All files now restored

Access to all files that went missing a couple months back has now been restored! Enjoy!

Less Widely Available Archive (LWAA) Back Online

All documents in the Less Widely Available Archive, including all of NasalFest, are now back up online. I am still working on restoring files in other sections of the site, however.

Site File Loss

Okay, so it turns out there was a file loss on the server that supports this site, and this is why folks are having trouble accessing most PDFs on the site. I have been able to restore the underlying file structure, but the files themselves still need to be restored. This means I will have to repopulate the site one file at a time.

As of November 1, I am in the process of doing so, but I have a lot going on in my teaching and research life at the moment, so it will take a while to do so. There was 2 years of stuff posted here that needs to be replaced! Slowly but surely, the files will come back online though. Thanks for your patience.

In honor of Robert Stockwell

In honor of Robert Stockwell, we present an overview collection of his work, both on his own, and with Donka Minkova, on vowel shifting in English. Please see the resources below and take the time to look at some of them. He had some very interesting, and very unique, perspectives…

Minkova, Donka and Robert Stockwell. 2003. English vowel shifts and ‘optimal’ diphthongs: Is there a logical link? In D. Eric Holt (Ed.), Optimality Theory and language change. The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishing. pp. 169-190.

Stockwell, Robert. 2002. How much shifting occurred in the historical English vowel shift? In Donka Minkova and Robert Stockwell (Eds.), Studies in the history of the English Language: A millennial perspective. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. p. 267-281. 2002.pdf

Stockwell, Robert, and Donka Minkova. 1999. Explanations of Sound Change: Contradictions between dialect data and theories of chain shifting. Leeds Studies in English XXX:83-102. Minkova 1999.pdf

Stockwell, Robert, and Donka Minkova. 1997. On drifts and shifts. Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, 31:283-303.

Stockwell, Robert. 1972. Problems in the interpretation of the Great Vowel Shift. In M. Estellie Smith, Ed., Studies in Linguistics in Honor of George Trager. Mouton: The Hague, Paris. pp. 344-362. 1972.pdf

RIP Dr Robert Stockwell

I am very sorry to hear this news. RIP Robert Stockwell…

From the UCLA Linguistics Web site (


Our founding chair, Robert Stockwell, passed away October 28, 2012, following a long illness.

Bob was born June 12, 1925, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was educated at the University of Virginia, where he received a B.A. in English and Greek in 1946, an M.A. in English in 1949, and a Ph.D. in English Philology in 1952. He worked from 1952 to 1956 School of Languages of the Foreign Service Institute, where he developed highly effective pedagogical materials, grounded in linguistic theory, for the teaching of Spanish. Bob came to UCLA as an Assistant Professor in the English Department in 1956. He soon was marshaling the resources for an effective linguistics program: the Interdepartmental Program in linguistics was approved in 1960, followed by the Center for Research in Languages and Linguistics in 1963 and then full department status in 1966 — the same year Bob was promoted to Full Professor. For many years Bob served as the new department’s chair.

The department proved to be an intellectually very lively place, one to which strong faculty were readily attracted. With a number of important recruitments, the department rose in only a few years to scholarly eminence and thence to a very high national program ranking. Bob was also in the thick of the new department’s research activities, notably in his coauthorship of The Major Syntactic Structures of English (1973), with Paul Schachter and Barbara Partee, and also in his longstanding work (much of it with his colleague and later spouse Donka Minkova, UCLA English Department) on the history of English. As his health declined during the last few years we saw little of Bob, but the strong academic culture of the department he left behind has remained as an attestation of his work.

Durian and Gordon’s 2011 NWAV 40 Presentation Now Available

Here is a posting for the final of the NWAV 40 presentation slide shows that we will be posted to the site. This one is the overview presentation by Durian and Gordon for the whole “New Ways of Analyzing Vowel Shifts” double panel. Sticking with the theme, the presentation itself actually introduces some new material presenting new ways of looking at vowel shifts, rather than simply being an overview per se.

