Abstracts are in alphabetical order by presenter last name.
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alphabetical list of presenters.
2THR: Thursday, April 15, 11:20-11:40, Ferguson Theater
A Hundred Years of Sound Change in
Recorded sociolinguistic interviews with native
white Alabamians from Anniston were collected between 1968 and 1973,
with a built-in apparent time factor. The speakers consisted of an
evenly distributed sample of older men and women born between 1882
and 1907 and teenagers born between 1953 and 1956. The speakers were
evenly distributed between local upper and working classes, with a
category of older rural working class speakers. In 1990, another survey
of that city was undertaken using the same interview schedule, interviewer,
and equipment. This time a new cohort of teenagers, both working class
and upper class, was interviewed, born between 1973 and 1975. In addition,
the previous "teenagers" were traced, and some re-interviewed.
The variables examined include post-vocalic tautosyllabic r (core/heart/mother)
, long i (nice/might/pipe), long open o (law/caught), short a (man/bad),
and on-glided u (tune/duke/ news) (Feagin 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996a,
1996b), as well as vowel shifting (Feagin 2002).
Four types of changes were observed, ranging from no change over the
past 100 years, changes completed in three generations, new changes
entering the community, and on-going change. These changes are distributed
differently by age and social class, allowing a view of the dynamics
and ordering of the changes as they go through the community and through
the various linguistic environments.
What are the social and linguistic motivations for these changes--or
lack of change? Local loyalty and accommodation to non-local values,
intermixed with self-identification all seem to drive these opposing
developments, mainly below the level of consciousness. Linguistically,
the changes appear to be driven by both internal and external factors--
that is, general linguistic pressures and principles as well as contact
with non-local varieties.
While the details here apply only to this data set, that is, to Anniston,
similar developments and dynamics can be observed across the American
South, though with different timing and perhaps different ordering
(e.g., Baranowski 2000; Crane 1977; Feagin 2002; Fridland 1999, 2001;
Labov et al. in press; Phillips 1981; Schoenweitz 2001; Thomas 2001;
Crane, Benjamin. 1977. The social stratification
of /ai/ among white speakers in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Papers in Language
Variation, ed.by David Shores and Carole P. Hines, 189-200. Tuscaloosa.
University of Alabama Press.
Baranowski, Maciej. 2000. Changes in the Vowel System of Charleston,
S. C. University of Pennsylvania Master’s Thesis.
Feagin, Crawford. 1990 The Dynamics of a Sound Change in Southern
States English: From R-less to R-ful in Three Generations, Development
and Diversity: Linguistic Variation across Time and Space , ed. by
J. Edmondson et al., 129-146. SIL /University of Texas, Arlington.
Feagin, Crawford. 1993 Low back vowels in Alabama: Yet another merger?
(poster) NWAVE XXII, Ottawa
Feagin, Crawford. 1994. "Long i" as a Microcosm of Southern
States Speech, NWAVE XXIII, Stanford.
Feagin, Crawford. 1996a Peaks and Glides in Southern States Short-A.
Towards a Social Science of Language: Variation and Change in Language
and Society ed. by Gregory Guy et al., 135-160 Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Feagin, Crawford. 1996b The Disappearance of On-glided U in Southern
States English. South Atlantic American Dialect Society, Savannah.
Feagin, Crawford. 2003 Vowel Shifting in the Southern States English
in the Southern United States, ed. by Stephen J. Nagle and Sara L.
Sanders, 126-140. Cambridge University Press.
Fridland, Valerie. 1999. The Southern Shift in Memphis, Tennessee.
Language Variation and Change 11: 267-285.
Fridland, Valerie. 2001. The social dimension of the Southern Vowel
Shift: Gender, age and class. Journal of Sociolinguistics 5: 233-253.
Labov, Wiliam, Sharon Ash, Charles Boberg. In press. Atlas of North
American English. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Phillips, Betty S. 1981. Lexical diffusion and Southern Tune/Duke/News.
American Speech 56:7 -78.
Schoenweitz, Thomas. 2001. Gender and postvocalic /r/ in the American
South: A Detailed Socioregional Analysis. American Speech 76:259-285.
Thomas, Erik. R. 2001. An Acoustic Analysis of Vowel Variation in
New World English. Publication of the American Dialect Society, 85.
