Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Compression in the California Vowel Shift: Tracking generational sound change in California's Central Valley

  • Annette D'Onofrio (a1), Teresa Pratt (a2) and Janneke Van Hofwegen (a3)

Abstract

This paper investigates the California Vowel Shift, previously characterized as a chain shift, in communities across California's Central Valley. An incremental apparent time analysis of 72 Californians’ vowel spaces provides no clear evidence of a gradual chain shift; that is, changes have not unfolded in an order that reflects an implicational chain in chronological time. Instead, we see contemporaneous movements of vowels that work against the phonological tendency of maximal dispersion typically invoked in describing chain shifts. By analyzing change in the size and dispersion of the entire vowel space, we find that ongoing sound change is instead characterized by a holistic compression of the vowel space. This suggests that, in these California communities, the shift's unfolding was driven by articulatory and social, rather than purely phonological, factors. We propose that the analysis of the size and spread of holistic vowel space can help characterize the nature and motivations for vocalic changes.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Adank, Patti, Smits, Roel, & van Hout, Roeland. (2004). A comparison of vowel normalization procedures for language variation research. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 116:30993107.
Boberg, Charles. (2005). The Canadian Shift in Montreal. Language Variation and Change 17.2: 133154.
Boersma, Paul, & Weenink, David. (2012). Praat: Doing Phonetics by Computer, version 5.3.07. Retrieved 4 March 2012 from www.praat.org.
Bond, Zinny S., & Moore, Thomas J. (1994). A note on the acoustic-phonetic characteristics of inadvertently clear speech. Speech Communication 14.4:325337.
Bourdieu, Pierre. (1977). The economics of linguistic exchanges. Social Science Information 16: 645668.
Bradlow, Ann R., Torretta, Gina M., & Pisoni, David B. (1996). Intelligibility of normal speech I: Global and fine-grained acoustic-phonetic talker characteristics. Speech Communication 20:255272.
Cardoso, Amanda, Hall-Lew, Lauren, Kementchedjhieva, Yova & Purse, Ruaridh. (2016). Between California and the Pacific Northwest: The Front Lax Vowels in San Francisco English. Publication of the American Dialect Society (Speech in the western states, vol. 1: The coastal states) 101:3354.
Clarke, Sandra, Elms, Ford, & Youssef, Amani. (1995). The Third Dialect of English: Some Canadian Evidence. Language Variation and Change 7.2:209228.
Dinkin, Aaron. (2012). Toward a unified theory of chain shifting. In Nevalainen, T. & Traugott, E. (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the History of English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dodsworth, Robin & Kohn, Mary. (2012). The urban rejection of the vernacular: The SVS undone. Language Variation and Change 24:221245.
D'Onofrio, Annette. (2015). Persona-based information shapes linguistic perception: Valley Girls and California vowels. Journal of Sociolinguistics 19:241256.
D'Onofrio, Annette, Eckert, Penelope, Podesva, Robert J., Pratt, Teresa, & Van Hofwegen, Janneke. (2016). The low vowels in California. Publication of the American Dialect Society (Speech in the western states, vol. 1: The coastal states) 101:1132.
Eckert, Penelope. (1989). Jocks and burnouts: Social categories and identity in the high school. Teachers College Press.
Eckert, Penelope. (2008). Where Do Ethnolects Stop? International Journal of Bilingualism 12:2542.
Eckert, Penelope. (2016). Variation, meaning, and social change. In Coupland, N. (Ed.) Sociolinguistics: Theoretical Debates. Cambridge University Press.
Eckert, Penelope & Labov, William. (2017). Phonetics, phonology and social meaning. Journal of Sociolinguistics 21:467496.
Flemming, Edward. (1996.) Evidence for constraints on contrast: The dispersion theory of contrast. UCLA Working Papers in Phonology 1:86106.
Fought, Carmen. (1999). A Majority Sound Change in a Minority Community: /u/-fronting in Chicano English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 3.1:523.
