The relationship of a speaker’s language to their sense of place has been a focus of much of the sociolinguistic literature and dialect studies. However, the use of differing methodologies and measures makes comparison and contrast of the importance of place across different communities and social contexts problematic and drawing overarching conclusions challenging. To resolve this, the current article presents a way to quantitatively measure place-attachment using a Rootedness Metric that is both adaptable and comparable, permitting more nuanced understandings of place and language. Through three case studies, the author presents evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of the Rootedness Metric to better understand how attachment to place impacts the phonetic variation in Appalachia. Inclusion of rootedness helps to explain why demographically similar speakers have divergent production, while the production of dissimilar speakers patterns alike.
The Importance of Rootedness in the Study of Appalachian English: Case Study Evidence for a Proposed Rootedness Metric
Paul E. Reed is assistant professor of phonetics-phonology in the Department of Communicative Disorders at the University of Alabama. His research interests primarily center on sociophonetics—specifically how the way we talk signals aspects of who we are—and phonetics more broadly, particularly the phonetics-phonology interface. Much of his sociophonetic work focuses on the English varieties in the American South, with a special focus on Appalachian English varieties and also on how a speaker’s relationship to place affects linguistic production. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul E. Reed; The Importance of Rootedness in the Study of Appalachian English: Case Study Evidence for a Proposed Rootedness Metric. American Speech 1 May 2020; 95 (2): 203–226. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-7706532
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