Tillery, Jan. 1989. The merger of /)/ and /a/ in Texas: A study of
sociological and linguistic constraints. Texas A & M master’s
Return to top of Abstracts
The effect of vowel quality on listeners’ perceptions has
received little attention though much has been made of how changes
in vowel quality function as a means of symbolic identity, uniting
and dividing groups of speakers. While the patterned use of linguistic
variants by different groups within communities appears to suggest
a paralinguistic social function, actual empirical research measuring
the role of perception in assigning meaning to variation is scarce.
In addition, how speakers’ own productive system affects their
accuracy in perceiving and evaluating vowel differences is an area
of study rarely examined, although such exploration could contribute
much to our theories of speech production and perception.
Southern speech is a highly stereotyped and very salient dialect
that is undergoing massive changes to the vowel system, changes
that are in some cases regionally unique (as with front vowel changes),
but with some, such as back vowel fronting, shared more generally
across regions. Such local and national contrasts in aspects of
vowel production serve as a good starting point in the examination
of how distinguishing vowel changes are perceived and evaluated
compared to those changes that are not inter- and intra-regionally
defining. To this end, the current paper is designed to study speakers’
perceptual awareness and social evaluation of specific regional
vowel variants using acoustically manipulated speech samples. While
experimental in design, this study provides a unique and innovative
method of measuring speakers’ sensitivity to slight changes
in formant position and how such subtle phonetic changes are indeed
used as socially salient categorization cues by speakers.
The results are based on 175 African-American and European-American
respondents from Tennessee and 150 European-American respondents
from Nevada, Utah and California who listened to a series of ‘different’
male and female guises. Each guise was a monosyllabic token with
the vowel synthesized to approximate shifted positions in Southern
and Northern regional shifts. Only F1 and F2 formant structure differed
among guises. In a three part test, participants rated each ‘speaker’
on a semantic differential scale for four factors; degree of Southernness,
degree of difference between shifted tokens of the same vowel, and
levels of education and of pleasantness. Anovas and paired comparisons
t-tests will be run to determine accuracy in the selection of the
most “Southern” guises, whether accuracy is affected
by the degree of participants’ productive participation in
the various aspects of the shifts, whether the results show distinctions
by participants’ region, ethnicity, gender or age, and whether
different education and pleasantness scores are assigned on the
basis of vowel position. The data from the Western subjects will
be compared to the Southern subjects to determine how exposure to
specific formant ranges of vowel variants affects respondents’
ratings and accuracy.
The research aims to contribute both to the larger question of how
much fluidity speakers’ have in adjusting their perceptions
based on exposure to different vowel frequency ranges and how very
low-level phonetic information is used by speakers and, more narrowly,
to the question of how extensively local Southern norms affect the
adoption of incoming changes.
Return to top of Abstracts
3bTHR: Thursday, April 15, 2:50-3:10, Ferguson Forum
The spread of the cot/caught merger in the
speech of Memphians: An ethnolinguistic marker?
University of Nevada, Reno
Recent research (DiPaolo 1990, 1995, Eckert
1988, Feagin 1986, 1987, 1993, Fridland 2000, 2001, Gorden 1997, Labov
1972, 1991, 1994, 1996, Labov, Ash and Boberg 1999) reveals that the
Northern and Southern regions of the U.S. are distinguished by two
separate and diverging shifts involving the whole vowel system and
that a low-back vowel merger (the cot/caught merger) and the absence
of any systemic rotation distinguishes the rest of the U.S. from the
North and South. Interestingly, while the merger of the low-back vowels
is widespread throughout the West, recent evidence (Feagin 1993, Labov,
Ash and Boberg 1999) suggests it may be spreading into some areas
of the South, a region which traditionally has maintained this distinction.
