to non-experts, without removing the technical details. The talk page may contain suggestions. (April 2011) North American English regional phonology is the study of variations in the pronunciation of spoken English by the inhabitants of various parts of North America (United States and Canada). North American English can be divided into several regional dialects based on phonological, phonetic, lexical, and some syntactic features. North American English includes American English, which has several highly developed and distinct regional varieties, along with the closely related Canadian English, which is more homogeneous. American English (especially Western dialects) and Canadian English have more in common with each other than with the many varieties of English outside North America. The most recent work documenting and studying the phonology of North American English dialects as a whole is the Atlas of North American English by William Labov, Sharon Ash, and Charles Boberg, on which much of the description below is based, following on a tradition of sociolinguistics dating to the 1960s; earlier large-scale American dialectology focused more on lexical variation than on phonology.
Contents  [hide]  1 Defining regions of North American speech 2 General American 3 The Midland 3.1 North Midland 3.2 South Midland 3.3 St. Louis and vicinity 3.4 Western Pennsylvania 4 The North 4.1 Inland North 4.1.1 The Northern Cities Vowel Shift 4.2 North Central 4.3 Western New England 5 Northeastern dialects 5.1 Eastern New England 5.1.1 Rhode Island

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02]

2 New York City 5. the free encyclopedia 5.4. Western speech is much more homogeneous because it was settled by English speakers more recently.1 West/Central Canadian English 8.North American English regional phonology . South Carolina 6.2 Footnotes 10 See also 11 External links Defining regions of North American speech [edit] Regional dialects in North America are most strongly differentiated along the Eastern seaboard.Wikipedia. most famous among them the variety that prevails in New York City. Dialects on the East Coast of the continent are most diverse chiefly because the East Coast has been populated by English-speaking people longer than any other region. and imitated prestigious varieties of British English at a time when those varieties were undergoing changes.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] [edit] .3 Charleston. and so there has been less time for the West to diversify into a multiplicity of distinctive accents. and so Western and inland speakers did not imitate the changes in speech from England. General American http://en.2 Other parts of Pennsylvania 5.4 Pennsylvania 5.2 Pacific Northwest English 8 Canadian English 8.3 Canadian Vowel Shift 9 References 9.1 Southern Drawl 6. Philadelphia and New Orleans imposed their marks on the surrounding areas.3 New Jersey 5. A reason for the differences between (on the one hand) Eastern and (on the other hand) Midwestern and Western accents is that the East Coast areas were in contact with England. The Connecticut River is usually regarded as the southern/western extent of New England speech. but African-American speakers are subject to regional variation also.1 California English 7.2 Canadian raising 8.5 Acadiana 6.2 Southern vowel shift 6. while the Potomac River generally divides a group of Northern coastal dialects from the beginning of the Coastal Southern dialect area (distinguished from the Highland Southern or South Midland dialect treated below. Maryland 6 Southern American English 6. as they had no access to the ocean during a time when journeys to Britain were always by sea.6 Miami accent 7 Western Dialect 7. in between these two rivers several local variations exist.4. African American Vernacular English contains many distinctive forms that are more homogeneous from region to region than the accents of white speakers.wikipedia. The interior of the country was settled by people who were no longer closely connected to England.1 Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley 5. The distinctive speech of important cultural centers like Boston ( see Boston accent ).5 Baltimore.1 Bibliography 9.4 New Orleans 6. although outsiders often mistakenly believe that the speech in these two areas is the same).

sorry. The widespread Mary–marry–merry merger and the wine–whine merger are complete in most regions of North America and very common at least in informal and semi-formal varieties of others. prestigious variant of the English language in England.wikipedia. In General American there is a split: the majority of these words have /ɔ r/. The (North) Midland is arguably the major region whose dialect most closely approximates "General American". this is divided into two discrete subdivisions: the "North Midland" that begins north of the Ohio River valley area and the "South Midland" dialect area. (Obviously this only applies to Midland speakers not subject to the cot–caught merger . quarrel. however. and the reduction of vowel contrasts before historic /r/. Unlike RP. Other phonemic mergers present in some speakers in certain regions include the cot– caught merger and the pin–pen merger (a conditional merger). accents with different features can all be perceived as General American provided they lack certain non-standard features. among others: origin. the former is designated simply "Midland" and the latter is reckoned as part of the South. the most formal varieties tend to be more conservative in preserving these phonemic distinctions. horrible. In older and traditional dialectological research. rather. Florida. the phoneme is frequently realized with a central nucleus. /aʊ / has a fronter nucleus than /aɪ/. warren.North American English regional phonology . In some areas of the Midland. and court. tomorrow. words like "roof" and "root" (which in many other dialects have the vowel u ː) are pronounced with the vowel of "book" and "hoof" ʊ . however. One feature that General American is generally agreed to include is rhotic pronunciation. one of the names for the North-Midland boundary is the "'On' line". General American also has yod-dropping after alveolar consonants. A General American accent is not a specific welldefined standardized accent in the way that Received Pronunciation (RP) has historically been the standard. through New Jersey and Philadelphia. Words of this class include. car . which maintains the coda [r] in words like pearl. General American is characterized by the merger of the vowels of words like father and bother. In the New York accent. Likewise. The North Midland and South Midland are both characterized by having a distinctly fronter realization of the /oʊ / phoneme (as in boat ) than many other American accents. on which see below. One phenomenon apparently unique to American accents is the irregular behavior of words that in RP have /ɒ rV/ (where V stands for any vowel). [ citation needed] A common non-phonological feature of the greater Midland area is so-called positive anymore : it has become possible to use the word anymore with the meaning 'nowadays' in sentences without negative polarity.) For this reason. North Midland [edit] http://en. particularly those of the North. the free encyclopedia Main article: General American General American is a notional accent of American English perceived by Americans to be most "neutral" and free of regional characteristics. most or all of these words are pronounced /ɑ r/ by many speakers (Shitara 1993). and in the Carolinas. The Midland [edit] Main article: Midland American English The region of the Midwestern United States west of the Appalachian Mountains begins the broad zone of what is generally called "Midland" speech. such as Air travel is inconvenient anymore. In more recent work such as the Atlas of North American English. all of the words in this class are pronounced /ɔ r/.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] . flapping.Wikipedia. but the last four words of the list above have /ɑ r/. Another feature distinguishing the Midland from the North is that the word on contains the phoneme /ɔ / (as in caught ) rather than /ɑ / (as in cot ). approximating [əʊ ]. In Canadian English. borrow. approaching [æ ʊ ]. and sorrow .

