The Historiography of Linguistics, Post 4: A History of American Dialectology (Gordon Mundell, 1973)

This doctoral thesis was written by Gordon Harold Mundell at the University of Rochester in 1973. It was written under the supervision of Dean Obrecht. It provides a detailed look at the history of the field of American Dialectology from the founding of the American Dialect Society in 1881 up until the early 1970s (circa 1972 or so). Included in the discussion is analysis of materials published by the ADS in both Dialect Notes and American Speech, as well as the Publication of the American Dialect Society (PADS) series. Also included is some discussion of the series of structural dialectology papers published by linguists such as Martinet and Weinreich, among others, in the journal Word in the 1950s. In addition, discussion of the “shift” of the field to “generative methods” and the early work of Labov is included in the last chapter of the dissertation.

Given the rarity of this work, it will be posted under the Less Widely Available Archive (LWAA) PDF series area on the site for long term access.

Mundell, Gordan H. 1973. A history of American Dialectology Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. http://ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/LWAA/Mundell_1973.pdf

The Historiography of Linguisitics, Post 3: The History of NWAV(E), 1972-2006

This document features discussion of the NWAV(E) conference, from its beginnings in 1972 until 2006, the 35th anniversary of the conference. Included in the document are interviews with important figures in sociolinguistics, such as Walt Wolfram, Gillian Sankoff, Dennis Preston, John Rickford, Ralph Fasold, Jack Chambers, Peter Trudgill, Roger Shuy, and William Labov. The piece originally appeared in the NWAV 35 Conference booklet, and has been circulated in a corrected and slightly updated form via Wikipedia since….

Durian, David. 2006. NWAV at 35: A Look at the History, Directions, and Development of NWAV(E), 1972- 2006: Conversations with Jack K. Chambers; Ralph Fasold, William Labov; Dennis Preston; John Rickford; Gillian Sankoff; Roger Shuy; Peter Trudgill; and Walt Wolfram. NWAV 35 Conference Booklet. Columbus, OH: Zipf Publishing. https://www.dropbox.com/s/1p78a1htuzob2gb/DD_NWAV_35_Retro.pdf?dl=0

The Historiography of Linguistics, Post 2: The History of Sociolinguistics, Another Perspective

This chapter, taken from John E. Joseph’s (2002) book From Whitney to Chomsky, presents a different view on the historical development of the field of sociolinguistics in America than sources such as Roger Shuy (see Post 1 in this area). In doing so, Joseph attempts to demonstrate how class-focused analyses of language variation predate the work of Labov and even McDavid among US scholars. In particular, he argues the work of George Putnam, Edna O’Hern, and Paul Furfey is overlooked, and these works need to be reevaluated in discussions of the history of sociolinguistic thought and study in the US.

Joseph, John E. 2002. The origins of American Sociolinguistics. From Whitney to Chomsky. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 107-132.https://www.dropbox.com/s/0w0mwdpa6k08i2u/Joseph_2002_Chapter5.pdf?dl=0

The Historiography of Linguistics, Post 1: Shuy 1990 on American Sociolinguistics

Recently, I have begun work on a paper that will investigate the genre of the linguistics article, and how it has changed over time. As a part of my research work on this topic, I have begun to read some of the literature on the historiography of linguistics that has been published over the years. This work contributes to an understanding of the analysis of “change” in linguistics in a different way than other articles and book chapters I’ve posted here before, but I also think it makes an important contribution that perhaps site readers will find interesting and useful.

To begin this series, I present the following article by Roger Shuy:

Shuy, Roger. 1990. A brief history of American Sociolinguistics, 1949-1989. Historographia Linguistica XVII, 1/2: 183-209. https://www.dropbox.com/s/91j0zsn6inp3xh6/shuy%201990.pdf?dl=0

This article deals with the shift that occurred in American Sociolinguistics from the days before Labov came on the scene to around the time the article was actually published (late 1980s). It presents a very interesting perspective on the material from Shuy, who was a linguist who was actually “on the scene” with sociolinguistic interests and focus before Labov arrived and caused the revolution his work did.

