This study compares the effects of city and ethnicity with respect to Quebec English speakers’ participation in two ongoing changes affecting /æ/ in Canadian English: retraction as part of the Canadian Shift and tensing in prenasal environments. Quebec English speakers might be expected to differ in their behavior with regard to these two phenomena as compared to other Canadian English speakers. Based on an analysis of Cartesian distances and a mixed-effects model using spontaneous speech, the authors find that Quebec English speakers are less advanced with respect to the Canadian Shift, especially speakers from Quebec City. For tensing, British-origin speakers from Montreal and Quebec City are found to pattern similarly, participating in the more widespread patterning, while Jewish and Italian speakers are moving in the opposite direction. The authors argue that this move away from characteristically Canadian patterns is an artefact of the interplay between the two phenomena under study, reflective of differential replication of the Canadian Shift in the two environments.

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