which is complete in approximately half of the rest of North America. most noticeably the smoothing of the diphthong /ɑɪ/ to [aː]. and the second person plural pronoun "you-all" or "y'all. Major cities of this dialect area include Omaha.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] . Louis remains a Midland city in other respects. Iowa. Many speakers show transitional forms of this so-called cot–caught merger . this region shows dialectal features that are now more similar to the rest of the South than the Midland." Unlike the coastal South. The phonology of the South Midland is discussed in greater detail in the section on the South below. have /eɪ/ instead of Standard English /ɛ/ before /ʒ /: thus measure is pronounced /ˈ me ɪʒ. southern Indiana. central Illinois. Louis is the only place that features of the Inland North have penetrated noticeably into the Midland. Although historically more closely related to the North Midland speech. among other changes. the fact that on rhymes with dawn is more distinctive in St. especially among the white working-class urban populace. the accent is locally known there as the "Hoosier Twang". [ citation needed] Some younger speakers have picked up features of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift.Wikipedia. Kansas City.wikipedia. and Oklahoma. [1] Some speakers. and other allophones of /æ/ occupy a continuum of varying degrees of height between those two extremes. Indeed. St. while leaving distinct /or/ (as in four ). old cities of the East and Midwest. A historical feature of the St. The /æ/ phoneme (as in cat ) shows most commonly a so-called "continuous" distribution: /æ/ is raised and tensed toward [eə ] before nasal consonants and remains low [æ] before voiceless stop consonants. central Indiana. which is discussed in detail below in the section on the Inland North. Des Moines. since the cot–caught merger is http://en. and leads to jokes referring to "I farty-far" and "Farest Park". Columbus. the free encyclopedia The North Midland region stretches from east to west across central and southern Ohio. Missouri is historically one among several (North) Midland cities. This vowel shift causes. the South Midland has always been a rhotic dialect. For instance.ɚ /. so that words like cat /kæt/ to become more like [k ʰɛə t]. This merger is less frequently found in younger speakers. A corridor of communities between Chicago and St. Wash (as well as Washington) gains a /r/. Get in that car over there sounds like Get in dat car over dere. Louis dialect is the merger of the phonemes /ɔ r/ (as in for ) and /ɑ r/ (as in far ). pronouncing /r/ wherever it has historically occurred. forming what dialectologists refer to as the "Hoosier Apex" of the South Midland. despite the long boundary the two regions share. west of the Mississippi River. and southern Illinois to southern Missouri. southeastern Kansas. Louis's cultural evolution alongside other northern industrial urban centers.North American English regional phonology . South Midland [edit] The South Midland dialect region follows the Ohio River in a generally southwesterly direction.[ citation needed] The phoneme /ð/ is often replaced with /d/. This speech characteristic is common in most large. Louis and vicinity [edit] St. unlike the North. moving across from Kentucky. Louis. St. becoming /wɔ r ʃ/ ("warsh"). The diphthong /ɔɪ / in standard English becomes more like [ɑːɪ ]. words such as "oil" and "joint" are commonly pronounced awyul and jawynt. reinforcing St. raising and tensing of the vowel /æ/. and Indianapolis. particularly among older speakers within the city and immediate suburbs. Arkansas. Louis than in the rest of the Midland. but it has developed some unique features of its own distinguishing it from the rest of the Midland. as well as Nebraska and Kansas where it begins to blend into the West. For example. and northern Missouri. however. South Indiana is the northernmost extent of the South Midland region. Cincinnati. For example on rhymes with dawn rather than don. However. usually older generations. This area is currently undergoing a vowel merger of the "short o" /ɑ / (as in cot ) and 'aw' /ɔ / (as in caught ) phonemes.