Hindle’s (1975) Syntactic variation in Philadelphia: Positive anymore Now added to the LWAA!

Now added to the Less Widely Available Archive (LWAA) we have…

Hindle, Donald. 1975. Syntactic variation in Philadelphia: Positive “anymore”. Pennsylvania Working Papers of Language Change and Variation, I.5. https://www.dropbox.com/s/2zuyc82rdkblkfi/Hindle_1975.pdf?dl=0

On the inclusion and use of onomastic studies to inform regional language studies

This 2006 piece, written by Edward Callary, discusses and then demonstrates how and why including onomoastic studies in studies of regional dialect variation can be quite useful. Here, specifically, Callary demonstrates the usefulness of onomastic material to address the existence of a “Midland” in US English. Having done regional dialectology studies himself (Callary 1975), he raises some interesting points about intersections between dialectology studies as they have traditionally been conducted in the US and onomastics along the way.

Callary, Edward. 2006. On the use of geographic names to inform regional dialect studies: A new look at ‘heartland’ English. In Thomas E. Murray and Beth Lee Simon. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 93-104. http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/Callary_2006.pdf

Reference:

Callary, Robert E[dward]. 1975. Phonological change and the development of an urban dialect in Illinois. Language in Society, 4:155-169.

Two Bits on Early Dialect Recordings

During the 1920s and 1930s, two dialect recording collections were made by researchers in the United States. Both were recorded using gramophone technology. The first, by Cabell Greet and Harry Ayers, was made in the late 1920s and collected as the Columbia Records Dialects collection. The second, by Miles Hanley, was collected by Hanley in conjunction with the Linguistic Atlas of New England. Typically referred to as the “Hanley Collection” in later discussion, this collection features several hundred recordings.

The two short pieces, published in 1936 and both appearing in the Proceedings of the Second International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, discuss both of these collections when they were still both relatively new and relatively novel. Kenyon’s, on the Columbia recordings, provides some discussion of the vowel variation patterns he was able to note among speakers in them. Hanley’s, on the materials in the LANE collection, presents a technical discussion of what recording “sessions” for field work in the 1930s were like from the perspective of types of equipment and recording materials available and types of equipment and recording materials actually used.

Hanley, Miles. 1936. Phonographic recording. In Daniel Jones and D. B. Fry, Eds., Proceedings of the Second International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 75-82. http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/Hanley_1936.pdf

Kenyon, J. S. 1936. Phonographic records of American Dialects. In Daniel Jones and D. B. Fry, Eds., Proceedings of the Second International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 278-281.http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/Kenyon_1936.pdf

Assumed but Not Typically Stated…

In analyses of vowel systems conducted in sociolingusitics since the 1970s (Labov, et al, 1972, following in the footsteps of Martinet, 1952; 1955), we usually have adopted the overall pattern approach to analyzing vowel systems. This approach, which has essentially become an underlying assumption of how vowel system analysis “should” work, in particular in analyses of dialectal variation within English, however, is rather contrastive with earlier approaches, particularly those of the school of analysis who worked in the tradition of dialect analysis popular in the US during the era that dialectologists such as Kurth and McDavid were working.

These papers, by Robert Stockwell, provide a useful perspective on why, ultimately, analysts following after Labov settled on this approach, even if they didn’t themselves realize they were doing so (besides, perhaps, wanting to emulate Labov’s work given how well it has captured dialectal vowel variance).

