Presentation Title

Up in the North Country: Pushing the western border of Western New England English

Time

11:00 AM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Social Sciences

Abstract

An old dairy farmer in northwestern Vermont wakes at the first sign of “dayloight” (daylight) to milk and tend to his “keows” (cows). A dairy farmer in the North Country region of northern New York, does the same. Although born and raised in different regions separated by Lake Champlain, both farmers live within rural spaces neighboring large mountain ranges – the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the Adirondack Park of New York State – positioned south of the Canadian border. Dinkin (2009) has previously established the widespread use of the low back merger in the North Country, however, there remains a gap in the literature on this region regarding the existence of the features exemplified in the pronunciations of “daylight” and “cows.” These vowels, which are closely associated with rural and agricultural identity, and which have characterized what is now referred to as the Vermont dialect, are accomplished through the raising of /aɪ/, as well as the raising and fronting of /aʊ/ (Roberts 2007, 2016). Additionally, the presence of these Vermont features in Northern New York suggests an incomplete understanding concerning the limits of Western New England English as a whole. While Stanford, Leddy-Cecere, and Baclawski (2012) have concluded that the eastern boundary of Western New England English has shifted, there are no current studies which have re-examined the location of the western boundary. This apparent-time study phonetically analyzes the vowel systems of 14 individuals native to the three northernmost counties of New York – the most isolated corner of the state – while taking note of sociocultural information, such as gender, age, and occupation. My primary concern with this paper is to expand upon the geographical boundaries in which Western New England English is believed to be currently and historically active, through the identification of specific features found in the North Country region which have traditionally belonged to the Vermont dialect.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Julie Roberts

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Linguistics

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Up in the North Country: Pushing the western border of Western New England English

An old dairy farmer in northwestern Vermont wakes at the first sign of “dayloight” (daylight) to milk and tend to his “keows” (cows). A dairy farmer in the North Country region of northern New York, does the same. Although born and raised in different regions separated by Lake Champlain, both farmers live within rural spaces neighboring large mountain ranges – the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the Adirondack Park of New York State – positioned south of the Canadian border. Dinkin (2009) has previously established the widespread use of the low back merger in the North Country, however, there remains a gap in the literature on this region regarding the existence of the features exemplified in the pronunciations of “daylight” and “cows.” These vowels, which are closely associated with rural and agricultural identity, and which have characterized what is now referred to as the Vermont dialect, are accomplished through the raising of /aɪ/, as well as the raising and fronting of /aʊ/ (Roberts 2007, 2016). Additionally, the presence of these Vermont features in Northern New York suggests an incomplete understanding concerning the limits of Western New England English as a whole. While Stanford, Leddy-Cecere, and Baclawski (2012) have concluded that the eastern boundary of Western New England English has shifted, there are no current studies which have re-examined the location of the western boundary. This apparent-time study phonetically analyzes the vowel systems of 14 individuals native to the three northernmost counties of New York – the most isolated corner of the state – while taking note of sociocultural information, such as gender, age, and occupation. My primary concern with this paper is to expand upon the geographical boundaries in which Western New England English is believed to be currently and historically active, through the identification of specific features found in the North Country region which have traditionally belonged to the Vermont dialect.