Fridland (1998) noted the merger may be occurring among younger White
speakers in Memphis, TN, but did not explore whether African-Americans
in Memphis were showing any evidence of a Southern expansion of the
merger. However, Fridland (2003) and Fridland (forthcoming) suggest
that the vowel system of African-Americans and European-Americans
is remarkably similar in terms of the spread of the Southern Vowel
Shift and /ay/ monophthongization. Such findings would suggest that
low-back vowels would show the same sort of patterning. The aim of
this paper is twofold: First, the paper will examine if, in fact,
the low back merger is evident in the speech of young White Memphians
and, two, if the low back merger is evident in the speech of young
Black Memphians. Linguistic and social conditioning of any incoming
changes will be examined and compared in the two groups. Initial results
suggest that African-Americans, regardless of degree of contact with
the local White community, age or gender, appear to strongly maintain
the distinction in the low back vowel classes. Given the similarity
of the vowel system in terms of front and back vowel positioning and
/ay/ monophthongization in the Memphis community, such results are
surprising, particularly in light of earlier reports of the spread
of the cot/caught merger into the young White Southern community.
Thus, the paper will also explore the role of speakers’ orientation
to the local and larger community in the spread of these features.
Dipaolo, Marianna and Alice Faber (1995) The
discriminablility of nearly merged sounds. Language Variation and
Change 7, New York: Cambridge University Press. 35-78.
Dipaolo, Marianna and Alice Faber (1990) Phonation differences and
the phonetic content of the tense-lax contrast in Utah English. Language
Variation and Change 2, New York: Cambridge University Press. 155-204.
Eckert, Penelope (1988) Adolescent social structure and the spread
of linguistic change.Language Variation and Change 1, New York: Cambridge
University Press. 245-208.
Feagin, Crawford (1993) Low back vowels in Alabama: Yet another merger?
(poster) NWAVE XXII, Ottawa.
Feagin, Crawford (1987) A Closer Look at the Southern Drawl: Variation
Taken to the Extremes. In Variation in Language, ed. K. Denning, S.
Inkelas, F. McNair-Knox, and J.R. Rickford. Stanford: Department of
Feagin, Crawford (1986) More Evidence for Vowel Change in the South.
In Diversity and Diachrony, ed. D. Sankoff. Amsterdam & Philadelphia:
John Benjamins. 83-95
Fridland, Valerie (forthcoming) Tide, tied and tight: the expansion
of /ai/ monophthongization in African-American and European-American
speech in Memphis, TN. Journal of Sociolinguistics.
Fridland, Valerie (2003) Network strength and the realization of the
Southern Vowel Shift among African-Americans in Memphis, TN. American
Fridland, Valerie (2001) Social factors in the Southern Shift: gender,
age and class. Journal of Sociolinguistics 5(2). Oxford: Blackwell.
Fridland, Valerie (2000) The Southern Vowel Shift in Memphis, TN.
Language Variation and Change 2, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Fridland, Valerie (1998) The Southern Vowel Shift: Linguistic and
Social Factors. Dissertation: Michigan State University.
Gordon, Matthew (1997) Urban Sound Change Beyond City Limits: The
Spread of the Northern Cities Shift in Michigan. Dissertation: University
Labov, William (1996) The Organization of Dialect Diversity in North
America. Paper given at the Fourth International Conference on Spoken
Language Processing at Philadelpha.
Labov, William (1994) Principles of Linguistic Change: Internal Factors.
Labov, William (1991) The three dialects of English. In New Ways of
Analyzing Variation. ed. P. Eckert. New York: Academic Press. 1-44.
Labov, William, Ash, Sharon and Boberg, Charles (1999) The first continental
map of North American phonology. Poster session at New Ways of Analyzing
Variation 28. Toronto, CA.
Labov, William, Yeager, Malcah, & Steiner, Richard (1972) A Quantitative
Study of Sound Change in Progress. Philadelphia: U.S. Regional Survey.
Return to top of Abstracts
FRI6a: Friday, April 16, 12:35-12:55, Ferguson Theater
What to leave in, what to leave out:
different concepts of ‘word’ in Choctaw and Cherokee
University of Oklahoma
Wordhood and the processes that create it are
of unflagging interest to linguists, especially to Americanists, who
must grapple in their research languages with formidable morphology
and obscure semantic/syntactic relations. We expect words to generally
consist of a lexical root that may bear a series of affixes, the whole
being concatenable in a cyclic fashion, along the lines of control,
controllable, uncontrollable, uncontrollably. A fundamental distinction
is made between affixes that derive words, as in this example, and
those that inflect for various grammatical features; in English the
best examples are the past tense marker, plural marker, and singular
number agreement in the third person. Because these inflectional affixes
are presumed to mark functions of the syntax, there should be a sharp
demarcation between the levels; this line is at the boundary of the
word according to most theories of grammar.