Stockwell, Robert. 1964. On the utility of an overall pattern in historical English phonology. In Horace G. Lunt (Ed.), Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of Linguists. London: Mouton & Co. pp. 663-671. http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/Stockwell_1964.pdf

Stockwell, Robert. 1959. Structural dialectology: A proposal. American Speech, 34.4:258-268. http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/Stockwell_1959.pdf

Final Version of David Durian’s 2012 Dissertation Now Available

The final version of all chapters from David Durian’s 2012 Dissertation A New Perspective on Vowel Variation across the 19th and 20th Centuries in Columbus, OH are now available on his web site. In addition, a file containing the final version of the entire dissertation as one pdf can now also be downloaded. These files can be found here–http://www.ling.ohio-state.edu/~ddurian/Dissertation/.

Split short-a system fest (Updated December, 2012)

Split short-a systems, in which /ae/ is argued to actually be present as two phonemes (/ae/ and /ae:/), have a long history of being discussed as they are found, both historically and in the present-day, along the US East Coast, particularly in cities such as New York City (Babbitt, 1896; Trager, 1930; 1940; Thomas, 1947; Hubbell, 1950; Bronstein, 1962; Berger, 1968; Cohen, 1970; Setzer, 1998; Becker and Wong, 2009; Becker, 2010) and Philadelphia (Ferguson, 1972; Labov, 1989). Yet a growing body of research in recent years has reported split-a systems and split-a like systems to be found in a diversity of other US locations historically–including Cincinnati (Boberg & Strassel, 1995, 2000); Columbus (Durian, 2010; 2012); Kansas City* (Lusk, 1976); New Orleans (Labov, 2007); and Southeastern Florida (Dinkin & Friesner, 2009). In addition, split systems have also been reported to occur historically more generally in more general geographic areas, including many portions of Southern and Central Ohio (Thomas, 2006); select areas in the Hudson Valley area of New York State (Dinkin, 2009); and generally across many portions of the Eastern US seaboard (Ash, 2002; and Johnson, 1998; see also the “oldies but goodies,” Emerson, 1891; Grandgent, 1892; and Tuttle, 1902).

In quite recent work, Erik Thomas, Charles Boberg, Stephanie Strassel and I have all found evidence of historical split-a systems throughout Central and Southern Ohio, specifically in Cincinnati (Boberg & Strassel, 1995, 2000) and Columbus (Durian, 2010, 2012), but more generally throughout many portions of Central and Southern OH, as well (Thomas, 2006). Given the results of these studies, particularly my own, I have found myself lately interested in learning more about split-a systems. Given that split a systems also appear to be being discovered in an increasingly diverse number of areas throughout the US, I thought this topic might also be of interest to a number of readers out there.

Thus, I have decided to present a series of articles on split short a systems which provide more or less a concise history of what we know about their occurrence and geographic distribution as of November, 2012 in the US. This series is presented below, with the readings divided up by geographic location in which the study occurred, and then chronologically within geographic location. For more on my own recent findings of split a systems in Columbus historically, see the related entry on my Century of Language Change in Columbus blog, as my work has yet to be published, and the dissertation chapter I am writing concerning this topic is still under development.

[* Note that this finding represents my own reinterpretation of Lusk’s findings. Lusk herself diagnoses the short a system to show Northern Cities Shift style raising, rather than split-system style raising.]

New York City

Babbitt, E. H. 1896. The English of the lower classes in New York City and vicinity. Dialect Notes, 1: 457-464. http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/Babbitt_1896.pdf

Trager, George L. 1930. The pronunciation of “short “a” in American Standard English. American Speech, 5:396–400. http://www.jstor.org/stable/452819

Trager, George L. 1940. One phonemic entity becomes two: The case of “short a”. American Speech, 15:255–58. http://www.jstor.org/stable/486966

Thomas, C.K. 1947. The place of New York City in American linguistic geography. Quarterly Journal of Speech 33.3: 314-320.

Hubbell, Allan F. 1950. The pronunciation of English in New York City: Consonants and vowels. New York: Columbia University’s King’s Crown Press.

Bronstein, Arthur J. 1962. Let’s take another look at New York City Speech. American Speech, 37.1:13-26.

Berger, Marshall D. 1968. The internal dynamics of a metropolitan New York vocalic paradigm. American Speech, 43.1:40-50.