Fox, Robert Allen, & Jacewicz, Ewa. (2017). Reconceptualizing the vowel space in analyzing regional dialect variation and sound change in American English. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 142:444459.
Geenberg, Katherine. (2014). What it Means to be Norcal Country: Variation and Marginalization in Rural California. Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University.
Gick, Brian, Wilson, Ian, Koch, Karsten, & Cook, Clare. (2004). Language-Specific Articulatory Settings: Evidence from Inter-Utterance Rest Position. Phonetica 61:220233.
Gordon, Matthew J. (2005). The Midwest and West. In Kortmann, B. & Schneider, E. (Eds.) Handbook of Varieties of English: The Americas and Caribbean, Vol I: Phonology, 338350. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Gordon, Matthew J.. (2011). Methodological and theoretical issues in the study of chain shifting. Language and Linguistics Compass 5:784794.
Habick, Timothy. 1993. Farmer City, Illinois: sound systems shifting south. In Frazer, T. C. (Ed.) Heartland English: Variation and Transition in the American Middle West. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. 97124.
Hagiwara, Robert. (1997). “Dialect Variation and Formant Frequency: The American English Vowels Revisited.” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 102:655658.
Hall-Lew, Lauren. (2009). Ethnicity and Phonetic Variation in San Francisco English. Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University.
Hall-Lew, Lauren. (2010). Improved representation of variance in measures of vowel merger. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics 9:060002.
Harrington, Jonathan. (2006). An acoustic analysis of ‘happy-tensing’ in the Queen's Christmas broadcasts. Journal of Phonetics 34:439457.
Harrington, Jonathan, Palethorpe, Sallyanne & Watson, Catherine. (2000). Monophthongal vowel changes in Received Pronunciation: an acoustic analysis of the Queen's Christmas broadcasts. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 30:6378.
Hay, Jennifer, Warren, Paul, & Drager, Katie. (2006). Factors influencing speech perception in the context of a merger-in-progress. Journal of Phonetics 34:458484.
Heffernan, Kevin. (2010). Mumbling is macho: Phonetic distinctiveness in the speech of American radio DJs. American Speech 85:6790.
Hinton, Leanne, Moonwomon, Birch, Bremner, Sue, Luthin, Herb, Van Clay, Mary, Lerner, Jean & Corcoran, Hazel. (1987). It's Not Just the Valley Girls: A study of California English. Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: 117128.
Jacewicz, Ewa, Fox, Robert A., & Salmons, Joseph. (2007). Vowel space areas across dialects and gender. In Trouvain, J. & Barry, W. J. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Saarbrueken: University of Saarland. 14651468.
Kendall, Tyler, & Fridland, Valerie. (2017). Regional relationships among the low vowels of U.S. English: Evidence from production and perception. Language Variation and Change 29:245271.
Kendall, Tyler & Thomas, Erik R. (2012). Vowels: Vowel Manipulation, Normalization and Plotting. R package version 1.2. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=vowels. Last accessed June 7, 2018.
Kennedy, Robert, & Grama, James. (2012). Chain Shifting and Centralization in California Vowels: An Acoustic Analysis. American Speech 87.1:3956.
King, Sharese. (2015). On the negotiation of racial and regional identities: Vocalic Variation in African Americans from Bakersfield, California. Paper presented at New Ways of Analyzing Variation 44. Toronto, Canada.
King, Sharese, & Calder, Jeremy. (2016). The Negotiation of Linguistic Blackness in a Non-Urban California Community. Paper presented at Sociolinguistics Symposium 21. Murcia, Spain.
Labov, William. (1963). The Social Motivation of a Sound Change. Word 18:142.
Labov, William. (2007). Transmission and diffusion. Language 83:344387.
Labov, William. (2010). Principles of linguistic change, cognitive and cultural factors, Vol. 3. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.
