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Language variation and change in the urban midwest: The case of St. Louis, Missouri

  • Thomas E. Murray (a1)

St. Louis, Missouri, though located in the central Midlands, is a complex city dialectally. Nevertheless, over the past 50 years most dialectologists and sociolinguists have identified the area as primarily a Northern or Northern/North Midland speech island in a sea of Southern and especially South Midland forms. This article is concerned with whether the city's strong affinity for the Northern/North Midland dialect continues into the 21st century. Small pieces of evidence presented over the last generation regarding the evolution of the area's language have shown that different features of its pronunciation, grammar, and lexicon are variously shifting both toward and away from a Northern/North Midland standard. More comprehensive evidence from a dialectological/sociolinguistic survey completed in 1982–1983 and replicated in 2001, however, suggests that overall the Northern/North Midland standard has been not only preserved, but greatly strengthened.

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Language Variation and Change
  • ISSN: 0954-3945
  • EISSN: 1469-8021
  • URL: /core/journals/language-variation-and-change
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