"That is the opposite of the pattern within North American English, which clearly points at dialect divergence; there are some dialects that are dying out such as coastal southern dialects, but there is large-scale dialect diversification in the works in other areas. Even General American proper is dying out as a living dialect group, being severely impinged by spread of the cot-caught merger, Canadian Raising, and the Northern Cities Vowel Shift."
Very true. The dialectical change in US speech going on now is, I would guess, probably more radical than any other time in American History. Take my home state of Connecticut, for example. Although once the epitome of GenAm, it's begun to develop 3 fairly substantial dialectical differences:
--glottal stopping of intervocalic "t" ("not even" becomes /na? iv@n/ as opposed to GenAm /NA4 iv@n/.
--Rounding of the vowel in the word "bus" (i.e. /bOs/).
--slight Canadian raising
Which shows that even a dialect that was once considered more or less standard is drifting in a very different direction, and quite quickly.
Ex-Roehampton Guy - you are dead right - this thread has drifted but that's the way most threads tend go after a dozen or so posts kept strictly on-topic then something happens and we all go off on a tangent - it's the nature of things here. :-) American accents gradually evolved into immigration, healthcare systems and now deer in Richmond Park! Hey ho! Ain't life fun.
First Roehampton - literally just down the Upper Richmond Road and Roehampton Lane from here - I've been through it several times. Why on earth did you leave? Roehampton looks a really nice locality, great looking apartment blocks but the prices of the flats are just so astro-(bleeping)-nomical! As they are here in Putney. I'm presently living in a large house split into rented separate flats (astro- (bleeping) - nominal rents!) - and share facilities with two other guys - may well be three from week after next. It's not far from Barnes Common, over which I've walked the landlady's dog a couple of times or so. You see some amazing things on Barnes Common! All those bushes and copses. :-) The landlady made me laugh when she warned me about being careful going onto Barnes Common - "lots of sex manias on the Common" according to her. I'm not sure what a sex mania actually looks like so I can recognise one when I see it.
I've been down to Richmond, too - really, really nice along the river and crossing the bridge, and a fantastic fun pub in Red Lion Street near the cop shop. Haven't quite made it to Richmond Park itself - yet - but I am informed by mates here that the herds of red and fallow deer still roam free in the central parts of the Park, in the vicinity of the Royal Ballet School mainly apparently, well away from all main roads, so I reckon they don't get run over unless they go a-wandering where they shouldn't go a-wandering.
Here's a fine specimen just to remind you. Maybe you may recognise the church?
PS: Sorry - no American accent in sight in this post! I know for sure that I'll hear plenty if I take myself up to the Hampstead and Highgate area......apparently there's a pretty sizeable colony of American expats living up that way. And there's a Heath up there too.......
<<Take my home state of Connecticut, for example. Although once the epitome of GenAm, >>
I cannot agree with this.
In my field studies, one of my subjects-- a 60-something woman from a small town in Connecticut--had both vowel-raising and dipthongization in some of her vowels. For example, she says the word "back" like "byyehk", and the word "Congress" like "cahn-gress" (raised).
Perhaps it depends upon what part of Connecticut in which the speaker grew up?
On an unrelated note: This one is aimed at Travis, who I dearly hope is reading this--while the dipthongization and vowel-raising of NCVS sounds unpleasant, for the most part, one element I quite like--the monophthongization of the long-o sound. It seems unique in GenAm speech; do you think it's due to the German influence in Wisconsin? Is there monophthongization of the long-u sound, too? I seem to recall that there is, but I'm not sure.
I'm pondering something big and deep--a neurolinguistic query--but I'm not sure if this thread is where it belongs. Should I start another thread?
>>On an unrelated note: This one is aimed at Travis, who I dearly hope is reading this--while the dipthongization and vowel-raising of NCVS sounds unpleasant, for the most part, one element I quite like--the monophthongization of the long-o sound. It seems unique in GenAm speech; do you think it's due to the German influence in Wisconsin? Is there monophthongization of the long-u sound, too? I seem to recall that there is, but I'm not sure.<<
Very many Upper Midwestern dialects have purely monophthongal mid and high tense phonemes; not just /o/, but also /e/, /i/, and /u/. This is suspected to be due to substratum influence, both from German and from Scandinavian languages. The main exception to this is that sometimes word-finally or before another vowel there still will be offglides for /e/ and /o/ for some individuals, particularly individuals with more conservative idiolects.
One note - I would not call the dialects up here "General American" at all. Yes, they have morphology, syntax, and usage which does not differ all that much from GA overall, but their phonologies often have significant differences from that of GA. And even then there still are notable morphology, syntax, and usage differences such as the usage of "with" as a verbal particle (as in "come with"), the usage of "by" to mean "at" as in ("go by"), the usage of the word "ja" [ja:], and weird past participles of the form "-ghten".
<<One note - I would not call the dialects up here "General American" at all.>>
Not very many of your compatriots would admit that. ;-)
That being said, I quite like the monophthongization of those dialects.
