Prior research documents /æ/ raising and tensing when followed by /g/ in words like bag in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in Seattle. The present study compares /æg/ raising among speakers from Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia, and explores the social motivations for its use. The findings show that while the feature occurs in both cities, its social distribution is not identical. Different age and gender distributions and varying metalinguistic commentary raise questions about the trajectory of change in each city. Nonetheless, speakers’ realizations of raised bag are associated with similar sociocultural backgrounds and ideologies. In Seattle, bag raisers have multigenerational ties to the area, take strong ideological stances against changes in the area’s industries and economy, and oppose “gentrification.” Nonraisers have more international ties, show stronger interest in moving elsewhere, and embrace Seattle’s new industries. In Vancouver, BAG raisers describe growing up as Caucasian Canadians in majority Asian neighborhoods and emphasize the changing demographics and increased cost of living. In both cities, bag raisers are ideologically opposed to perceived encroachment and take conservative stances toward changes in their city. This highlights that the West and Canada participate in some of the same sound changes and show similar, locally contextualized motivations for their use.
Bag Across the Border: Sociocultural Background, Ideological Stance, and BAG Raising in Seattle and Vancouver
JULIA THOMAS swan is assistant professor of linguistics and language development at San José State University. She is a sociolinguist and dialectologist focused on phonetics/phonology. She is especially interested in gender, ethnicity, and social meaning as related to language variation and change. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julia Thomas Swan; Bag Across the Border: Sociocultural Background, Ideological Stance, and BAG Raising in Seattle and Vancouver. American Speech 1 February 2020; 95 (1): 46–81. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-7587892
Download citation file: