The effect of a speaker’s relationship to place and language variation 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 paper presents a way to quantitatively measure place-attachment using a Rootedness Metric (RM) that is both adaptable and comparable, permitting more nuanced understandings of place and language. Through three case studies, I present evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of the RM 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 dissimililar speakers patterns alike.

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