The Northern Cities Shift in real- and apparent-time: Evidence from Chicago Corrine McCarthy George Mason University
The Northern Cities Shift cat caught but bit cot, father bet i e æ oh ʌ o~ah 1 2 based on Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006)
Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006): “The raising of /æ/ and the fronting of /o/ were the initial movements, though both the geography and real time are ambiguous in regard to their ordering” (ANAE: 191). PEAS (Kurath & McDavid 1961): sporadic /æ/ raising, /ah/ fronting in Upstate NY. Thomas (2000): acoustic evidence for /ah/ shifting, lack of /æ/ raising in N. Ohio speaker born in 1878.
Research Questions Apparent-time data from Chicagoans: –Is either movement still active? Archival data from speakers born 1891- 1919: –What did the Shift look like in the early 1900s? –When did these movements begin?
Chicago’s vowels today From a larger study based on 36 Chicagoans, divided into 3 age groups (under 35, 39-49, over 55): /ah/ mean F2: 1486 Hz –just back of center: [a], not [æ] –no significant effect of age; no longer a change in progress (F=1.52; p=.23) –no significant effect of sex
/æ/ mean F1: 593 Hz, F2: 2028 Hz –565 Hz (women); 631 Hz (men) –all raised, but /æn/ higher than /æ/ elsewhere –all either ingliding or bimoraic (“broken”) –no significant effect of age (F1: F=.25; p=.78; F2: F=2.43; p=.13) Neither /æ/ nor /ah/ shows evidence for a change in progress in Chicago. Chicago’s vowels today
Method 6 archival recordings made with native Chicagoans (from city and suburbs) –4 from Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), 2 from radio archive of Chicago Historical Society Born between 1891-1919 –3 “early”: 1891-1894 –3 “late”: 1909-1919 5 women, 1 man
Method Acoustic analysis in Praat: All major vowels from spontaneous speech and/or DARE reading passage /ah/: single point measurement /æ/: two points: nucleus and ‘glide’; divided into 3 environments pre-nasal: /æn/ ‘hand’, ‘family’ pre-post-alveolar (velars and alveopalatals): /æg/ ‘crash’, ‘track’, ‘bag’ elsewhere: /æ/ Normalized using TELSUR’s G method (Thomas & Kendall 2007)
Characteristics of modern Chicago vowels Shifted /ah/: –within 1 st. dev. unit of modern Chicago’s mean: over 1413 Hz Shifted /æ/: –/æ/ nucleus has lower F1, higher F2 (higher and fronter) than /e/ –all environments have an inglide –pre-nasal (/æn/) favors increased raising
F1 /æ/ < /e/ All ingliding F1 /æn/ < /æ/ Early: Willie, born 1891
F1 /æ/ < /e/ All ingliding F1 /æn/ < /æ/ Early: Dorothy, born 1891
F1 /æ/ < /e/ All ingliding F1 /æn/ < /æ/ Early: Helen, born 1894
F1 /æ/ < /e/ All ingliding F1 /æn/ < /æ/ Late: Eleanor, born 1909
F1 /æ/ < /e/ All ingliding F1 /æn/ < /æ/ Late: Shirley, born 1918
F1 /æ/ < /e/ All ingliding F1 /æn/ < /æ/ Late: Lucy, born 1919
/æ/ Overall: /æ/ shows development from early to late speakers –reversal of /æ/ and /e/ F1 values not seen until late –/æg/ often has a front glide until late –/æn/ advantage not seen until late –only the latest speakers (Eleanor, Lucy) are within 1 st. dev. unit of the modern mean
/ah/ No clear evidence for development. All speakers’ /ah/ is within one standard deviation unit of the mean for modern Chicago /ah/.
Conclusions Late emergence of /æ/ raising is more consistent with Thomas (2000)’s chronology. –Evidence for tensing (fronting) prior to raising. Over a span of 30 years, /æ/ shows evidence of very quick shifting. /ah/ fronting may be an earlier but more gradual development.
References Gordon, Matthew J. 2001. Small Town Values, Big City Vowels: A Study of the Northern Cities Shift in Michigan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Kurath, Hans & McDavid, Raven. 1961. The Pronunciation of English in the Atlantic States. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Labov, William, Sharon Ash & Charles Boberg. 2006. The Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, Phonology and Sound Change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Thomas, Erik R. 2000. An acoustic analysis of vowel variation in New World English. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Thomas, Erik R. & Tyler Kendall. 2007. NORM: The vowel normalization and plotting suite. [ Online Resource: http://ncslaap.lib.ncsu.edu/tools/norm/ ] Joan H. Hall and the staff of the Dictionary of American Regional English GMU Department of English, Linguistics Program, and College of Humanities and Social Sciences Research Assistants: Judy Hadley, Tel Monks, Megan Scrivener Acknowledgements Internet materials View this Powerpoint file, including larger vowel plots at: http://mason.gmu.edu/~cmccart6/research.html