Comparing Choctaw, a Muskogean language, and Cherokee, an Iroquoian
language, to English, we will see that Choctaw basically holds to
a cyclic system of root-affix, while being appreciably freer in the
actual morphological form of both derivations and inflections (notably
stem deformation and infixes), and using those affixes to do very
different things from what English does. Beginning with a root, in
Choctaw we may reliably build up from a root meaning ‘learn’
make learn, the one who makes someone learn, the thing one makes someone
learn with and so forth. Cherokee, in great contrast, seems not to
have cyclic affixation to roots. Instead, a series of basic lexical
roots is compounded below the level of the word, frequently incorporating
information such as direction, the presence of plural objects or iterated
actions, the presence of actors and patients, and the shapes of instruments.
Even more problematically for traditional grammar theories is the
fact that clearly ‘inflectional’ affixes appear as part
of the semantic content of the word apart from any actual feature
in the syntax itself. For instance, in the word for ‘he/she
is sneezing’ there is a ‘semantic’ plural marker,
the same one that marks a direct object, signifying that the sneeze
includes the presence of more than one nostril. These distinctions
may point to a basic word formation parameter in the world’s
languages, treating the cyclicity of word formation and permeability
of lexeme boundaries.
Return to top of Abstracts
5FRI : Friday, April 16, 10:20-10:40, Ferguson Theater
The South in DARE Revisited
Joan H. Hall
Chief Editor, DARE
Luanne von Schneidemesser
Senior Editor, DARE
It has been nearly forty years since the start
of the fieldwork for the Dictionary of American Regional English and
nearly twenty years since the first volume of DARE was published.
During those decades major changes in our society have been accompanied
by changes in our regional lexical patterns; and tremendous advances
in technology have made it possible to better understand the histories
and distributions of regional vocabulary. Using entries from Volume
I of DARE (comprising the letters A–C), we intend to examine
selected terms that showed striking regionality in the South based
on the fieldwork carried out between 1965 and 1970. How have they
fared? Have they become much more widely known and used? Have they
maintained their regional vitality? Or have they receded to become
Starting from DARE entries labeled as having concentrations in the
South, we will go both backward and forward. Using such digital libraries
as The Making of America and American Memory, we will try to antedate
DARE’s earliest citations to get a better picture of the early
history of each word; and using other resources of the World Wide
Web we will try to determine the current distributions of these terms.
We will also evaluate the usefulness of reviewing and revising DARE
entries based on the present offerings available through the Web.
Return to top of Abstracts
9 : Saturday, April 17, 9:30-9:50, Ferguson Theater
Language Variation as an Applicable
Resource in Today's Classrooms
West Virginia University
This paper provides teachers with useful knowledge
and exercises for focusing students on language variation. Language
variation is a natural resource in every linguistics classroom and
can be used to teach students about both language and themselves.
In making the argument that language variation is not only natural,
but also a beneficial teaching tool, teachers should come to understand
that the language variation in their own classrooms can be used to
help their students discover how language works.
Language variation examples cover several levels of social awareness
and prescriptive legitimacy. Language variation patterns associated
with certain nations, such as subject-verb concord differences between
British English and US English, indicate that even traditional shibboleths
can be widely embraced if socially supported. At the other end of
the continuum, [f] pronunciations in words spelled with <th>
are examined to illustrate the highly different levels of stigmatization
depending on sociocultural context.
As a rhetorical method in this chapter, language variation
patterns will be presented in order of stigmatization, with least
stigmatized patterns coming first. The rationale for this approach
is to acclimate readers to the normalcy of language variation before
contrasting social judgments (i.e., variable pronunciation of in the
"r" of red (bunched tongue or curled), is generally less
stigmatized than pronouncing birthday with an <f> sound).
As all teachers who have dealt with sociolinguistics
in a classroom can testify, truly getting students to abandon belief
in a supreme correct English, and thus the consequential debasement
of all language variation, is a feat that is rarely achieved. This
paper aims at providing rationale and methods for potentially fundamental
changes in the ways that students view language variation.
