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The Northern Cities Shift in real- and apparent-time: Evidence from Chicago Corrine McCarthy George Mason University.

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Presentation on theme: "The Northern Cities Shift in real- and apparent-time: Evidence from Chicago Corrine McCarthy George Mason University."— Presentation transcript:

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2 The Northern Cities Shift in real- and apparent-time: Evidence from Chicago Corrine McCarthy George Mason University

3 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)

4 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.

5 Research Questions Apparent-time data from Chicagoans: –Is either movement still active? Archival data from speakers born : –What did the Shift look like in the early 1900s? –When did these movements begin?

6 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

7 /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

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9 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 –3 “early”: –3 “late”: women, 1 man

10 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)

11 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

12  F1 /æ/ < /e/  All ingliding F1 /æn/ < /æ/ Early: Willie, born 1891

13  F1 /æ/ < /e/  All ingliding  F1 /æn/ < /æ/ Early: Dorothy, born 1891

14  F1 /æ/ < /e/  All ingliding F1 /æn/ < /æ/ Early: Helen, born 1894

15  F1 /æ/ < /e/  All ingliding  F1 /æn/ < /æ/ Late: Eleanor, born 1909

16 F1 /æ/ < /e/ All ingliding F1 /æn/ < /æ/ Late: Shirley, born 1918

17 F1 /æ/ < /e/ All ingliding F1 /æn/ < /æ/ Late: Lucy, born 1919

18 /ah/: Mean (standard deviation) SpeakerNF1F2 Dorothy21918 (54)1430 (107) Willie36823 (77)1421 (83) Helen8908 (64)1625 (73) Eleanor19852 (65)1581 (91) Shirley19863 (61)1608 (80) Lucy24868 (67)1488 (132)

19 /æ/: Mean (standard deviation) First pointSecond point NF1F2F1F2 Dorothy25730 (75)2170 (182)783 (96)1940 (143) Willie29739 (64)1849 (144)780 (52)1839 (129) Helen13761 (54)2237 (338)798 (60)2082 (309) Eleanor24607 (75)2004 (186)696 (66)1886 (114) Shirley12698 (73)2112 (261)783 (62)1788 (174) Lucy23515 (79)2349 (189)763 (80)1815 (168)

20 First pointSecond point NF1F2F1F2 Dorothy12758 (75)2128 (217)780 (83)2024 (161) Willie18670 (49)1943 (170)668 (74)1869 (107) Helen3732 (40)2323 (202)806 (17)2083 (168) Eleanor13637 (90)2050 (135)725 (67)1903 (123) Shirley8626 (97)2175 (174)733 (104)1888 (140) Lucy10478 (43)2505 (108)756 (87)1886 (105) /æn/: Mean (standard deviation)

21 First pointSecond point NF1F2F1F2 Dorothy12690 (67)1787 (185)694 (120)2050 (93) Willie12712 (57)1811 (168)746 (67)1907 (148) Helen2755 (46)1895 (154)746 (59)2230 (79) Eleanor6586 (97)1878 (77)627 (93)2015 (90) Shirley10728 (88)2008 (156)788 (83)1906 (154) Lucy9609 (137)2252 (185)778 (81)1975 (106) /æg/: Mean (standard deviation)

22 /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

23 /ah/ No clear evidence for development. All speakers’ /ah/ is within one standard deviation unit of the mean for modern Chicago /ah/.

24 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.

25 References Gordon, Matthew J Small Town Values, Big City Vowels: A Study of the Northern Cities Shift in Michigan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Kurath, Hans & McDavid, Raven The Pronunciation of English in the Atlantic States. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Labov, William, Sharon Ash & Charles Boberg The Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, Phonology and Sound Change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Thomas, Erik R An acoustic analysis of vowel variation in New World English. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Thomas, Erik R. & Tyler Kendall NORM: The vowel normalization and plotting suite. [ Online Resource: ] 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:


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