The Atlas of North American English

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The Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, Phonology and Sound Change (ANAE; formerly, the Phonological Atlas of North America) is an overview of the pronunciation patterns (accents) in all the major urbanized regional dialects of the English language spoken in the United States and Canada. It is the result of a large-scale survey by linguists William Labov, Sharon Ash, and Charles Boberg. Speech data was collected, mainly during the 1990s, by means of telephone interviews with individuals in metropolitan areas in all regions of the U.S. and Canada. Using acoustic analysis of speech from these interviews, ANAE traces sound changes in progress in North American English, and defines boundaries between dialect regions based on the different sound changes taking place in them.

The Atlas of North American English received the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award at the 2008 meeting of the Linguistic Society of America.[1]

Notation[edit]

ANAE employs a "binary" phonemic notation system designed to be maximally abstract and economical so that it can be used to describe chain shifts with ease. The checked vowels are represented by single letters, and each of the diphthongs and historically long vowels is represented by a nuclear vowel followed by a glide, /y/, /w/ or /h/. /y/ represents any kind of front upglide [j, i, ɪ, e, ɛ], /w/ represents any kind of back upglide [w, u, ʊ, o, ɤ], and /h/ represents an inglide or long monophthong.[2] The following tables provide a comparison between ANAE's notation and Wikipedia's diaphonemic transcription system.

Short vowels
ANAE WP Example
i ɪ bit
e ɛ bet
æ æ bat
u ʊ foot
ʌ ʌ hut
o ɒ hot
Long vowels
ANAE WP Example
iy beat
ey bait
oy ɔɪ quoit
ay bite
iw juː suit
uw boot
ow boat
aw bout
ah ɑː balm
oh ɔː bought
Before tautosyllabic /r/
ANAE WP Example
ihr ɪər fear
ehr ɛər fair
ʌhr ɜːr fur
ahr ɑːr far
uhr ʊər moor
ohr ɔːr four
ɔhr for

Overview of results[edit]

The Atlas defines several major dialect regions on the basis of distinctive phonological patterns and sound changes taking place in them—often chain shifts among the vowel phonemes. Major regions include:

On the basis of changes such as the Northern Cities Vowel Shift and the Canadian Shift, the Atlas concludes that regions are becoming more dissimilar to each other, and thus the dialect diversity of North America is increasing. Research conducted since then on more recently collected data, however, has suggested that some of these regional differences are actually diminishing.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Leonard Bloomfield Book Award Previous Holders". Linguistic Society of America. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  2. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006), pp. 11–15.
  3. ^ McClelland, Edward (19 November 2015). Belt Magazine http://beltmag.com/whats-in-a-vowel-in-search-of-the-disappearing-short-a-rising/. Retrieved 3 November 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)

Bibliography[edit]

  • Labov, William; Ash, Sharon; Boberg, Charles (2006). The Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, Phonology and Sound Change. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-016746-8.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]