Return to top of Abstracts
3aTHR: Thursday, April 15, 2:25-2:45, Ferguson Theater
Points, spaces, and places:
Functions of gesture in North Carolina storytelling
North Carolina State University
Using videotaped data, this paper explores how narrative
analysis can benefit from study of the gestural as well as verbal
productions of storytellers. Defining gesture broadly as “that
range of bodily actions that are, more or less, generally regarded
as part of a person’s willing expression” (Kendon 2000:
47), the paper focuses on functions of speech-accompanying gestures
used in narrative discourse. More specifically, I examine ways in
which storytellers use deictic gestures or “points” (Cassell
and McNeill 1993; Haviland 2000; Kendon 1990; McNeill 1992, 2000)
to refer to situations, objects, and incidents; these discourse referents
are located in the multiple sets of spacetime coordinates underlying
narrative speech events, which involve sequentially organized representations
of sequences of occurrences (Chatman 1978; Herman 2002; Prince 1982).
Depending on how they are embedded in a larger ecology of talk, pointing
gestures may thus refer to the present time and place of the telling
or to one or more time-frames being told about over the course of
the narrative. My paper examines how points contribute to verbal-gestural
gestalts used to manage transitions between such time-frames in narrative
Further, I align my approach with recent research
on the very notion of “place” as a parameter for sociolinguistic,
ethnographic, and discourse-analytic inquiry (Johnstone forthcoming).
Study of storytellers’ pointing gestures reveals microinteractional
processes by which communicative spaces are reconfigured as places-with-a-history,
i.e. spacetime environments with which stories are more or less inextricably
interlinked (cf. Johnstone 1990). Hence, to understand how narrative
participants interweave words and gestures to engage in moment-by-moment
constructions of place, theorists need to supplement “a conception
of place as physical location with a phenomenological perspective
on place” (Johnstone forthcoming)
The data-set consists of five stories told by three
North Carolina storytellers, two from the western region of the state
and one from Hyde County, located in the eastern coastal region. Two
of the stories are told “on location,” i.e., in the locale
where the events being recounted are represented as having occurred
prior to the time of the current speech event. The other three stories
are told “off-site”; in these cases, the narrative speech
event occurs in an environment spatially as well temporally distinct
from that in which the told-about incidents are represented as having
occurred. I examine structural differences between these contrasting
storytelling situations—for example, how they necessitate different
strategies for prompting “deictic shifts” from the here
and now of the current interaction to the there and then in which
narrated events must be located (Herman 2001; Segal 1995; Zubin and
Hewitt 1995). I also examine differences in how individual tellers
exploit pointing gestures within the communicative framework afforded
by these two broad types of narratives, i.e., on-location and off-site
Overall my account suggests that, in narrative contexts,
events recounted do not simply precede the act of telling, but are
in part constructed through the sociosemiotic resources (including
gestural-verbal gestalts) on which tellers and their interlocutors
collaboratively draw to effectuate the narrative. In the case of narratives
about events preceding the time-frame of the current interaction,
understanding of the past is accomplished socially in material settings
that encompass bodily movements classifiable as gestures, rather than
being imparted, in the form of purely ideational content, by storytellers
alone (cf. Goodwin and Goodwin 2001).
Cassell, Justine, and David McNeill. 1993. Gesture
and the Poetics of Prose. Poetics Today 12.3: 375-404.
Goodwin, Marjorie Harness, and Charles Goodwin. 2001. Emotion within
Situated Activity. In Alessandro Duranti (ed.) Linguistic Anthropology:
A Reader, pp. 239-57. Malden, MA: Basil Blackwell.
Haviland, John. 2000. Pointing, Gesture Spaces, and Mental Maps. In
David McNeill (ed.) Language and Gesture, pp. 13-46. Cambridge: Cambridge
Herman, David. 2001. Spatial Reference in Narrative Domains. TEXT
Herman, David. 2002. Story Logic: Problems and Possibilities of Narrative.
Lincoln: U of Nebraska P.
Johnstone, Barbara. Forthcoming. Place, Globalization, and Linguistic
Variation. In Carmen Fought et al. (eds.) Methods in Sociolinguistics:
Papers in Honor of Ronald Macaulay.
