This article addresses incipient/aI/-raising in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Acoustic analysis of word list data from 27 participants targets both typical items (e.g., write, writing) and monomorphemic trochaic words often overlooked in previous research (e.g., Nike, bison, cyber, tiger). It reports four major/aI/production patterns in the Fort Wayne data, which range on a continuum from no/aI/-raising to phonological raising of/aI/(i.e., raising before t-flaps, a pattern of Canadian raising referred to as Dialect A). In the middle of the continuum is found the elusive Dialect B, a pattern of Canadian raising first documented by Martin Joos in 1942 in which raising occurs in write but not before t-flaps. The authors find that speakers of this type of raising tend not to raise in any trochaic words. In fact, raising in monomorphemic trochaic words, such as Nike or bison, is exceedingly rare in the Fort Wayne data. In tandem with the variation observed within Fort Wayne, the fact that raising has not yet extended into monomorphemic trochaic words further suggests that raising is incipient in this variety. The authors propose that Dialect B is not a separate dialect at all but an incipient variety of Dialect A.
Unlocking the Mystery of Dialect B: A Note on Incipient/aI/-Raising in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Stuart Davis is professor of linguistics at Indiana University. His primary area of research is phonology with a focus on typological issues related to prosodic structure within the word and a language focus on American English and Arabic dialects. He has secondary research interests in morphology, sociolinguistics, and the early history (nineteenth century) of American linguistics. His publications have appeared in a wide variety of journals and edited volumes. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelly Berkson is assistant professor of linguistics at Indiana University. Her research combines documentary fieldwork with phonetic/phonological investigation of typologically rare sounds and patterns, employing a multi-modal approach to investigate the complex connections between the physical instantiation, perception/interpretation, and phonotactic distribution thereof. Berkson often focuses on languages from the Indic and Kuki-Chin language families and prioritizes working with marginalized languages in collaboration with local communities. Email: email@example.com.
Alyssa Strickler is a Ph.D. student in linguistics and cognitive science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Indiana University. She is interested in the relationship between speech production and perception, specifically in instances of sound change. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stuart Davis, Kelly Berkson, Alyssa Strickler; Unlocking the Mystery of Dialect B: A Note on Incipient/aI/-Raising in Fort Wayne, Indiana. American Speech 1 May 2020; 95 (2): 149–172. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-7603207
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