This article investigates whether residents of central Wisconsin perceive language variation within their state and, if they do, what it looks like according to them. To achieve these aims, this study examines the perspectives of one central Wisconsin community regarding internal language differentiation within the state. It follows the perceptual dialectology paradigm, based on work by Dennis Preston, in that it studies how nonlinguists view language variation within Wisconsin. Respondents completed Preston’s draw-a-map task, which additionally asked them to label each indicated area. The drawn boundaries were digitalized using ArcGIS to create composite maps to allow for systematic comparison. The labels provided by the respondents were analyzed to see how this group of Wisconsin residents views the speech of each identified region and thus to see whether there are distinctly enregistered dialects within Wisconsin for these respondents. Findings show three distinctly perceived areas within the state: the Milwaukee area, the north of the state, and the participants’ own area, central Wisconsin. The analysis of the labels indicates that an urban-rural divide is at play for perception of the first two mentioned areas, whereas perceptioin of the latter identified area reflects the belief in a regionally located standard variety.
Mapping Perceptions of Language Variation in Wisconsin: On “Goin’ Fishin’ at my Cabin Don’t Cha Know” and “Normal Like Me”
SARAH BRAUN is a research assistant and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anglophone Studies at the University of Duisburg–Essen. She received her M.A. in English studies with a focus on linguistics and her M.Ed. in English and Spanish from Ruhr-University Bochum. Her current research focuses on nonlinguists’ perceptions of language variation in Wisconsin. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Braun; Mapping Perceptions of Language Variation in Wisconsin: On “Goin’ Fishin’ at my Cabin Don’t Cha Know” and “Normal Like Me”. American Speech 1 February 2020; 95 (1): 82–102. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-7308071
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