Johnstone, Barbara. 1990. Stories, Communities, and Place: Narratives
from Middle America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Kendon, Adam. 1990. Conducting Interaction: Patterns of Behavior in
Focused Encounters. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
Kendon, Adam. 2000. Language and Gesture: Unity or Duality? In David
McNeill (ed.) Language and Gesture, pp. 47-63. Cambridge: Cambridge
McNeill, David. 1992. Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal about Thought.
Chicago: U of Chicago P.
McNeill, David. 2000. Introduction. In David McNeill (ed.) Language
and Gesture, pp. 1-10. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
Prince, Gerald. 1982. Narratology: The Form and Functioning of Narrative.
Segal, Erwin M. 1995. Narrative Comprehension and the Role of Deictic
Shift Theory. In Judith F. Duchan, Gail A. Bruder, and Lynne E. Hewitt
(eds.) Deixis in Narrative: A Cognitive Science Perspective, pp. 3-17.
Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Zubin, David A., and Lynne E. Hewitt. 1995. The Deictic Center: A
Theory of Deixis in Narrative. In Judith F. Duchan, Gail A. Bruder,
and Lynne E. Hewitt (eds.) Deixis in Narrative: A Cognitive Science
Perspective, pp. 129-55. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Return to top of Abstracts
11b: Saturday, April 17, 2:50-3:10, Ferguson Forum
Hispanic Cultural and
Language Issues in Rural Georgia Schools
Kristi Hislope and Mariana Pomphile
North Georgia College & State University
In the last five years the Hispanic population
of Northeast Georgia has boomed. Language barriers and cultural issues
have become a burden and serious problem for the schools in the area.
As a result, communication channels between parents and teachers or
administrators are negatively affected.
In this study, we describe the current situation
in elementary, middle, and high schools in Dahlonega, Lumpkin County,
Georgia, located approximately one hour northeast of Atlanta. Although
our study describes only one county, it is reflective of problems
that any educational system in a rural community will encounter when
faced with such a rapid population shift. In this study, we use questionnaires
as a beginning step leading to inteviews with Hispanic parents and
Anglo teachers and administrators. We ask questions to determine what
problems both groups are having in communication and cultural aspects
and how they perceive these problems and what their roles are in working
together to resolve them. To help alleviate biases, the Hispanic researcher
will interview the Hispanic participants whereas the Anglo researcher
will talk with the Anglo participants. Bilinguals that work as liasions
between parents and teacher will also be interviewed to gain their
perspective and determine their role in facilitating communication.
Our results will be used in helping the school better understand where
the real need falls and to provide workshops or discussions with both
groups to help improve the situation. Suggestions will discussed in
our article. Ultimately we hope that our results will help us better
prepare our teacher education students at the local university, help
them understand the problems they will be faced with, and improve
communication between teachers, administrators, and parents for the
benefit of the child's education.
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11b: Saturday, April 17, 3:15-3:35, Ferguson Forum
Can Southerners Learn Spanish?
Americans often don’t think of English
speakers as being able to learn another language fluently. In a survey
I conducted of businesses in a Georgia county (Whitfield) whose population
is estimated to be fifty percent Hispanic, I found that most bilinguals,
as expected, are native Spanish speakers rather than native English
speakers. One survey respondent said that their business had thought
about having employees take Spanish classes but their (Appalachian)
dialect made it harder for them and so it was easier to hire Spanish
speakers and teach them English! The implication here is that if working
class whites can’t even speak English properly, how can they
be expected to learn another language? It is certain that the Hispanic
bilinguals in town don’t all speak prestigious varieties of
Spanish. While this doesn’t hold them back from learning English,
lower literacy rates can partly explain why they are the ones expected
to learn another language.
The generally lower levels of education and income of Hispanics in
the community, coupled with the legitimization of English as the language
of the nation-state and the language of modernity creates a wide gap
in prestige between Spanish and English in the community (May 2001).
Spanish and Spanish-accented English are subordinated to Standard
English (Lippi-Green 1997), perhaps even more so than the stigmatized
Appalachian and African American varieties. It is not at all uncommon
in language contact situations for speakers of the higher status language
to refuse to learn the lower status language. On the other hand, it
is common for the speakers of the lower status language to eagerly
adopt the higher status language. Thus, the fact that more native
speakers of Spanish have become bilingual than native speakers of
English in Dalton is not surprising. Given the typical scenario for
minority language communities in relation to the socially and economically
more powerful group, it is rather a pleasant surprise to find so many
English speakers learning Spanish there.
