This research takes a diachronic approach to perceptual dialectology and uses data collected in 2016-2017 to replicate work done in Michigan in 1985-87 (Preston 1996) to examine possible changes in perceptions. The frequency of identification of regions and their spatial distributions were analyzed in 148 newly collected hand-drawn maps. The rates of regional identification in these are generally similar to the earlier ones, with the exception of increases of over 10% for three of the fourteen regions and decreases of more than 10% for two others. GIS analysis of the five most frequently identified regions showed that the South and Northeast are larger in the newer work, while the North, Plains and Mountains, and West are similar to the earlier study. These findings allow questions about the factors that influence change in perceptions over time and address a gap in diachronic studies in perceptual dialectology.
Mapping perceptions diachronically: A restudy of mental maps in Michigan
Gabriela G. Alfaraz is a sociolinguist whose research interests include language variation and change, language attitudes, language ideologies, and bilingualism. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies at Michigan State University.
Dennis R. Preston is an Adjunct Professor of Linguistics, University of Kentucky. He is a fellow of the LSA and ADS, directed an Institute for the former and was President of the latter. He established, with Nancy Niedzielski, the area of Folk Linguistics (Mouton de Gruyter), revived the study of Perceptual Dialectology (Foris), and was among the first to link variationist linguistics to second language acquisition (in Sociolinguistics & Second Language Acquisition, Blackwell).
Gabriela G. Alfaraz, Dennis R. Preston; Mapping perceptions diachronically: A restudy of mental maps in Michigan. American Speech 2022; doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-10104904
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