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Old 01-05-2013, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Jefferson City 4 days a week, St. Louis 3 days a week
2,709 posts, read 4,226,540 times
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Below is a link which maps out each distinctive American dialect. It certainly appears to be an accurate map, although I myself personally have found that the lines are inexact...for example, Southern-sounding speakers with the monopholization of (ah) and (eye) do exist in considerable numbers in the South Midland, and you will find South Midland dialect speakers north of the line of General American. However, they are not the majority of people, and I trust that as professionals, these linguists know what they are talking about and I don't.

The pin-pen merger map, which one can look up, makes little sense to me as it includes the majority of the state of Indiana. Overall, IMO, based on the study of professional linguists, this is the most accurate map of dialects one can find.

Please feel free to respond and comment.

NYC dialect samples
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Shaw.
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I'm a fan of this map, because of all the details:

American English Dialects
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:13 AM
 
1,027 posts, read 1,648,215 times
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Im not sure what your question is and when I go to that web site I don't know what they are trying show with that map.

The dialects are words use in different parts of the US by those people like in some parts of US use the word pop and other parts soda or coke.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:22 PM
 
Location: NYC
94 posts, read 191,380 times
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I love maps like this - I think US linguistics are fascinating because, despite being one country, we have so many different accents.

I don't have a link, but there's a good PBS documentary I watched in high school called "Do You Speak American?" about the different accents around the US based on region, as well as different wording used in the regions. If you can get your hands on it, and this stuff interests you, you might like it.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:29 PM
 
Location: New Hampshire
2,257 posts, read 6,968,983 times
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<---Dialectologist and sociolinguist here.

The map that you posted, stlouisan, is from the telephone survey data collected by William Labov et al. for the Atlas of North American English (published 2006). As you can see, that particular map is dated 1997, which was before all of the data had been collected and analyzed. Therefore, it should only be considered a preliminary conclusion of the survey.

Given the immense quantity of analysis involved in scientifically classifying the dialect areas of the United States, even the maps that are available in the 2006 publication cannot claim extreme geographical precision. Speakers interviewed came primarily from major cities, and - even then - sometimes only a single speaker or a small handful are representing the dialect of that city. As sociolinguists are keenly aware, there is a tremendous amount of intra-regional (and even intra-speaker) dialect variation. Unfortunately, given the massive scope of this project, it simply wasn't feasible to collect more speaker data.

The map below displays the dialect boundaries as shown in the published Atlas of North American English. Again, please remember that these boundaries are inexact and rely on a geographically restricted set of data points.



These boundaries were drawn after careful analysis of dozens of phonological features - this map is concerned with accent (i.e. pronunciation) rather than lexicon (vocabulary) and syntax (grammar), which are the other principal components of a dialect. Phonological differences do not always map neatly on top of vocabulary differences, as is evidenced by the famous Pop vs. Soda vs. Coke map, which bears little resemblance to the map above.

Linguists are constantly working to refine the dialect boundaries established by the seminal Atlas project. Having just attended the Linguistic Society of America / American Dialect Society's annual meeting, I can tell you that dialectologists are working in restricted geographic regions across the country to give us a more accurate, refined classification of these boundaries. (Off the top of my head, I can recall papers about Oklahoma, Alaska, California, New Hampshire, New York, and Louisiana, among others). Many of these papers have been published in linguistic journals, although have not yet been consolidated into one accessible report.

The map site that pgm123 linked to is a popular one, but it's not without its flaws. It is largely based upon the Atlas of North American English, but relies on user input and the creator's own judgments (rather than scientific linguistic studies) to introduce further layers of geographical division. I can spot several inaccuracies that conflict with the current findings being presented in the field. Although I commend the creator for such an ambitious project, the map should definitely not be taken as gospel.

With respect to the two variables that you pointed out, stlouisan:

The so-called "pin-pen merger" (the merger of "short I" /i/ and "short E" '/e/' before nasal consonants /n/ and /m/) - you can see a more detailed (albeit lower resolution) map in the ANAE on Google Books by clicking here. The merger line is drawn east-west about halfway through the state of Indiana, although there is some variation on either side of this isogloss.

The monophthongization of "long I" /ay/ (as in "eye" or "price"), whereby it becomes pronounced as /ah/ (one of the major markers of southern speech, along with the pin-pen merger and the Southern Shift) - as far as I can tell, there's only one speaker in Indiana from the ANAE data who demonstrates this feature (from the Indy area?), but only in limited contexts (namely, in open syllables like "eye" or "lie" where there is no following consonant).

If your intuition disagrees, this may be a case where there is variation but the ANAE under-sampled the people in the region. It may be that the ANAE's acoustic analysis does not completely line up with your auditory perception, especially if you grew up in an area with strong /ay/-diphthongization. If I have a chance, I will look to see if any work has been done recently in Indiana on this.