This show presents what we believe to be the first reference to “Third Dialect Shift” as a proper term for defining the vowel shift found in recent studies in Canada, the US Midland, and the US West, where LOT backs (and variably raises), TRAP backs, and DRESS also backs. The backing of LOT is often accompanied by merger with THOUGHT, but not always. This term for the Shift also appears in written form outside of this presentation in Durian’s forthcoming dissertation “A New Perspective on Vowel Variation throughout the 20th Century in Columbus, OH,” to be made available in December, 2012.

The slide show can be found here–

Labov (1964) also available in the Less Widely Available Archive (LWAA)

The original dissertation version of Labov’s Social Stratification of English in New York City (from 1964) is now also available in the LWAA as of today. Note, it is 646 pages long (and 26.7 MB!), so may take a little time to download. This version is the one filed on microfilm as a part of the University Microfilms series.

Here is the direct link:

Hindle’s 1979 dissertation now available in the Less Widely Available Archive (LWAA)

By popular request, now available in the LWAA is Don Hindle’s The Social and Situational Conditioning of Phonetic Variation. Note that the scan quality on some pages is a bit dodgy–I don’t currently have access to the original to be able to fix the wonky pages. It can be found directly via this link below, as well as on the standard LWAA page.

NWAV 40 New Perspectives on Vowel Shifting Panel Overview

Here is the overview for the NWAV 40 “New Perspectives on Vowel Shifting” panel, organized by David Durian, Matthew J Gordon, Brian D Joseph, and Dennis Preston. It includes abstracts for each individual paper within each of the two panel sessions as well as an abstract for the whole of the double panel. It is posted as a .pdf.

Currently, 3 papers from the panel (session 2) are available via links on this blog. Click the links below to access abstracts for the presentations as well as links to slide shows of the presentations.

Dinkin’s Toward a Unified Theory of Chain Shifting

Durian and Joseph Making Sense of Shifty Changes: The Role of Phonetic Analogy in Vowel Shifts

Fruehwald’s The Phonological Component of Phonetic Change

Toward a Unified Theory of Chain Shifting (Aaron Dinkin, 2011)

Here is a link to a third paper from the “New Perspectives on Vowel Shifting” panel at NWAV 40. This time, it is a paper by Aaron Dinkin of Swathmore entitled “Toward a Unified Theory of Chain Shifting.” This link provides a .pdf of Dinkin’s slide show.

The abstract for the paper is presented below:

The ontological status of the chain shift as a linguistic phenomenon has been a subject of
some dispute. Is “chain shift” merely a label assigned in retrospect to a collection of
sound changes that happen to have co-occurred in a superficially structured seeming way,
as argued by Stockwell & Minkova (1988)? Or is the chain a unitary process which
simultaneously causes the movements of several phonemes, as argued by Lass (1988)?
This paper explores the ontological status and evolution of chain shifting, focusing on
data from the Northern Cities Shift (NCS) in the transitional region of eastern New York

In the Hudson Valley, raising of /æ/, the triggering feature of the NCS, is absent, while
other NCS features are present, suggesting that the structural relationship does not hold.
At the same time, in “fringe” communities to which the NCS has apparently diffused, the
NCS takes on a more systematic-seeming triangular shape in the vowel space. These
findings corroborate the theories of Labov (2007) and Preston (2008) on the phonological
consequences of diffusion of the NCS, which had not previously been observed in a
single data set.

These results suggest an overall model for the life cycle of chain shifts, unifying
Stockwell & Minkova’s and Lass’s perspectives: In the community where a chain shift
originates, it is a unitary phenomenon in which phonemes move in response to each other.
As it spreads to new communities, the uniformity is broken down and the individual
shifts no longer bear the same structural relationship to each other. If the result of the
shift becomes mainstream in a broad area beyond its originating community, it takes on
the phonetically symmetric and simplified form that is the result of diffusion. A similar
analysis can be applied to the Great Vowel Shift, as well as the NCS.

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