This paper will present evidence from two surveys on current levels
of bilingualism: a survey of 100 businesses that belong to the Chamber
of Commerce and a survey of 500 social service agencies in the region
(Johnson and Boyle, fc). The survey results are supplemented by interviews
of native English speakers who are long-term residents of the county
about their experiences with and attitudes toward Spanish speakers.
In a paradoxical twist, it would appear that those who profess the
most positive attitude toward Spanish (the area’s elite) are
actually the least likely to learn the language, while the people
who have achieved a basic level of communicative competence are often
those with more ambivalent attitudes. Like Americans everywhere, Southerners
believe that immigrants should learn English quickly, but that learning
a language other than English is far too difficult to be achieved
by the ordinary person. Despite such beliefs, Southerners are indeed
Johnson, Ellen, and David Boyle. under review. Learning
Spanish in the North Georgia Mountains. In Language Variation and
Change in the American Midland: A New Look at "Heartland"
English, ed. by Thomas E. Murray and Beth Lee Simon. Philadelphia:
Lippi-Green, Rosina. 1997. English with an Accent: Language, Ideology,
and Discrimination in the United States. London: Routledge.
May, Stephen. 2001. Language and Minority Rights: Ethnicity, Nationalism
and the Politics of Language. New York: Longman.
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3aTHR: Thursday, April 15, 3:15-3:35, Ferguson Theater
Imitating Southern Speech : Constraints and Consequences
Carnegie Mellon University
This paper takes a close look, from multiple
perspectives, at a conversational narrative in which a Pittsburgher
with a working-class Western Pennsylvania accent imitates a Southerner.
I consider what constrains the performance: how the storyteller's
options in the imitation are limited by popular ideas about Southernness
and Southern speech, by the articulatory habits and perceptual predispositions
of his native dialect, by the genre of the joke and the structure
of the narrative, the participants in the interview, and the purposes
of the talk. I also consider the consequences of outsider imitations
like this for dialect norming and focusing in the context of heightened
attention to and commodification of regional varieties.
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2THR: Thursday, April 15, 12:10-12:30, Ferguson Theater
Divergent processes in Gullah/Geechee:
Evidence from sound structure
Thomas B. Klein
Georgia Southern University
The state of health of the Gullah/Geechee language
is a central and controversial issue in the American South. Some linguists
(e.g., Jones-Jackson 1978, 1987) have argued that Gullah/Geechee shows
signs of converging with vernacular English. Others have presented
evidence to suggest that the linguistic structure of Gullah/Geechee
is being maintained over time (e.g., Mufwene 1991, 1994, 1997). Still
others have shown that Gullah/Geechee is developing new patterns that
diverge from English (Hopkins 1994). Prior research on this question
has focused almost exclusively on syntax, whereas the investigation
of phonological structures has been neglected. The present study is
designed to redress this imbalance and, hence, it presents data from
phonological change to bear on the question of the development of
The prime sources of data for the phonological comparison are the
phonetically transcribed narratives in Turner (1949) and Jones-Jackson
(1978, 1987), augmented with some data from the author’s recent
linguistic field research with Geechee native speakers on Sapelo Island,
The variable absence vs. presence of word-initial unstressed syllables
preceding stressed syllables in English etyma may result in ‘bout,
‘side, and ‘zamin, versus about, beside and examine, respectively,
in Gullah/Geechee. Note that Vaughn-Cooke (1976, 1986) has found an
increase in the presence of these syllables over three generations
of AAVE speakers, showing convergence with WVE in this dimension.
In this paper, the trajectory of change in Gullah/Geechee is shown
to be the opposite. There are significantly more initial pre-stress
syllables absent in Jones-Jackson’s later narratives (70%) than
in Turner’s earlier ones (47%; p << 0.026), suggesting
basilectization along the creole continuum. There is a noteworthy
distinction along gender lines in Turner’s narratives. Females
omit significantly more etymological syllables (56%) than males (27%)
in Turner’s narratives (p << 0.0005), echoing earlier
findings in Nichols (1983) and Weldon (1996) that the speech of Gullah/Geechee
women tends to be more creole-like than the speech of men. However,
the difference in the omission rate of men and women is not statistically
significant in the Jones-Jackson narratives. It appears that the men
have caught up with the women by using basilectal syllable patterns
in the later narratives, whereas earlier only the women did. Nasal
velarization is the production of an etymological alveolar nasal as
a velar nasal next to the correlate of the diphthong /aw/, as in Gullah/Geechee
[dUN] and [rUN] for down and around. This creole feature
(cf. Hancock 1969) is salient in Turner’s and Jones-Jackson’s
narratives and also today on Sapelo Island.