an eastern extension of the North Midland. in the North the nucleus of /aʊ / is further back than that of /aɪ/ and /oʊ / remains a back vowel. the North has /ɑ /. the boundary between the North and Midland is maintained in the same place by phonological and phonetic isoglosses. The North [edit] The dialect area of the United States north of Pennsylvania and the Midland is distinguished from the Midland by a collection of linguistic features whose isoglosses all largely coincide. on which see below. Again. Where the Midland has fronting of /aʊ / and /oʊ /. in part of the north (much of Wisconsin and Minnesota). There is no cot–caught merger in the North (as defined in the Atlas of North American English). Similarly.North American English regional phonology .e.Wikipedia. This is the source of the stereotypical Pittsburgh pronunciation of downtown as "dahntahn". [ citation needed] Western Pennsylvania [edit] The dialect of Western Pennsylvania is. /uː / remains back in all environments. the Western Pennsylvania accent features fronting of /oʊ / and /aʊ /. it has been recently modified by the Northern Cities Vowel Shift. Indeed. in the North the allophone of /uː / after non-coronal consonants remains back. although the merger is in progress in the Midland. Another feature typical of St. Inland North [edit] Main article: Inland Northern American English The Inland North dialect region was once considered the "standard Midwestern" speech that was the basis for General American in the mid-20th century.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] . despite not being directly structurally related to each other. although /uː/ is fronted to the point of being a mid or front vowel in most of the United States and Canada. Canadian raising of /aɪ/—i. The chief distinguishing feature of Western Pennsylvania as a whole is that the cot–caught merger is complete here. not even Sunday . the use of a raised allophone such as [ʌɪ ] for /aɪ/ before voiceless consonants—is very common in the North but infrequent in most of the Midland.. This region is additionally characterized by a sound change that is unique in North America: the monophthongization of /aʊ / to [aː]. Pittsburgh also features an unusually low allophone of /ʌ / (as in cut ). Louis by the presence of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift. whereas it is still in progress in most of the Midland. Dialectologists in the first half of the 20th century distinguished the North from the Midland on the basis of a large collection of lexical isoglosses. Despite the obsolescence of these lexical differences. The Inland North is centered on the area south of the Great Lakes. However. The merger has also spread from Western Pennsylvania into adjacent West Virginia. this feature is less common in the speech of younger generations. and consists of two components http://en. as well as positive anymore . Where the Midland has /ɔ / (as in dawn ) in on . Like the Midland proper.wikipedia. The North is also separated from the Midland by the presence of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift (NCVS). Today the Inland North proper is regarded as the sub-region of the North where the NCVS predominates. historically in the South Midland dialect region. for many purposes. it is present in the part of the North most closely adjacent to the Midland and thus helps to define the boundary. This does not carry over to any other words. Louis speech is the ostensibly unique pronunciation of sundae as sunda /ˈ s ʌ nd ə /. although the NCVS is not found in all parts of the North. the free encyclopedia prevented in St. which is the main feature of this dialect region. mostly dealing with differences in agricultural terms that are now largely obsolete (such as the use of ko-day in the north versus sheepie in the Midland to call sheep from the pasture). The city of Pittsburgh is considered a dialect of its own often known as Pittsburghese. it approaches [ɑ ] (/ ɑ / itself having moved out of the way and become a rounded vowel in its merger with / ɔ /).

The first stage of the shift is the raising. The NCVS is not uniform throughout the Inland North. Gary. including the city of Erie. So. any individual speaker may display some of these six shifts without displaying the others. /ɪ/ is lowered and backed. This results in words like "cat" being pronounced more like "kyat. Note that the region surrounding Erie. causing stalk to sound more like other dialects' stock . including northeastern Pennsylvania and some communities in northern and eastern New York. which is not today part of the linguistic Inland North. central and western New York State (including Syracuse. These two regions are separated by a region of northwestern Pennsylvania. Grand Rapids). In the sixth stage.Wikipedia. Northern Indiana and part of Minnesota show the first stage of the NCVS. In some speakers this fronting is so extreme that their /ɑ / phoneme can be mistaken for /æ/ by speakers of other dialects. Racine. In the fifth stage. and Buffalo). 6. At the eastern fringes are areas in which most speakers display NCVS features only in weak forms if at all. tensing of /æ/. The merger does not occur in the Inland North because NCVS speakers front the /ɑ / phoneme to [a]. Rochester. though. the pin–pen merger does not occur.wikipedia. it is most advanced in Western New York and Michigan. in other regions where such a lowering occurs. The fourth stage is the backing and sometimes lowering of /ɛ/. Binghamton. Although Erie was historically part of the greater Northern dialect region. it is kept distinct from [ɛ] in all contexts. the shifts occur in the order listed above. so speakers who display advanced forms of the later changes will generally be advanced in the earlier changes as well. thus maintaining the distinction between /ɑ / and /ɔ /. However. 5. In this regard. it has not undergone the NCVS. Cleveland. However. and thus the approximate area where the Inland North dialect predominates. and less developed in Cleveland. and diphthongization of /æ/ towards [ɪə]. without any of the other stages." This change occurs for the phoneme /æ/ in all contexts. in contrast with other American dialects in which phonetically similar "æ-tensing" occurs only before nasal consonants.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] . Pennsylvania is excluded. much of Michigan's Lower Peninsula (Detroit. a sound change occurs in the Inland North that is the reverse of most other American dialects (including the Midland): /ʌ / is backer than /ɑ / rather than fronter. or as part of a phonemic split of /æ/ into two phonemes. tensing. the cot–caught merger has taken place in Erie. The lowering of the phoneme /ɔ / is not unique to this region. In the third stage. Kenosha). /ɔ / lowers towards [ɑ ].North American English regional phonology . Chicago. though not necessarily completed. so. Toledo. This shift is in progress across the region. North Central [edit] Main article: North Central American English http://en. 3. The Northern Cities Vowel Shift [edit] Main article: Northern Cities Vowel Shift The NCVS is a chain shift involving movements of six vowel phonemes: This map shows the approximate extent of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift. 2. 4. one tensed and the other still lax. instead. it results in the cot–caught merger . On the whole. so that stuck sounds like stalk in dialects that maintain a [ɔ ] sound in the word stalk. and to the west. 1. the free encyclopedia to the east. /ʌ / is backed towards [ɔ ]. thus for example block approaches the way other dialects pronounce black . The second stage is the fronting of /ɑ / to [aː ]. and Southeastern Wisconsin (Milwaukee. and is on the southern shore of Lake Erie halfway between Buffalo and Cleveland. as a result of heavy influence from Pittsburgh. toward either [ə ] or [æ].

