The Greater St. Louis “dialect island” poses interesting problems for dialect documentation, partly because Greater St. Louis is a transitional area where many overlapping linguistic influences have left their mark, and also because is an area with new immigrant communities, racial divides, and an aging population. Using a sample from survey and interview data from 815 participants over a seven-year period, we examine lexical diversity in Greater St. Louis, comprising counties both in Missouri and Illinois. We discover that both age and place are robust indicators of lexical selection in Southern Illinois and St. Louis. Our findings provide a concurring rationale with phonologically-based studies that supports the existence of a unique dialect island in Greater St. Louis.
Lexical complexities in the St. Louis dialect island
Larry L. LaFond is Professor of English Language and Literature at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. His work has appeared in Kairos, Language Awareness, Language Policy, and Die Unterrichtspraxis, among others, and in edited volumes from Cascadilla, John Benjamins, Kluwer Presses. His research interests include second language acquisition theory and pedagogy, and American dialects.
Kenneth W. Moffett is Professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He is coauthor of Web 2.0 and the Political Mobilization of College Students, and his work has appeared in American Politics Research, Climatic Change, Environment and Behavior, Journal of Information Technology and Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and Social Science Computer Review, and more. His research interests lie primarily in American culture, politics and policy.
Larry LaFond, Kenneth W. Moffett; Lexical complexities in the St. Louis dialect island. American Speech doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-7726318
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