R-dropping in North America
Is the non-rhoticity (R-dropping) in North America declining?
Or is it still strong in certain areas?
All I know is that the Southern States today are generally quite rhotic, even though they were traditionally non-rhotic.
How about New England?
Do the young people there still drop their R's?
Some people from NYC and Long Island still seem to drop their R's.
I think overall it's been decline and has been for decades, but there are still areas where it's pretty common. Non-rhoticism used to be common in the Coastal South, but as you say, I think it's largely extinct there, although there are still some remnants of it left. Non-rhoticism has been more resilient in the Northeast: the NYC area with parts of Long Island and New Jersey; urban New England, between Worcester, Boston and Providence; and Maine and New Hampshire. I live in the Worcester area in central Massachusetts, and there are a lot of non-rhotic people here. Non-rhoticism does seem to be in decline where I live, in the suburbs - I'm completely rhotic, as are my peers here, although many of the middle aged and older people are non-rhotic - but it still seems pretty solid in the city itself, where it seems predominant even among young people. The situation seems similar in Boston and Providence; but I'm not sure about the rural non-rhoticism of New Hampshire and Maine: that may be in serious decline. Vermont, Connecticut and western Massachusetts are fully rhotic, as are Upstate New York and the Philadelphia area (whose traditional urban accent doesn't include non-rhoticism).
It should also be noted that non-rhoticism is very common among speakers of African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) and AAVE-influenced Standard English.
Typo: ‹...overall it's in decline...›
It's also common in some parts of Canada, if I'm not wrong, Nova Scotians drop their Rs?
As Lazar said, I grew up in both New York City and Boston, and rhoticity is more common than non-rhoticity nowadays. I remember in school in Boston this kid that would drop his Rs and the other kids made fun of him. Kids are cruel, he wound up being rhotic. So yeah, it's a feature that is definitely disappearing.
''As Lazar said, I grew up in both New York City and Boston, .''
That's why you're ''Cali'' accent is so atypical.
>>Only in Lunenburg, and it's dying. I think there may be non-rhotic towns in Newfoundland as well, but I'm not sure.<<
I read that in the Maritimes it was a feature, guess it's disappearing there too.
>>That's why you're ''Cali'' accent is so atypical.<<
It's not really atypical. /Q/ for /A/ in Cali as some people said is also normal. It's called California Vowel Shift, look into it. And it's your, not you're.
''It's not really atypical. /Q/ for /A/ in Cali as some people said is also normal. It's called California Vowel Shift, look into it.''
And therefore a Cali accent. Geez.
Bakar, you're right; the non-rhotic dialects are disappearing--in some states, very rapidly. You have the odd dichotomy of a non-rhotic father and a rhotic son living under the same roof.
To my mind, it's a disappointing development. Some of the non-rhotic dialects were very pleasant to hear, particularly the Tidewater varieties. Something about non-rhoticism improves the aesthetic appeal of American English, particularly in the South.
I've noticed, however, that even in non-rhotic strongholds, such as New York City, rhoticism is gaining rapidly. My understanding is that the youngest NYC speakers are often rhotic, nowadays.
It'd take a linguistics expert to explain this metamorphosis. It sure does baffle me.
<<You have the odd dichotomy of a non-rhotic father and a rhotic son living under the same roof.>>
For my own part: my mother grew up completely non-rhotic (in an urban environment), now she's partially rhotic (in the suburbs), and I'm completely rhotic. (For some reason, my father seems to have always been rhotic.) But I think non-rhoticism is still more resilient in the urban areas of Massachusetts and Rhode Island than it is in the South.
<<I've noticed, however, that even in non-rhotic strongholds, such as New York City, rhoticism is gaining rapidly. My understanding is that the youngest NYC speakers are often rhotic, nowadays.>>
Yeah, I think that's true: this area of the country was definitely less rhotic in 1950 than it is now. I went to a private high school in Worcester with a mix of urban and suburban kids, and it was predominately rhotic. There was a non-rhotic contingent, but they were definitely a minority, and often variable.
One thing about the dialect here is that a lot of people are partially rhotic, with rhoticized and non-rhoticized vowels existing in free variation. You might hear variability even within a single sentence. Ted Kennedy is a good example.
A more solid dialectal feature, even among rhotic speakers like me, is the intrusive r.
"But I think non-rhoticism is still more resilient in the urban areas of Massachusetts and Rhode Island than it is in the South."
Lazar, I agree.
"One thing about the dialect here is that a lot of people are partially rhotic, with rhoticized and non-rhoticized vowels existing in free variation."
I've noticed that, too; it seems odd to find partially-rhotic dialects, but I've heard them with my own two ears. For example, John Warner is often singled out as a speaker of Tidewater English, but I find him mostly rhotic; incompletely formed Rs, and some completely formed Rs, either paint him as a speaker of an actively metamorphosing dialect, or a speaker whose accent has been drastically reduced by osmosis. His accent differs markedly from what I know as true Tidewater English.