which takes place in the North Central region. Today. [ citation needed] Older speakers in the region may merge /w/ and /v/.[ citation needed] This feature and the foregoing one are again associated with the Scandinavian linguistic substratum. so that. Northeastern dialects [edit] Most of the major cities of the Northeast Megalopolis have distinctive accents that cover smaller regions than the broad "North" and "Midland" categories of the Midwest.[2] Unlike most of the rest of the North. orange . /ð/. has close historical ties to the Inland North: it is from Western New England that the westward migration began that led to the settlement of most upstate New York and the rest of the Inland North. the free encyclopedia The North Central dialect region extends from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan westward across northern Minnesota and North Dakota and into eastern Montana. where the merged cot . One feature shared by all of them is resistance to the Mary–marry–merry merger . such as non-rhoticity or a split of /æ/ into two separate phonemes. The North Central is a linguistically conservative region. among other features. Connecticut and western Massachusetts in particular show the same general phonological system as the Inland North. western Massachusetts. speakers of which were among the largest immigrant groups to this area during its early settlement. Western New England [edit] Western New England. and so on.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] . Similarly. Western New England is distinguished from Eastern New England in that it consists principally of communities settled from the Connecticut and New Haven colonies. merging to an unrounded vowel [a] (unlike in Eastern New England. but subsets of them share several unusual features. in that most Scandinavian languages do not possess /w/. Historically. reflecting the greater dialect diversity of the Northeast. possessing the Mary–marry–merry merger . and not being subject to the caught–cot merger . these dialects retain a distinction between historical short o and long o before intervocalic /r/. The linguistic boundary between Western and Eastern New England has been recognized at least since the 1940s. In Connecticut /ɑ / and /ɔ / remain distinct.North American English regional phonology . Western New England differed from Eastern New England then in being rhotic. These dialects are not all closely related to each other. famously features an exaggerated version of this accent.Wikipedia. Florida. http://en. Although the Atlas of North American English does not include the North Central region as part of the North proper. The North Central region is stereotypically associated with a "sing-songy" intonation which is said to derive from the pitch accent pattern of the Scandinavian languages. In urban Minnesota. an /æ/ that is somewhat higher and tenser than average. making well sound like "vell". or /θ / phonemes.wikipedia. this variation of NCAE is referred to as "Minnewegian. Western New England shares in the principal linguistic features listed above as characteristic of the North. for example. and some speakers show a general tendency in the direction of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift—for instance.caught vowel is back and rounded). an /ɑ / that is fronter than /ʌ /. and Vermont. The movie Fargo. rather than the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies. The caught–cot merger has taken hold comparatively recently in Vermont. the cot–caught merger is prevalent in the North Central region. although the merger shows some evidence of being in progress advancing southward from Vermont. it participates in few of the major ongoing sound changes of North American English. encompassing most of Connecticut. [ citation needed] Older and rural speakers may also merge /ð/ into /d/ and /θ / into /t/. and horrible have a different stressed vowel than story and chorus . it shares all of the features listed above as properties of the North as a whole." a portmanteau of Minnesota and Norwegian.

Eastern New England accents (with the exception of Martha's Vineyard) are traditionally non-rhotic. On the other hand.a system. it shares Eastern New England's traditional non-rhoticity and nasal short. however. Broad A is another feature that Eastern New England shares with southern England. In other words.a system. Many Eastern New England speakers also have a class of words with "broad A"— that is. In the Atlas of North American English. many Eastern New England speakers preserve the distinctions between /i ː/ and /ɪ/ before intervocalic /r/ (as in nearer and mirror). the horse–hoarse merger does not occur. even compared to other communities that do not have the cot–caught merger. is that Rhode Island is subject to the father–bother merger and not the cot–caught merger.North American English regional phonology . Likewise.[ citation needed] Eastern New England has a socalled nasal short. Hence. This region of the United States historically had more contact with British varieties of English (being nearer to the Atlantic coast) and looked to England as a standard of prestige for their speech. As mentioned above. New Hampshire. and Mary. some accents of eastern New England merge /or/ and /ur/. Thus. Most famously. making homophones of pairs like pour / poor . the stressed vowel phonemes of father and bother remain distinct as /aː / and /ɒː/. so that the two words do not rhyme as they do in most American accents. The Eastern New England accent is seemingly unique in North America for not having undergone the so-called father–bother merger: in other words. /aː / as in father in words that in most accents contain /æ/. Rhode Island [edit] Rhode Island is traditionally grouped with the Eastern New England dialect region. such as bath . Like some other east-coast accents as well as AAVE. the city of Providence (the only community in Rhode Island sampled by the Atlas) is also distinguished by having the backest realizations of /uː /. [ho ə s] for hoarse. the free encyclopedia Eastern New England Main article: Boston accent [edit] The Eastern New England dialect area encompasses Maine. the /æ/ phoneme has highly distinct allophones before nasal consonants. Eastern New England retains the distinction between the vowel phonemes of marry . as well as the distinction between / ʌ / and /ɝ / before intervocalic /r/ (as in hurry and furry). cores/ Coors etc. merging the cot and caught classes to a back rounded vowel. and eastern Massachusetts (including Greater Boston). Rhode Island shares with New York and Philadelphia an unusually high and back allophone of /ɔ / (as in caught ). the Eastern New England dialect has in some respects more similarities with British English than many other dialects of American English have. including Canadian raising of /aɪ/ and minimal fronting of /aʊ / and /oʊ /. merry . but it possesses enough distinctive features of its own to distinguish it from the North as a separate dialect system. /oʊ /. A key linguistic difference between Rhode Island and the rest of the Eastern New England. both by the dialectologists of the mid–20th century and by the Atlas of North American English. unlike dialects of England.[ citation needed] The distinction between the vowels of horse and hoarse is maintained in traditional non-rhotic New England accents as [hɒːs] for horse (with the same vowel as cot and caught ) vs. more / moor .Wikipedia. [ɒː]. the Eastern New England dialect is subject to the cot–caught merger.wikipedia. half. and can't . and /aʊ / in North America. Southern New Hampshire has been reported as retreating from some of the more distinctive features of the Eastern New England dialect region. New York City [edit] Main article: New York dialect http://en. The dialect spoken here shares features with the greater North dialect region. Indeed.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] . tore /tour .

