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The Mysterious Uniformity of the Northern Cities Shift. William Labov, University of Pennsylvania. Methods XIII Leeds August 8, 2008. William Labov Home Page www.ling.upenn.edu/~labov. Some substantial differences in dialectology. New World Old World
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William Labov, University of Pennsylvania
Methods XIII Leeds August 8, 2008
New World Old World
Time Depth 200 years 2000 years
Spatial range 3000 mile 500 miiles
Major tendency Divergence Dialect leveling
Variables Phonological Phonological/Morphological,
Level of awareness Low High
The discovery of the NCS in several Northern cities.
The triggering event of the NCS in western New York state.
The westward expansion to the Inland North.
Differentiation of the NCS by social class and gender.
The uniformity of the NCS throughout the Inland North.
Ideological background from settlement history.
Modern day reflections. . .
Word Phrase Sentence
1 . ______ _____________ ___________________
2. ______ _____________ ___________________
3. ______ _____________ ___________________
4. ______ _____________ ___________________
• designed to obtain a comprehensive view of the phonological changes in progress in the English of North America
• a telephone survey of all cities of population 50,000 and over
• names chosen from local telephone directories, concentrating on major ethnic groups of that city
• first 2 subjects who were locally born and raised accepted as representative of that city (4 to 6 in the largest cities)
• 762 speakers interviewed representing 325 cities, most 1992-1999
conversation on local developments
elicitation of particular words
perception and production of minimal pairs
e.g., what’s the difference between a bag and a sack?
• acoustic analyses of systems of 439 speakers, 130,000 vowels
• provided data for the Atlas of North American English, (Berlin: Mouton/degruyter, 2006.
Sharon K. is an advanced speaker of the Northern Cities Shift. Listen
for the raising and fronting of short a in Catholic, adding, taxes, fact
fronting of short /o/ inmodeling, lot
backing of short /e/ insend, went, sending
fronting of /ay/ in nine
backing of /i/ in tuition
Yeah, well I send my kids to private school, but--across the street from me is a Catholic school, y’know I send ‘em there. I went there, in fact I live in the house that I grew up in. We’re re-modeling right now, uh adding on to the family room, and doing the work. We-we like the neighborhood, and we feel very comfortable here. We like all the neighbors, y’know, neighbors I’ve known since I was nine. Bishop Parity behind us, but I don’t know if we’re gonna be sending him there. The tuition could be very expensive. As it is now, we’re paying a lot for public. . .Y’know we pay a lot of--taxes are very high here.
Kniffen and Glassie 1966, Fig. 7
Mass migrations were indeed congenial to the Puritan tradition. Whole parishes, parson and all, had sometimes migrated from Old England. Lois Kimball Mathews mentioned 22 colonies in Illinois alone, all of which originated in New England or in New York, most of them planted between 1830 and 1840.
--Richard L. Power, Planting Corn Belt Culture: The Impress of the Upland Southerner and Yankee in the old Northwest, 1953. P. 14.
The impact on the rest of the State can be seen by looking at a modern map. With the exception of Binghamton and Elmira, every major city in New York falls along the trade route established by the Erie Canal, from New York City to Albany, through Schenectady, Utica and Syracuse, to Rochester and Buffalo. Nearly 80% of upstate New York's population lives within a 25 miles of the Erie Canal.
The Erie Canal: A Brief History
No established village had ever mushroomed so rapidly [as Rochester], growing from 1507 to 9207 within a ten year span
- Blake McKelvey, A Panoramic View of Rochester History. Rochester History 11:2-24.
--A. Wexler. Atlas of Westward Expansion. NY: Facts on File, 1995. p. 64
TRAP LOT THOUGHT DRESS STRUT
Source: Eckert 2000
--Kniffen & Glassie 1966. Fig. 27
EQ: /æ/ higher and backer than /e/
AE1: /æ/ < 700 Hz
UD: /^/ back of /o/
ED: F2(e) - F2(o) < 375 Hz
EQ: /e/ higher than /æ/
UD: /^/ front of /o/
AE1: /æ/ > 700 Hz
ED: F2(e) - F2(o) > 375 (523 Hz)
The Inland North
Tie, tied and tIght: the expansion of /ay/ monophthongization in African-American and European-American speech in Memphis, Tennessee. Journal of Sociolinguistics 7:279-298, 2000.
