Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Midwestern English and the cot/caught merger

I had been aware that my speech was taking on more and more of the Southern English accent and dialect as my years living south of the Mason Dixon line grew into decades. But I still think I have remnants or aspects of the Midwestern or Midlands American English dialect. I'll be looking into this as I record myself speaking at the workplaces, home, and about the country.

I do know my wife and I have had strange reactions to hearing our four year old come back with a marked Georgia drawl, especially in her pronunciation of words which as I grew up were to be said with a long i, e.g. "nine," "fine," and "wine." We both have found ourselves asking her to speak the words with a Standard English in our house, so as to be able to switch back and forth when she needs or finds it comfortable to do so.


At Thursday, January 06, 2005 9:02:00 PM, Blogger Maya said...

Ah yeah, the great vowel shift. One of my favorite things about studying phonology. As a Californian, I was totally taken aback when all those Midwesterners claimed their nasally speech was without inflection. As we know, the accent lies in the vowels.

Interesting that your daughter's speaking with the Georgia drawl. I'd think she'd speak more like her parents?

At Wednesday, January 12, 2005 11:56:00 PM, Blogger jean-pierre said...

I guess that depends on whom you ask. To many of the local folk, she does show the influence of her mother who is German and lived for years in London. I haven't noticed the drawl too much this last week. I won't sweat it.

Happy New Year!



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