It also maintains the cot–caught contrast . Nevertheless there are differences between modern Philadelphia speech and General American. than that of New Jersey. day) it is a wide diphthong similar to that of Australian English. is often more close to a Brooklyn accent. as in the Midland and South. mainly regarding the rhotic feature. The /oʊ / of goat and boat is fronted. so that. that is. the free encyclopedia As in Eastern New England. is probably the original ancestor of General American. Fewer words have the tense variant in Philadelphia than in New York City. New Jersey [edit] Main article: New Jersey English Pennsylvania [edit] [edit] Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley Main article: Philadelphia accent The accent of Philadelphia and nearby parts of Pennsylvania. morning. mourning with the /ɔ r/ of horse. See English-language vowel changes before historic r: "Historic 'short o' before intervocalic r". the first tense and the second lax. "Water" is sometimes pronounced [wʊɾər]. The vowels of cot [k ɑ t] and caught [k ɔ t] are distinct. but unlike General American. horrible . and one of the first to merge the historical /or/ of hoarse. the accents of New York City and adjoining New Jersey cities are traditionally non-rhotic. On is pronounced /ɔ n/. with the vowel of wood As in New York City. slave and sleeve . As in New York City and Boston. Furthermore. mad and sad have different vowels. but nevertheless still exists to some degree among Brooklyn natives.[ citation needed] Other parts of Pennsylvania [edit] See also: Pittsburgh dialect. some of which. and Maryland. New Jersey. The accent is well attested in American movies and television shows. Bugs Bunny and Groucho Marx both speak with a Brooklyn accent in their films. there is a three-way distinction between Mary. it is a particular socio-ethnic accent. as in the South and Midland (and unlike New York and the North) it rhymes with dawn rather than don. as described in Labov. in fact the New York dialect has the highest realizations of /ɔ / in North American English. and Pennsylvania Dutch English Baltimore. and merry . although in fact research has found no variation between the different boroughs of New York per se. approaching [oə ] or even [ʊə ]. Commonly confused words include eight and eat . Ash. The phoneme /æ/ undergoes tensing in some words. Northeast Pennsylvania English. A recent development is a merger of the vowel of merry with Murray . date ) it is very narrow and resembles /i/. It is often referred to more narrowly as the "Bronx" or "Brooklyn accent".North American English regional phonology . set in Essex County. marry. unlike New England and western Pennsylvania. & Boberg (2006) and Labov (2001). The accent is often exaggerated.wikipedia. are pronounced with /ɑ r/. Delaware. It is one of the few coastal accents that is rhotic. Central Pennsylvania accent. The vowel of cart is back and rounded [k ɒːt] instead of fronted as it is in Boston.Wikipedia. etc. Maryland [edit] http://en. the dialect portrayed on this television show does not apply to citizens of the entire state.. will be outlined here. so it is pronounced [əʊ].org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] . words like orange . The English used in the popular television show The Sopranos. for instance. while in any other position (for example. New Jersey. Canadian raising occurs for /aɪ/ ( price ) but not for /aʊ / ( mouth ) There is a split of /eɪ/ ( face ) so at the end of a word (for example. snake and sneak. especially ones about American mobsters.

