Skip to main content Accessibility help

Flying high above the social radar: Coronal stop deletion in modern Appalachia

  • Kirk Hazen (a1)

In this paper I examine how a classic feature of variationist research, coronal stop deletion (CSD), operates at the end of the 20th century in one of the most renowned vernacular dialects in the United States, English in Appalachia. Through examination of CSD in a corpus of Appalachian speech, this paper also focuses on the methodological choices available. Several methodological questions are reviewed, such as the choices concerning voicing of the codas (wind vs. went vs. west). The corpus comprises interviews with 67 Appalachian speakers, yielding 17,694 tokens of potential CSD. These were analyzed using quantitative variationist methodology to reveal that morphological categories are less influential than even the preceding phonological environment. This finding is in stark contrast with some other vernacular varieties and suggests that apparent morphological influences are actually phonological influences that present themselves as morphological trends. Overall, the following phonological environment is overwhelmingly the most influential linguistic factor on the rate of CSD. These Appalachian speakers maintain relatively high rates, in effect constraining the social distinctions within Appalachia that could possibly be made using CSD, but marking them as vernacular speakers for those outside Appalachia.

Hide All
Bybee, Joan. (2002). Word frequency and context of use in the lexical diffusion of phonetically conditioned sound change. Language Variation and Change 14:261290.
Carver, Craig. (1987). American regional dialects: A word geography. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Childs, Becky, & Mallinson, Christine. (2004). African American English in Appalachia: Dialect accommodation and substrate influence. English World-Wide 25(1):2750.
Fasold, Ralph W. (1972). Tense marking in Black English: A linguistic and social analysis. Washington, D.C: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Gahl, Susanne, & Garnsey, Susan. (2004). Knowledge of grammar, knowledge of usage: Syntactic probabilities affect pronunciation variation. Language 80(4):748775.
Gahl, Susanne, & Garnsey, Susan. (2006). Knowledge of grammar includes knowledge of syntactic probabilities. Language 82(2):405410.
Guy, Gregory R. (1980). Variation in the group and the individual: The case of final stop deletion. In Labov, W. (ed.), Locating language in time and space. New York: Academic Press. 136.
Guy, Gregory R. (1991). Contextual conditioning in variable lexical phonology. Language Variation and Change 3:223239.
Guy, Gregory R. (2009). Unique lexical representations or multiple exemplars? A presentation at the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America.
Guy, Gregory R., & Boberg, Charles. (1997). Inherent variability and the obligatory contour principle. Language Variation and Change 9(2):149164.
Hazen, Kirk. (2002). Identity and language variation in a rural community. Language 78:240257.
Hazen, Kirk. (2008). (ING): A vernacular baseline for English in Appalachia. American Speech 83(2):116140.
Hazen, Kirk, Butcher, Paige, & King, Ashley. (2010). Unvernacular Appalachia. English Today 24(4):1322.
Hazen, Kirk, Hamilton, Sarah, & Vacovsky, Sarah. (2011). The fall of demonstrative them: Evidence from Appalachia. English World-Wide 32(1):74103.
Hooper, Joan Bybee. (1976). Word frequency in lexical diffusion and the source of morpho-phonological change. In Christie, W. (ed.), Current progress in historical linguistics. Amsterdam: North Holland. 96105.
Jurafsky, Daniel, Bell, Allan, Gregory, Michelle, & Raymond, William. (2001). Probabilistic relations between words: Evidence from reduction in lexical production. In Bybee, J. & Hopper, P. (eds.), Frequency and the emergence of linguistic structure. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 229254.
Khan, Farhat. (1991). Final consonant cluster simplification in a variety of Indian English. In Cheshire, J. (ed.), English around the world: Sociolinguistic perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 288298.
Kurath, Hans. (1949). A word geography of the Eastern United States. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Labov, William. (1989). The child as linguistic historian. Language Variation and Change 1:8597.
Labov, William. (1997). Resyllabification. In Hinskens, F., van Hout, R., & Wetzels, L. (eds.), Language variation and phonological theory. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 145180.
Labov, William. (2001). Applying our knowledge of African-American English to the problem of raising reading levels in inner-city schools. In Lanehart, S. (ed.), Sociocultural and historical contexts of African American English. Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 299330.
