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Academic Paper

Title: Aspects of change in New York City English short-a
Author: Bill Haddican
Author: Michael Newman
Author: Cecelia Cutler
Author: Christina Tortora
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This article focuses on change in the “short-a system” of New York City English (NYCE). Recent results suggest that a complex set of tensing rules traditionally described for NYCE are being replaced by several simpler systems. This article reports on a study of this change using a recently developed large audio-aligned parsed speech corpus (CoNYCE). This change is similar to the simplification reported for Philadelphia by Labov et al. (2016). Unlike in the Philadelphia case, however, our results do not show evidence of a single abstract process of change. Our findings, rather, suggest at least two separate changes in the community—one affecting short-a in prenasal contexts and a second affecting pre-oral obstruent contexts. In addition, the results suggest an additional independent process of lowering and retraction affecting short-a sounds in contexts not targeted by the process of phonological reorganization, that is, “trap-backing.”


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 33, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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