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Mary Bartlow MA Applied Project: 'Language Variety in the Pacific Northwest, Phonetic and Lexical Analysis'

Committee: Dr. Karen Adams (Chair).  ::  ABSTRACT: The varieties of English in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) are considerably understudied than other regional varieties of English in the United States. This paper describes and evaluates language variation in the Pacific Northwest including Washington, Oregon, Northern California and British Columbia Canada based on a literature review of previous research and comparison study of the author’s own patterns, as she is a speaker of Pacific Northwest English (PNWE). Data is included from residents of Washington State and British Columbia of varying demographic backgrounds including African American speakers, Spanish speaking migrants and members of indigenous communities, as well as looking into generational differences among speakers. The author, a lifelong resident of the PNW, also conducted a word list reading task analyzed on PRAAT of her own speech to compare to previous work. The word list was based on words from the other work reviewed in this paper, and analyzed using the same methods previously used for phonetic analysis. The phonetic analysis in this paper focuses on Canadian rising, ‘caught-cot’ merger, and the ‘pin-pen’ merger. The lexical items discussed are also compared to the author’s own perception and use. The literature review of previous research and comparison to the author’s own usage draws together what is currently known about this understudied variety. The analysis of this variety gives linguists a more complete look into PNW variants and speakers, and suggests further grounds for more in depth research on this topic.

Keywords: Pacific Northwest (PNW), Pacific Northwest English (PNWE), language variety and change, Canadian rising, ‘Caught-Cot’ merger

This is a virtual presentation via Zoom:

Password: 881908

Samantha France
Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, 10 a.m.