What I'm looking for is an American dialect that could be aspired to as a goal. So far almost none of them qualify--at least, none of the NEW dialects.
(Frank Lloyd Wright's dialect would have served very nicely, but his is extinct.)
>>Not very many of your compatriots would admit that. ;-)<<
Many a Midwesterner thinks that they speak "Standard English", even though if you hear one of them alongside some national advertising or media personality you would very, very quickly think otherwise. The difference is strong enough that I can generally tell local commercials from national ones from just hearing speech in them for a couple seconds, without them actually having to say what the commercial is for.
However, though, here in Milwaukee there is a sort of sense that we do speak differently than many other North Americans, even if most people really cannot put their finger quite on what the differences are.
First of all, the most widely spoken American dialect is Southern American English, but the accent you would want to aspire to as a goal would probably be similar to urban western, like the dialect of Denver of Salt Lake City.
And yes, I'm young. I'm 22. That doesn't mean I don't know a thing or two about the health care system. I spent several summers working in a doctor's office, another summer working in a hospital, and I have to pay for health insurance. The estimated number of illegal immigrants is 12 million, but there could be anywhere from 10 to 20 million. And they do receive health care, albeit only in emergency situations, as they are here illegally, don't pay taxes, and an attempt at getting insurance would probably result in deportation.
The "true" number of people who don't receive insurance is about 8 million (take that 45 million, subtract people that make more than $50,000 a year and can obviously afford it but choose not to pay for, subtract people who opt out of medicare and medicaid, subtract people who are on medicare and medicaid, you end up with about 8 million).
I absolutely do not appreciate the notion that I am somehow ignorant because I'm not "old enough" and I haven't been "mugged by the American health care system." We have the best treatment for just about everything in the world (those in Canada, the UK, France, etc. who can't afford to wait in line but can afford a plane ticket fly to America for health care) and attempts to somehow "fix" that will put us in the same state as those quota systems.
On top of laws requiring hospitals to give care no matter a patient's ability or willingness to pay, we have extremely efficient and well-funded charities that help poorer people who can't afford certain procedures get the help they need.
The real number of uninsured in America with no options when they need medical help is probably closer to 0 when you take all that into consideration.
<<First of all, the most widely spoken American dialect is Southern American English, but the accent you would want to aspire to as a goal would probably be similar to urban western, like the dialect of Denver of Salt Lake City.>>
Too cloying, Skippy.
I've got the unfortunate malady of not liking almost all extant American dialects. The Southern in me thinks that most all the General American dialects are unbearably cloying, while the Western ears I've picked up dislikes almost all the Southern ones. The only two I really like are Virginia Tidewater and Mid-Atlantic, one of which is unsuitable as a goal and the other of which is nearly extinct.
Skippy, we'll just have to agree to disagree on the medical question. All I can say to you is that you haven't had a bad experience yet; Lord Willing, you won't.
But when I had to have an operation for a herniated disk, with one day in the hospital, it cost me $8000 out-of-pocket and that's with insurance (the whole thing cost $40k). A lot of Americans could not absorb that kind of debt. I've heard it said once that 90% of Americans are 90 days away from homelessness. If my experience is any indicator, this is entirely believable to me.
''First of all, the most widely spoken American dialect is Southern American English, but the accent you would want to aspire to as a goal would probably be similar to urban western, like the dialect of Denver of Salt Lake City. ''
not so sure about SLC accent, but Denver/Reno/Las Vegas/SF/Sacramento all have a nice western accent, SoCal too (VG accent excluded)
The dialect of Salt Lake City is very similar to what we've come to know as Standard American English.
A lot of Americans don't pay it... No one comes knocking on your door to collect on behalf of the hospital...
''The dialect of Salt Lake City is very similar to what we've come to know as Standard American English.''
the pronunciation is different, at least according to the JCWells book and Wikipedia...
Distinctions of the dialect
* The merger of /ɑr/ and /ɔr/, such that "born" may be pronounced "barn" and the town of "American Fork" becomes "American Fark." This also takes place among older speakers in St. Louis.
* "egg", "leg", "leisure" and similar words pronounced with the "ay" sound of "hay", rather than the "eh" sound of "wet".
Introduction, removal, and morphing of stops and plosives
* Introduction of a "T" into certain words: "teacher" pronounced "teat-chur;" "preacher" as "preat-chur;" other examples include between the sounds "L" and "S" ("Nelson" and "Wilson" pronounced as "Neltson" and "Wiltson").
* Shortening of some words from several syllables to one or two (different from general consonant cluster reduction): "corral" as "crall", "probably" to "probly," "prolly," or "pry."
* removal of the hard T sounds from words. Layton is layon. Mountain to moun-ian.
Skippy, are you referring to the Rocky Mountain Dialect?
I heard it when Enid Holtzclaw spoke. Interesting dialect; Western, but country-sounding. Despite her politics, I quite liked her and her accent.
Wouldn't be suitable for modelling purposes, though.