Cohen, Paul. 1970. The tensing and raising of short-a in the Metropolitan Area of
New York City.
Master’s thesis, Columbia University.

Setzer, Kenneth. 1998. The low front vowel /æ/ in the English of New York City: Theoretical implications in a nonstandard dialect. American Speech, 73: 329–336.

Becker, Kara, and Amy Wing-mei Wong. 2009. The short-a system of New York City English: An update. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 15.2: Selected papers from NWAV 37. pp. 11-20.

Becker, Kara. 2010. Chapter 5: Short-a. Social conflict and social practice on the Lower East Side: A study of regional dialect features in New York City English. Doctoral dissertation: New York University.

Philadelphia

Ferguson, Charles. 1972. ‘Short a’ in Philadelphia English. In M. Estellie Smith (Ed.), Studies in honor of George L. Trager. The Hague: Mouton. pp. 259-274. http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/Ferguson_1972.pdf

Labov, William. 1989. An exact description of the speech community: Short a in Philadelphia. In Fasold, Ralph W., and Deborah Schiffrin (eds.), Language change and variation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp. 1-57.

East Coast More Generally

Emerson, Oliver F. 1891. The Ithaca dialect: A study of present English. Dialect Notes, 1: 85-173. http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/Emerson_1891.pdf

Grandgent, Charles H. 1892. Haf and haef. Dialect Notes 1, 269-275. http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/Grandgent_1892.pdf

Tuttle, Edwin. 1902. Phonetic notation. In Edward Scripture, Ed., Studies from the Yale Psychology Laboratory X:96-117.

Johnson, Daniel Ezra. 1998. The tensing and laxing of short ‘a’ in New Haven, Connecticut. B.A. thesis, Yale University. http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/Johnson_1998.pdf

Ash, Sharon. 2002. The distribution of a phonemic split in the Mid-Atlantic region: Yet more on short a. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 8.3: Papers from NWAV 30. pp. 1-11.

Dinkin, Aaron. 2009. Chapter 4: Short-a phonology and the structure of the vowel space. Dialect boundaries and phonological change in upstate New York. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Pennsylvania. pp. 144-242.

Midwest (with particular emphasis on Ohio)

Lusk, Melanie. 1976. Phonological variation in Kansas City: A sociolinguistic analysis of three-generation families. Doctoral dissertation, University of Kansas. http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/AWAC/LWAA/Lusk 1976.pdf

Boberg, Charles, and Stephanie Strassel, 1995. Phonological change in Cincinnati. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 2.2:25-35.

Boberg, Charles, and Stephanie Strassel. 2000. Short-a in Cincinnati: A change in progress. Journal of English Linguistics, 28: 108-126.

Thomas, Erik R. 2006. Evidence from Ohio on the evolution of /ae/. In Murray, Thomas E., and Beth Lee Simon (Eds.), Language variation and change in the American Midland: A new look at “Heartland English.” Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp. 69-89.

Durian, David. 2010. Is it Northern Cities or is it split? Reassessing the historical tensing and raising of /ae/ in Columbus in real and apparent time. Paper presented at Changelings (OSU Socio-Historical discussion group), Columbus, OH. http://www.ling.osu.edu/~ddurian/CLCC/Presentations.html

Durian, David. 2012. Chapter 6: The rise and fall of short-a in Columbus. A new perspective on vowel variation throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries in Columbus, OH. Doctoral dissertation, The Ohio State University.

Various Locations (Focus on transmission and diffusion of short-a systems)

Labov, William. 2007. Transmission and diffusion. Language, 83: 344-387. http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/language/v083/83.2labov.pdf

Dinkin, Aaron, and Michael Friesner. 2009. Transmission or diffusion?: NYC-like short a in Southeast Florida and the Hudson Valley. Paper presented at NWAV 38, Ottawa, Canada. http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~dinkin/ShortAhandout.pdf

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