[n]. Some generalizations include: The conditional merger of [ɛ] and [ɪ] before nasal consonants. [θ ]. glides ([j]. the /i/ and /e/ relax and become less front.North American English regional phonology . the initial vowel is often lengthened and prolonged. yielding [æ ː w]. the y sound) are inserted before [u] after the consonants [t]. This is the principal feature that distinguishes South Midland speech from the non-rhotic coastal Southern varieties. and [ɛ] to become a mid front unrounded vowel. raising of [æ] to [e]. South Carolina has a very distinctive southern accent that encompasses elements of standard British English and American Southern English. moves across Arkansas and Oklahoma west of the Mississippi. South Carolina [edit] Charleston. Lax and tense vowels often merge before /l/ The South Midland dialect follows the Ohio River in a generally southwesterly direction. This particular shift probably does not occur for speakers with the cot–caught merger. before [n]. most noticeably the loss of the diphthong [ɑɪ]. raising of initial vowel of [au] to [æu]. South Midlands speech is rhotic. Upheavals such as the Great Depression. Southern Drawl [edit] The Southern Drawl. with additional French-Huguenot influences. which becomes [ɑː]. the free encyclopedia Main article: Baltimore dialect Southern American English [edit] Main article: Southern American English Few generalizations can be made about Southern pronunciation as a whole. [s]. and [l]. which in turn moves up towards the old location of /u/ in "boon". The back vowels /u/ in "boon" and /o/ in "code" shift considerably forward. as there is great variation between regions in the South (see different southern American English dialects for more information) and between older and younger people. or the diphthongization/triphthongization of the traditional short front vowels as in the words pat . yod-dropping does not occur. [d]. pet .wikipedia. that is to say. [z]. Unlike most American English. Charleston. and the second person plural pronoun "you-all" or "y'all.Wikipedia. It is a version of the Midland speech that has assimilated some coastal Southern forms. etc. for example." South Midlands speech is characterized by: monophthongization of [ai] as [aː]. Southern American English as we know it today began to take its current shape only after World War II. but like British English. and peters out in West Texas. In a parallel shift. http://en. diphthongs. esp. and pit: these develop a glide up from their original starting position to [j]. /æ/ → [æj ə ] / ɛ/ → [ ɛj ə ] / ɪ / → [ ɪ jə ] Southern vowel shift [edit] [ ɪ] moves to become a high front vowel. The open back unrounded vowel /ɑ r/ "card" shifts upward towards /ɔ / "board". the Dust Bowl and World War II have caused mass migrations throughout the United States. the pin–pen merger. nasalization of vowels. and then in some cases back down to schwa. The diphthong /aɪ/ becomes monophthongized to /aː /.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] . can't → cain't. most dialects' "I" → "Ah" in the South.

as well as pronunciation of cot and caught as [k ɑ t] and [k ɔ t].or third-generation Hispanics. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Perhaps the most distinctive New Orleans accent is locally nicknamed "yat". (November 2006) Parallels include the split of the historic short-a class into tense [eə ] and lax [æ] versions. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. both of which played influential parts in Charleston's development and history. though it has mostly receded today. [3] Western Dialect [edit] The Western United States is the largest dialect region in the United States. Jefferson Parish. It developed among second. they can still be found in parts of Mid-City and the 9th ward. One of the most detailed phonetic depictions of an extreme "yat" accent of the early 20th century is found in the speech of the character Krazy Kat in the comic strip of the same name by George Herriman. These facts can both be attributed to the fact that the West is the region most recently settled by English speakers. is widely spoken. that some regions of the West are beginning to diverge from each other linguistically. from a traditional greeting "Where y'at" ("Where are you at?". A number of people in this area speak a variety of Cajun French.wikipedia. The stereotypical New York curl–coil merger of "toity-toid street" (33rd Street) used to be a common New Orleans feature. Canada. although the number has been declining in recent years. and it also incorporates a rhythm and pronunciation heavily influenced by Spanish. a unique accent. such as the raising for /aj/ and /aw/. Acadiana [edit] English speakers in this specific region of southwest Louisiana (also referred to as Cajun country) have carried over many words and phrases from the colonial French (i.[ citation needed] http://en. whose first language was English. with a silent r. just east of New Orleans. as well as in St. The novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole is generally considered the best depiction of New Orleans accents in literature. New Orleans [edit] This section does not cite any references or sources. Some attribute these unique features of Charleston's speech to its early settlement by the French Huguenots and Sephardi Jews. mostly Cuban-Americans. and the one with the fewest distinctive phonological features. to which a standard listener would hear "Chahls-ton". While such extreme "yat" accents are no longer so common in the city.North American English regional phonology . commonly called the "Miami accent". and so there has not been sufficient time for the region either to develop highly distinctive innovations or to split into strongly distinct dialectological subregions. the speech patterns were more influenced by the dialect of the Gullah African-American community. There is some evidence. though. meaning "How are you?"). Charlestonian speakers inglide long mid vowels.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] . the free encyclopedia However. The most distinguishing feature of this accent is the way speakers pronounce the name of the city.e. Bernard Parish. given Charleston's high concentration of African-Americans that spoke the Gullah language. Alone among the various regional Southern dialects. It is based on a fairly standard American accent but with some changes very similar to accents in the Northeast. Acadia) because of the eviction of early French colonials by the British and their voluntary resettlement in Louisiana. Miami accent [edit] In Miami.Wikipedia.

