Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

"Real" down-home southern English: comparing an Oklahoman's real and imitated dialects

Justin T. McBride


The Research on the Dialects of English in Oklahoma (RODEO) project offers a view of local perceptions of dialects in Oklahoma, USA. “Beth” (Female, 46, Watts, Oklahoma) spontaneously read the same passage in both her local, Southern - influenced English variety and a pretend, “real down - home Southern” variety. Spectra from both performances were analyzed to determine pitch, intensity, and formant values of stressed vowels and the length of words containing them. Beth ’s local and exaggerated Southern performances were compared using paired t - tests. While many differences were insignificant, Beth’s imitated variety was characterized by FACE vowel onset centralization, THOUGHT vowel raising, and increases in time and int ensity. Sociolinguistic interview data was also analyzed to reveal attitudinal evidence for the contrast. Beth appears to reveal weak perceptual associations with stereotypic Southern English phonological features but exhibits a complicated attitudinal rel ationship to the local speech community and an awareness of registers within the local repertoire .

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