Etymological /aw/ in Turner’s narratives (e.g., [dUN]
‘down’ and [hUs] ‘house’) is becoming
 in Jones-Jackson’s narratives (e.g., [dN] ‘down’
and [hs] ‘house’). This clearly represents a qualitatively
divergent change in comparison to (vernacular) English.
The data presented in this paper show not only that the distinctive
phonology of Gullah/Geechee is alive and well, but that there is also
a healthy divergence from English structures towards the basilectal
end of the creole continuum in recent times.
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7bFRI : Friday, April 16, 2:50-3:10, Ferguson Forum
Beyond Cajun: Towards an Expanded
View of Regional French in Louisiana
Picone (2003) rightly critiques the traditional
tripartite division of French-related varieties in Louisiana into
Colonial French, Acadian or Cajun French, and Louisiana Creole as
an oversimplification that obscures the complex mix of linguistic
sources that have gone into the composition of French Louisiana. He
devotes particular attention to the problematic use of the term ‘Colonial
French’ in reference to the prestige variety widely used in
Louisiana during the nineteenth century, after the end of the French
and Spanish colonial regimes. He re-baptizes this variety ‘Plantation
Society French’ in recognition of the crucial role that the
wealth of Louisiana’s plantation economy played in its maintenance
and spread in the state during this period. In this study I pursue
the reassessment of the standard view of French in Louisiana, initiated
by Picone, by questioning our understanding of another of the three
traditionally recognized varieties, Cajun French. I show that the
identification of this label with the ethnic group called Cajuns renders
it inapt to account for the full range of speech varieties that, based
purely on linguistic analysis, might logically fall within its scope:
Many speakers of these varieties do not identify themselves ethnically
as Cajuns, and many live in regions that did not receive Acadian settlement.
I propose as an alternative the ethnically neutral term ‘Louisiana
Regional French’ to encompass these varieties spoken by Cajuns
and non-Cajuns alike.
Picone, Michael D. 2003. French dialects of Louisiana:
A revised typology. Paper read at the Colloquium on French in the
United States/Colloque sur le français aux Etats-Unis. Indiana
University, April 22-24 2003.
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Workshop: Wednesday, April 14, 1:00
Semiology of a Prehistoric Ceremonial
Vernon James Knight
University of Alabama
This pre-conference workshop will center on a
tour of the prehistoric Mississippian ceremonial center of Moundville,
AD 1150-1550. Moundville is famous for its large earthen mounds surrounding
a plaza, and also for its representational art. Archaeologists often
speak of “grammars” in the design properties of artifacts
or in the features of the built environment. The usage is just a metaphor,
but it does point to the structured and expressive aspects of material
culture. We think that the Moundville site was originally laid out
as a sociogram, in which the arrangement of earthworks and plaza space
is a diagram of a social arrangement. The built-in symmetries and
asymmetries of the ceremonial center have reference to a particular
vision of social reality, having to do with the ranking of kin groups
and the emergence of an elite class. The workshop will also delve
briefly into Moundville’s iconography, with its symbol sets
referencing the cosmos, the afterlife, and the “path of souls.”
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8aFRI : Friday, April 16, 3:50-4:10, Ferguson Theater
Southern English by the Numbers
William A. Kretzschmar, Jr.
University of Georgia
Various quantitative techniques have been applied to
the analysis of Southern English. Some are simple counts of features,
others are elaborate applications of advanced statistics. Some refer
to linguistic perceptions, and others to the production of linguistic
features. What do these numbers tell us? Which techniques work best?
In this essay I will illustrate several quantitative approaches, and
discuss their relative success given the types of questions that they
are supposed to be answering about Southern English.
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6aFRI : Friday, April 16, 12:35-12:55, Ferguson Theater
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw
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