wikipedia. However. so "putt" can sound slightly similar to "pet".[ citation needed] [ ɛ] as [eɪ] before /ɡ /. and any single Californian's speech may have only some of the changes identified below. as in bait. so "thank" is pronounced "thaynk". / ɪ/ is raised to [i]. California English possesses a new chain vowel shift known as the California vowel shift: Before / ŋ /. so "cat" sounds closer to "caht".org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] . based on a diagram by Penelope Eckert Pacific Northwest English [edit] Main article: Pacific Northwest English Pacific Northwest English is fairly similar to other areas of the West. The Pacific Northwest also has some of the features of the California vowel shift and the Canadian vowel shift: /æ/ is raised and diphthongized to [eə ] before nasals by some speakers. / ʌ / towards [ɛ]. and Northern Washington has some features similar to West/Central Canadian English such as the Canadian Shift. The pin–pen merger is complete in Bakersfield. / ɛ/ toward [æ]. The vowels /uː / ("blue") and /oʊ / ("mope") are pronounced closer to the front of the mouth. so "kettle" sounds like "cattle". so "king" has the same vowel of "keen" rather than "kin". and [æ] as [eɪ] before /ɡ / and /ŋ /: "leg" and "lag" pronounced [leɪɡ]. Further diphthongization of [ɛ] as [ɛɪ ]: "egg" and "leg" are pronounced "ayg" and "layg". before / ŋ / it may be identified with the phoneme /e/. have acquired qualities much closer to monophthongs. A notable exception to the cot–caught merger may be found within the city limits of San Francisco. the free encyclopedia California English [edit] Main article: California English There are several phonological processes which have been identified as being particular to California English. So "ban" is pronounced /be ə n/.North American English regional phonology . these shifts are by no means universal in Californian speech. California English also possesses the following features: Traditionally diphthongal vowels such as [oʊ ] as in boat and [eɪ]. especially by older speakers. / ʊ / is moving towards [ʌ ]. so "put" sounds more like "putt".Wikipedia. http://en. The accent of Southern Oregon shares several features of California English (such as the California vowel shift). [5] The California vowel shift. and speakers in Sacramento either perceive or produce the pairs /ɛn/ and /ɪn/ close to each other. Arizona. Elsewhere /æ/ is lowered in the direction of [a]. [4] /æ/ is raised and diphthongized to [eə ] or [ɪə] before nasal consonants. depending on the region. / ɑ / toward [ɔ ]: "cot" and "caught" are moving closer to General American "caught". and Oregon often demonstrate this Californian shift. or even none of them. Nevada. "tang" pronounced [te ɪŋ]. It possesses features shared in common with California English and West/Central Canadian English.

In most varieties of American English pairs such as pouter/powder and rider/writer are pronounced exactly the same.Wikipedia. [ citation needed] Other features of the California vowel shift are mostly found in Southern Oregon. and many of these speakers do not raise /aɪ/ before voiceless consonants. the starting point of the diphthong raises from an open central vowel to a mid one. /ɛ/. Canadian raising and the Canadian vowel shift are the most distinctive features. It is receding in British Columbia. those American English speakers whose dialects include either the full or restricted Canadian raising will pronounce them as [ˈ ra ɪɾɚ ] and [ˈ r ʌɪɾɚ ]. Indeed. ride is pronounced [ra ɪd] but with write .[ citation needed] Canadian Vowel Shift Main article: Canadian Shift [edit] The cot–caught merger creates a hole in the short vowel sub-system [6] and triggers a sound change known as the Canadian Shift. but a related phenomenon. of much wider distribution throughout the United States.wikipedia. True Canadian raising affects both /aʊ / and /aɪ/. and led by Ontarians and women. The /æ/ of bat is retracted to [a] (except before nasals). the pronunciation of English in most of Canada. The vowels in the words cot and caught merge to [ɒ ]. Most other speakers of American English do not possess these allophonic sounds ([ ʌʊ] and [ʌɪ ]) but the pronunciation is still marked. is very similar to the pronunciation of English found in the Western United States. Canada has relatively less dialectal diversity compared to the United States and other English-speaking countries. when a diphthong is followed by the voiceless consonants such as /p/ /t/ /k/ /f/ and some others. Canadian raising is quite strong in most of Ontario and the Maritimes as well as in the Prairies. Younger speakers in the Lower Mainland do not even raise /aʊ /. Some stand-up and situation comedians. however. For example. and especially in Central and Western Canada. the free encyclopedia /æ/ is lowered in the direction of [a] by some. affects only /aɪ/. it involves the front lax vowels /æ/. a low back rounded vowel. This feature means that the nucleus of the diphthongs /aɪ/ and /aʊ / are "raised" before voiceless consonants.North American English regional phonology . Canadian raising [edit] Main article: Canadian raising A number of Canadians have a distinct feature called "Canadian raising" (Chambers 1973). West/Central Canadian English [edit] Main article: West/Central Canadian English The most common variety of Canadian English the one spoken in West/Central Canada. because the diphthong is followed by a /t/. In Canadian English. and in many cases is misheard (or deliberately exaggerated) as "aboot the hoos". Overall. The phonetics and phonology for most of Canada are very similar to that of the Western and Midlands regions of the United States. So. /æ/ is lower in this variety than almost all other North http://en. Canadian English [edit] Main article: Canadian English Canadian English (CanE) is the variety of North American English used in Canada. whereas the General American pronunciations of rider and writer are identical ([ra ɪɾɚ ]). mainly found in Ontario. The Canadian pronunciation of "about the house" may sound like "a boat the hoas" to speakers of dialects without the raising. / ɪ/.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] . the diphthong raises and the word is pronounced [rʌɪ t]. respectively. English-speaking Montreal and further west. It is also found scattered throughout the Western United States. as well as television shows (such as South Park) exaggerate the pronunciation to *"aboot the hoos" for comic effect.

