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Linguistics Colloquium, Cory Holland: Shifting or Shifted? The State of California Vowels (March 12, 273 Kerr, 4:10—5:00)


Linguistics Colloquium

Thursday, March 12, 2015 

273 Kerr, 4:10—5:00

 

Shifting or Shifted? The State of California Vowels

Cory Holland, Colorado State University

 

Studies of vowel variation and change have found that the California vowel space is, or at least has been, changing, with the change termed the “California Vowel Shift” (CVS). However, very few studies focus on regions other than the urban coastal cities or on the type of heterogeneous communities that are typical of much of California. This study extends the investigation of the CVS beyond urban coastal California, as well as to speakers outside of the supposed prototypical – white English-monolingual – participant in the CVS. A lack of evidence for change in apparent time in the majority of vowel features implicated in the CVS suggests that the California vowel space may be reaching a point of stability. Also, speakers from ethnically and linguistically diverse backgrounds are found to participate in the CVS in substantially similar ways, calling into question assumptions about the necessity of homogeneity in the formation of a dialect community.

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