Labov, William, Ash, Sharon, & Boberg, Charles. (2006). Atlas of North American English. Hague: Mouton de Gruyter.
Labov, William, & Cohen, Paul. (1967). Systematic relations of standard and non-standard rules in the grammars of Negro speakers. Project Literacy Reports No. 8. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University. 6684.
Labov, William, Cohen, Paul, & Robins, Clarence. (1965). A preliminary study of the structure of English used by Negro and Puerto Rican speakers in New York City. Final report, Cooperative Research Project 3091 [ERIC ED003819].
Labov, William, Cohen, Paul, Robins, Clarence, & Lewis, John. (1968). A study of the Non-Standard English of Negro and Puerto Rican speakers in New York City, Vols. 1 & 2. United States Office of Education Final Report, Research Project 3288 [ERIC ED028423 and ED028424].
Luhman, Reid. (1990). Appalachian English stereotypes: Language attitudes in Kentucky. Language in Society 19:331348.
Mallinson, Christine, & Wolfram, Walt. (2002). Dialect accommodation in a bi-ethnic mountain enclave community: More evidence on the development of African American English. Language in Society 31(5):743775.
Preston, Dennis. (1991). Sorting out the variables in sociolinguistic theory. American Speech 66:3356.
Raymond, William D., Dautricourt, Robin, & Hume, Elizabeth. (2006). Word-internal /t,d/ deletion in spontaneous speech: Modeling the effects of extra-linguistic, lexical, and phonological factors. Language Variation and Change 18:5597.
Romaine, Suzanne. (1984). The sociolinguistic history of t/d deletion. Folio Linguistica Historia 2:221255.
Sankoff, David, Tagliamonte, Sali, & Smith, Eric. (2005). Goldvarb X: A variable rule application for Macintosh and Windows. Department of Linguistics, University of Toronto.
Schneider, Edgar W. (2004). Global synopsis: Phonetic and phonological variation in English world-wide. In Schneider, E. W., Burridge, K., Kortmann, B., Mesthrie, R., & Upton, C. (eds.), A handbook of varieties of English. New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 11111138.
Schreier, Daniel. (2003). Convergence and language shift in New Zealand: Consonant cluster reduction in 19th century Maori English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 7(3):378414.
Schreier, Daniel. (2005). Consonant change in English worldwide: Synchrony meets diachrony. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
Schreier, Daniel. (2009). How diagnostic are English universals? In Flippula, M., Klemola, J., & Paulasto, H. (eds.), Vernacular universals and language contacts: Evidence from varieties of English and beyond. New York: Routledge.
Schuchardt, Hugo. (1885). Über die Lautgesetze: Gegen die Junggrammatiker. Berlin: R. Oppenheim.
Tagliamonte, Sali. (2006). Analysing sociolinguistic variation. New York. Cambridge University Press.
Tagliamonte, Sali, & Temple, Rosalind. (2005). New perspectives on an ol' variable: (t,d) in British English. Language Variation and Change 17(3):281302.
Torbert, Benjamin. (2001). Tracing Native American English history through consonant cluster reduction: The case of Lumbee English. American Speech 76(4):361387.
Trudgill, Peter. (1974). The social differentiation of English in Norwich. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wolfram, Walter A. (1969). A sociolinguistic description of Detroit Negro speech. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Wolfram, Walter A. (1973a). Sociolinguistic aspects of assimilation: Puerto Rican English in New York City. Arlington, VA: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Wolfram, Walter A. (1973b). Variable constraints and rule relations. In Fasold, R. W. (ed.), Variation in the form and use of language. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Wolfram, Walter A. (1993). Identifying and interpreting variables. In Preston, D. (ed.), American dialect research. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 193221.
Wolfram, Walter A., Childs, Becky, & Torbert, Benjamin. (2000). Tracing language history through consonant cluster reduction: Comparative evidence from isolated dialects. Southern Journal of Linguistics 24(1):1740.
Wolfram, Walter A., & Christian, Donna. (1976). Appalachian speech. Washington, DC: The Center for Applied Linguistics.
Wolfram, Walter A., & Fasold, Ralph W. (1974). The study of social dialects in American English. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Wolfram, Walter A., & Thomas, Erik R. (2002). The development of African American English. Oxford: Blackwell.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Language Variation and Change
  • ISSN: 0954-3945
  • EISSN: 1469-8021
  • URL: /core/journals/language-variation-and-change
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


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