Prior research documents/æ/raising and tensing when followed by/ɡ/in words like bag in the Pacific Northwest, and in Seattle, in particular. This study builds on prior research by comparing among Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC talkers with respect to this feature and the social motivations speakers have for its use. The findings show that while the feature occurs across the two cities, its social distribution and indexical associations are not identical. The differences in the distribution of BAG-raising by age and gender in the two cities and the varying frequency of metalinguistic commentary by speakers raise questions about the trajectory of change in Seattle and Vancouver. Nonetheless, speakers’ realizations of raised BAG in Seattle and Vancouver are associated with similar sociocultural backgrounds and ideologies. In Seattle, the strongest BAG-raisers have multi-generational ties to the area and take strong ideological stances against changes in its industries and economy and the “gentrification” of the city. Non-raisers in Seattle, in contrast, show more international ties, express stronger interest in moving elsewhere and embrace Seattle’s new industries when describing the city and its residents. In Vancouver, the strongest raisers describe experiences of having grown up as Caucasian Canadians in majority Asian neighborhoods and express concern about natives being cared for in the midst of a rising cost of living and investment by wealthy foreigners. In both Seattle and Vancouver, BAG-raising is strongest among individuals who are ideologically opposed to perceived encroachment and who take a conservative stance toward changes in their city. This study adds evidence that the West and Canada are participating in some of the same sound changes and demonstrates similar motivations for their use within each local context.
BAG Across the Border: Sociocultural Background, Ideological Stance and Bag-Raising in Seattle, Wa and Vancouver, BC
JULIA THOMAS SWAN is an 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: Julia.Swan@sjsu.edu
Julia Thomas Swan; BAG Across the Border: Sociocultural Background, Ideological Stance and Bag-Raising in Seattle, Wa and Vancouver, BC. American Speech doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-7587892
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