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A rural/metropolitan split in the speech of Texas Anglos

  • Erik R. Thomas (a1)
Abstract

The migration of people to the Sunbelt in the United States constitutes a major demographic shift, but has received little attention from language variationists. In Texas, this migration has led to a split of the Anglo population of the state into two dialects, a rural dialect and a metropolitan dialect. Evidence from a random-sample survey of Texas and from a systematic set of surveys of high schools in the state shows that young rural Anglos preserve two stereotypical features of the Texas accent, monophthongal /ai/, as in night, and lowered onsets of /e/, as in day, while young Anglos from metropolitan centers lack these features. This difference, which is absent among middle-aged and older native Texan Anglos, appears to have resulted from the fact that in-migration from other parts of the country is concentrated in metropolitan centers, especially suburbs.

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