^ Charles Boberg. 2006. The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States (4th edition). Speech Hearing and Language 7 : 201–32. 68. Word 19 (1963): 273–309. Accents of English. 219. ^ "'Miami Accent' Takes Speakers By Surprise" . The Atlas of North American English. Economie des changements phonetiques. Retrieved 24 July 2008. p. American Voices: How Dialects Differ from Coast to Coast. ^ Wolfram and Ward. K. John H. Robert Hagiwara. "A survey of American pronunciation preferences". the free encyclopedia American dialects. 1982. studies actually disagree on the trajectory of the shift. Labov. Retrieved 2012-10-08. editors (2006).2 (1973): 113–35. Allan (2000). McCarthy. Petersburg 1. John 38. Malden. "Vowel production in Winnipeg". Berne: Francke. 2004). ISBN 0-7627-2836-1 Brigham Young University Linguistics Department Research Teams BYU "Utah English" Research Team's Homepage "How We Talk: American Regional English Today" by Allan A. William (2001). segment on All Things Considered . Yuko (1993). A case of surface constraint violation. 7. William. William. New York: Knopf. "The Canadian Shift in Montreal". Canadian Journal of Linguistics Metcalf. 1997. Principles of Linguistic Change: Social Factors .sun-sentinel.[7] the retraction of /æ/ was independently observed in Vancouver [8] and is more advanced for Ontarians and women than for people from the Prairies or Atlantic Canada and men. and Henry J. Mencken. ^ Martinet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.[9] Then.wikipedia. June 13. Chambers. Articles. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 18. ISBN 0-631-17916-X. Labov. H. 2000.: Blackwell. W. Houghton Mifflin. How We Talk . Sharon Ash.North American English regional phonology . ^ Robin McMacken (May 9. George Mason University. ^ Labov p.1 (1997): 107-120. 1977). ^ Penny Eckert. / ɛ/ and /ɪ/ are lowered in the direction of [æ] and [ɛ] and/or retracted. "Utahnics". (2004) Insiders' Guide: Salt Lake City (4th ed. The Speech Accent Archive Walsh M: Vermont Accent: Endangered Species? . ISBN 3-11-016746-8. Shitara. Wells. J. 5. The Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 3-11-016746-8. Rainey." http://en. Mass. Metcalf. 1995 Walt Wolfram and Ben Ward. Rebecca V. ^ Labov. "Canadian raising"." 10. 22 September 2004. 6. Berlin: Mouton-de Gruyter. Andre 1955. Roeder and Lidia Jarmasz. Language Variation and Change 9. (1993). Berlin: Mouton-de Gruyter. 8. Virginia.Wikipedia. The Atlas of North American English . National Public Radio February 16. Houghton Mifflin. California vowels . Footnotes [edit] . city". 3. 128. and Charles Boberg (2006). St. [10] References Bibliography [edit] [edit] Labov. 68. and Charles Boberg (2006). "Canadian raising in a midwestern U. Charles Boberg. Retrieved 2008-02-22. "Sounding Canadian from Coast to Coast: Regional accents in Canadian English. p. "North Dakota: Where the accent is on friendship" Times. "The Canadian Shift in Toronto. MA: Blackwell Publishing." 9. ^ Esling. Dailey-O'Cain. C. 2. J.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] .) . Sharon Ash. L. ^ Labov et al. Warkentyne (1993).com . (1936. 4. p. repr. J. Burlington Free Press February 28. "The social motivation of a sound change". Malden. Boston. 2004.S. "Retracting of /æ/ in Vancouver English. 169–95.

the free encyclopedia See also [edit] American English Canadian English Old Virginia accent External links [edit] . Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation.org/wiki/American_accent[30/05/2013 14:24:02] .. Penny Eckert's Web Page [hide] Vowel Shifts in Northern California and the Detroit Suburbs v · t· e· Dialects and accents of Modern English by continent United Kingdom Europe Black Country · Brummie · Cheshire · Cockney · Cornish · Cumbrian · East Anglian · East Midlands · Essex · Estuary · Geordie · Kentish · Lancashire · Mackem · Manchester · Mockney · Mummerset (mocking) · Multicultural London · Norfolk · Northern · Pitmatic · Potteries · Received Pronunciation · Scottish (Highland) · Scouse · Southern · Suffolk dialect · Sussex · West Midlands · Welsh (Cardiff) · West Country · Yorkshire · Cork · Dublin · Mid-Ulster · Gibraltarian · Guernsey · Jersey · Manx · African American Vernacular · Appalachian · Baltimorese · Boston · Cajun · California · Central Pennsylvania · Chicano · General American · Hawai'i · Hudson Valley · Inland Northern American · Midland · New England · New Jersey · New York City · New York Latino English · North–Central American · Northeast Pennsylvania · Ozark · Pacific Northwest · Pennsylvania Dutch · Philadelphia · Pittsburgh · Southern American · Texan · Tidewater · Vermont · Western · Yat · Yeshivish · Yooper · Aboriginal · Cape Breton · Lunenburg · Maritimer · Newfoundland · Ottawa Valley Twang · Pacific Northwest · Quebec · West-Central Canadian · Bahamian · Barbadian · Belizean · Bermudian · Caribbean · Jamaican · English in Puerto Rico · Trinidadian · Ireland Other United States North America Canada Other Australia Oceania Other South America Africa Asia Australian · Broad Australian · Variation in Australian English · Torres Strait · South Australian · Western Australian · Australian Aboriginal · New Zealand · Solomon Islands · Palauan · Fijian English · Falkland Islands · Guyanese · Cameroon · Liberian · Malawian · Namibian · Nigerian · South African · Ugandan · Burmese · Hong Kong · Indian · Malaysian · Pakistani · Filipino · Singaporean · Sri Lankan · Categories: American English North American English Canadian English English phonology This page was last modified on 24 May 2013 at 10:05.wikipedia. additional terms may apply. a non-profit organization. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. By using this site. Inc.North American English regional phonology . Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers Contact Wikipedia Mobile view http://en. you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.Wikipedia.