If there is interest, I can take more time to explain exactly what criteria the boundaries in the map above are based on, but for the moment I think this post is long enough.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:02 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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It's kind of impressive that St. Louis has it's own accent- separate from the rest of the Midwest Love it!
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:21 PM
 
Location: West Tennessee
2,081 posts, read 2,897,764 times
Reputation: 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Verseau View Post
<---Dialectologist and sociolinguist here.

The map that you posted, stlouisan, is from the telephone survey data collected by William Labov et al. for the Atlas of North American English (published 2006). As you can see, that particular map is dated 1997, which was before all of the data had been collected and analyzed. Therefore, it should only be considered a preliminary conclusion of the survey.

Given the immense quantity of analysis involved in scientifically classifying the dialect areas of the United States, even the maps that are available in the 2006 publication cannot claim extreme geographical precision. Speakers interviewed came primarily from major cities, and - even then - sometimes only a single speaker or a small handful are representing the dialect of that city. As sociolinguists are keenly aware, there is a tremendous amount of intra-regional (and even intra-speaker) dialect variation. Unfortunately, given the massive scope of this project, it simply wasn't feasible to collect more speaker data.

The map below displays the dialect boundaries as shown in the published Atlas of North American English. Again, please remember that these boundaries are inexact and rely on a geographically restricted set of data points.



These boundaries were drawn after careful analysis of dozens of phonological features - this map is concerned with accent (i.e. pronunciation) rather than lexicon (vocabulary) and syntax (grammar), which are the other principal components of a dialect. Phonological differences do not always map neatly on top of vocabulary differences, as is evidenced by the famous Pop vs. Soda vs. Coke map, which bears little resemblance to the map above.

Linguists are constantly working to refine the dialect boundaries established by the seminal Atlas project. Having just attended the Linguistic Society of America / American Dialect Society's annual meeting, I can tell you that dialectologists are working in restricted geographic regions across the country to give us a more accurate, refined classification of these boundaries. (Off the top of my head, I can recall papers about Oklahoma, Alaska, California, New Hampshire, New York, and Louisiana, among others). Many of these papers have been published in linguistic journals, although have not yet been consolidated into one accessible report.

The map site that pgm123 linked to is a popular one, but it's not without its flaws. It is largely based upon the Atlas of North American English, but relies on user input and the creator's own judgments (rather than scientific linguistic studies) to introduce further layers of geographical division. I can spot several inaccuracies that conflict with the current findings being presented in the field. Although I commend the creator for such an ambitious project, the map should definitely not be taken as gospel.

With respect to the two variables that you pointed out, stlouisan:

The so-called "pin-pen merger" (the merger of "short I" /i/ and "short E" '/e/' before nasal consonants /n/ and /m/) - you can see a more detailed (albeit lower resolution) map in the ANAE on Google Books by clicking here. The merger line is drawn east-west about halfway through the state of Indiana, although there is some variation on either side of this isogloss.

The monophthongization of "long I" /ay/ (as in "eye" or "price"), whereby it becomes pronounced as /ah/ (one of the major markers of southern speech, along with the pin-pen merger and the Southern Shift) - as far as I can tell, there's only one speaker in Indiana from the ANAE data who demonstrates this feature (from the Indy area?), but only in limited contexts (namely, in open syllables like "eye" or "lie" where there is no following consonant).

If your intuition disagrees, this may be a case where there is variation but the ANAE under-sampled the people in the region. It may be that the ANAE's acoustic analysis does not completely line up with your auditory perception, especially if you grew up in an area with strong /ay/-diphthongization. If I have a chance, I will look to see if any work has been done recently in Indiana on this.

If there is interest, I can take more time to explain exactly what criteria the boundaries in the map above are based on, but for the moment I think this post is long enough.
I always noticed this about Southeast Missouri. The line is always set south of Cape Girardeau because they always take a sample from Cape and nowhere else nearby. This is inaccurate because I've heard people in neighboring Jackson use the southern dialect and it is still not uncommon to hear it until you are about 15 miles north of Cape.

But I do understand that undertaking such a massive project doesn't allow 100% precision. Another factor is how the "transition zone" between different dialect areas is handled.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Vineland, NJ
8,483 posts, read 10,460,458 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glamatomic View Post
It's kind of impressive that St. Louis has it's own accent- separate from the rest of the Midwest Love it!
Don't you guys use the term "soda" instead of "pop" unlike the rest of the Midwest? I think that speaks volumes.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:26 PM
 
Location: Shaw.
2,226 posts, read 3,141,996 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glamatomic View Post
It's kind of impressive that St. Louis has it's own accent- separate from the rest of the Midwest Love it!
It's starting to develop the Northern Cities Vowel Shift like Chicago.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:39 PM
 
3,644 posts, read 8,997,592 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgm123 View Post
It's starting to develop the Northern Cities Vowel Shift like Chicago.
That's what the St. Louis corridor is showing on the map. It's not the old St. Louis accent that it's mapping. I dont think that distinct enough. The map is simply showing that St. Louis is an extension of the NCVS
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