Age Female Years of
25 yrs Gender Education
AE1 34* 8.6*
EQ 34* 26*
ED 112*** H.S. -68*
UD 37 -16*
*** P < .001, * P < .05
Yankee Virginia Quaker Upland South
Settlement Towns Plantations Farm Isolated villages clusters
House location Roadside Setback Corner- Creek clusters & spring
Internal Low Moderate High Very high migration
Persistence 75-96% 50-75% 40-60% 25-40%
David Hackett Fisher, Albion’s Seed, p. 814
...among the new arrivals to Jefferson [County, Indiana] was a species of settler strikingly different in outlook from small southern [upland] farmers. . . these newcomers not only displayed a disgusting predilection for self-improvement schemes but were also fond of pointing out out their virtues to those who took life at a less feverish pace.
It was the Yankees who were described as yearning to constitute a social and cultural elite that would sponsor and support higher education, literary societies, and lecture courses, and follow their inclination to regulate the morals of the whole society.
--Richard L. Power, Planting Corn Belt Culture: The Impress of the Upland Southerner and Yankee in the old Northwest, 1953
Taxed with being busybodies and meddlars, apologists own that the instinct for meddling, as divine as that of self-reservation, runs in the Yankee blood; that the typical New Englander was entirely unable, when there were wrongs to be corrected, to mind his own business.
--Richard L. Power, Planting Corn Belt Culture: The Impress of the Upland Southerner and Yankee in the old Northwest, 1953, P. 6.
One of the most distinguishing features of the Yankees of the 19th century had been their confidence that theirs was a superior vision and that America’s future depended on their ability to impose their order on the life of the nation. . . They established thousands of public schools and private colleges, filled churches and lodge halls with committed believers, and codified their version of morality in the statute books.
--Morain, Thomas J. 1988. Prairie Grass Roots: An Iowa Small Town in the Early Twentieth century. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. P. 256
At Greensburg in southeastern Indiana, the Reverend J. R. Wheelock advised his eastern sponsors that his wife had opened a school of 20 or 30 scholars in which she would use “the most approved N.E. school books,” to be obtained by a local merchant from Philadelphia. “She makes defining a distinct branch of study and this gives her a very favorable oppy. of correcting the children & thro’ them, the parents of ‘a heap’ of Kentuckyisms.”
--Richard L. Power, Planting Corn Belt Culture: The Impress of the Upland Southerner and Yankee in the old Northwest, 1953, P. 114.
...we must learn what led to the establishment of Inland Northern as a prestige dialect in the Great Lakes region; we need to understand as well why scholars like Kenyon, George Phillip Krapp and Hans Kurath...embraced the concept of Inland Northern as a General American.”
Perhaps the language of “Yankee cultural imperialism” was appropriate for a century of corporate expansion, leveraged buyouts, and American military intervention in the Philippines, Central America, the Caribbean, Vietnam, and the Middle East.
from “Heartland” English., ed. T. Frazer, U. of Alabama Pres, 1993.Pp. 60, 66.
Imbued with the notion that their was a superior vision, Yankees dutifully accepted their responsibility for the moral and intellectual life of the nation and set about to do what needed to be done, with or without an invitation from the uneducated, the undisciplined, the disinterested, or the unmotivated
Cultural uplift Yankee style also meant attacking sin and sloth. The initial settlement of Iowa coincided with three very active decades for American reform movements. Health fads, prison reform, women’s rights, crusades for new standards of dress---the northern states teemed with advocates of one cause or another.
Most important among the reform movements of the day were the issues of abolition and temperance.
Morain, Thomas J. 1988. Prairie Grass Roots: An Iowa Small Town in the Early Twentieth century. The Henry A. Wallace Series on Agricltural History and Rural Studies. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press.
The--the way I got hired for this one job was really weird, ‘cause I went in for a . . . secretarial position is what I went in for, and they had hired. . .ah-- somebody else that didn’t know anything, but it was a buyer’s daughter, so then she got the job. And uh--they called me because I had done shipping and receiving as far as--the paper work, and they had asked me if I‘d help out ‘cause their--shipper had just had a heart attack and she wasn’ comin’ back for a while.
I read, a-n-nd like most women, I like to go shopping and play card games with family and friends and that kind of thing, nothing really exciting. We used to go camping quite a bit on the weekends, but our lives have shifted enough that we don’t do that much right now, but uh that’s what we do.
Political opinions ascribed to an Inland North (Detroit) and Midland (Indianapolis) speaker by students at U. of Indiana, Bloomington [N=90]
No significant difference in judgments of intelligence, trustworthiness, education;
Midland speaker judged more friendly (p < .00001)
Tense vowels rise along the peripheral track.
Lax nuclei fall along the nonperipheral track
Back vowels move to the front
does the Australian crawl, the breast stroke, backstroke, the butterfly, back to the crawl again
and thinks to himself, “I am really making this current move!”
does not eliminate social variation
is the structural base on which social variation is built
is itself the product of social forces larger than local identity
that we are only beginning to understand