Labov, William, Ash, Sharon & Boberg, Charles. (2006). The Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, Phonology, and Sound Change. New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Liljencrants, Johan, & Lindblom, Björn. (1972). Numerical Simulation of Vowel Quality Systems: The Role of Perceptual Contrast. Language 48:839862.
Lindblom, Björn. (1990). Explaining phonetic variation: A sketch of the H&H theory. Speech production and speech modelling: 403439. Dordrecht: Springer.
Martinet, André. (1952). Function, Structure, and Sound Change. Word: 8:132.
McLarty, Jason, Kendall, Tyler, & Farrington, Charlie. (2016). Investigating the development of the contemporary Oregonian English vowel system. Publication of the American Dialect Society (Speech in the western states, vol. 1: The coastal states 101:135157.
Nearey, Terrance. (1977). Phonetic feature system for vowels. Unpublished dissertation, University of Connecticut.
Nycz, Jennifer, & Hall-Lew, Lauren. (2013). Best practices in measuring vowel merger. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics 20:060008.
Picheny, Michael A., Durlach, Nathaniel I., & Braida, Louis D. (1986). Speaking clearly for the hard of hearing II: Acoustic characteristics of clear and conversational speech. Journal of speech and hearing research 29.4:434446.
Pierrehumbert, Janet B., Bent, Tessa, Munson, Benjamin, Bradlow, Ann R., & Bailey, J. Michael. (2004). The influence of sexual orientation on vowel production. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 116:19051908.
Podesva., Robert J. (2011). The California Vowel Shift and Gay Identity. American Speech 86:3251.
Podesva, Robert J., D'Onofrio, Annette, Van Hofwegen, Janneke & Kim, Seung Kyung. (2015). “The California Vowel Shift and Fractal Recursivity in an Inland, Non-urban Community.” Language Variation and Change 27:157186.
Pratt, Teresa & D'Onofrio, Annette. (2017). Jaw setting and the California Vowel Shift in parodic performance. Language in Society 46:283312.
R Core Team. (2016). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. https://www.R-project.org/. Last accessed 17 June 2018.
Ramanarayanan, Vikram, Goldstein, Louis, Byrd, Dani, & Narayanan, Shrikanth S. (2013). An investigation of articulatory setting using real-time magnetic resonance imaging. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 134:510519.
Roeder, Rebecca V. & Gardner, Matt Hunt. (2013). The Phonology of the Canadian Shift Revisited: Thunder Bay and Cape Breton. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics: Selected papers from NWAV 41 19.2:161170.
Roeder, Rebecca V., & Jarmasz, Lidia-Gabriela. (2010). The Canadian Shift in Toronto. The Canadian Journal of Linguistics 55:387404.
Rosenfelder, Ingrid, Fruehwald, Joe, Evanini, Keelan, & Yuan, Jiahong. (2011). FAVE Forced Alignment and Vowel Extraction Program Suite. http://fave.ling.upenn.edu. Last accessed June 17, 2018.
Sankoff, Gillian & Blondeau, Hélène. (2007). Language Change across the Lifespan: /r/ in Montreal French. Language 83:560588.
Sankoff, Gillian & Wagner, Suzanne. (2011). Age grading in the Montréal inflected future. Language Variation and Change 23:275313.
Stockwell, Robert P., & Minkova, Donka. (1988). The English Vowel Shift: problems of coherence and explanation. Luick revisited. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag. 355–394.
Van Hofwegen, Janneke. (2017). The systematicity of style: Investigating the full range of variation in everyday speech. Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University.
Wilson, Ian, & Gick, Brian. (2006). Articulatory Settings of French & English Monolinguals & Bilinguals. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 120(5):3295.
Winter, Bodo, & Wedel, Andrew. (2016). The Co-evolution of Speech and the Lexicon: The Interaction of Functional Pressures, Redundancy, and Category Variation. Topics in cognitive science 8:503513.

Compression in the California Vowel Shift: Tracking generational sound change in California's Central Valley

  • Annette D'Onofrio (a1), Teresa Pratt (a2) and Janneke Van Hofwegen (a3)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed