This study presents acoustic evidence of diachronic accent change of an adult speaker who relocated to a region characterized by dialect features different from those of his home region. Noam Chomsky was chosen as the subject because he examplifies the effects of relocation on adult phonology. Chomsky was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but at his age 27, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts. Three linguistic variables that have different systems in Philadelphia and Boston were examined in this study: (1) /α/-/ɔ/distinction in Philadelphia and /α/-/ɔ/merger in Boston, (2) the split short-a system in Philadelphia and the nasal system in Boston, and (3) strong fronting of /o/in Philadelphia and moderate fronting in Boston. Acoustic analyses of Chomsky’s public speech in 1970 and 2009 show that his /α/has significantly shifted along both F1 and F2 over the 40 years, while /ɔ/remained stable. Despite the substantial shift of /α/, this change has not led to a merger of two vowel categories. Meanwhile, his short-a pattern has gone through a striking phonemic reorganization over the 40-year period; Chomsky exhibited the unsplit pattern in 1970 but by 2009 he appears to have adopted a (somewhat incomplete) nasal system. With regard to /o/, he did not show any significant change, exhibiting only moderate fronting both in 1970 and 2009. This study demonstrates remarkable intraspeaker changes over a lifetime, although the changes did not reach categoricity. Possible social and phonetic factors that play an important role in these changes are discussed.

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