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"LIVE FREE OR DIE" AS A LINGUISTIC PRINCIPLE

"LIVE FREE OR DIE" AS A LINGUISTIC PRINCIPLE The first aim of this paper is to describe some ways in which the Massachusetts speech varieties are “differentest,” specifically with respect to the unmerged status of several vowels which are merged in most areas of the United States. The second aim is to explore how Boston has maintained its linguistic distinction—as a result of non-Boston speakers, notably the New Hampshire neighbors of the Boston metropolis, not adopting the distinct features of the Boston accent. While it is popularly believed that regional dialects are being leveled, numerous studies have indicated that, in fact, cities retain distinct phonological patterns (cf. Labov 1994, 29). Rural varieties have received less sociolinguistic attention. In order to determine how linguistic patterns evolve and diffuse outside the domain of a metropolitan center, this paper begins exploration of a rural and small-town region of the United States that has not been thoroughly studied since the 1930s. The findings contradict Trudgill’s (1974) proposal that linguistic innovations diffuse from cities to the neighboring towns and villages, as Boston is the closest metropolis to all of New Hampshire. A social explanation is offered: the lack of appeal to New Hampshire residents of the “big city” life offered by http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Speech: A Quarterly of Linguistic Usage Duke University Press

"LIVE FREE OR DIE" AS A LINGUISTIC PRINCIPLE

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by American Dialect Society
ISSN
0003-1283
eISSN
1527-2133
DOI
10.1215/00031283-76-1-30
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The first aim of this paper is to describe some ways in which the Massachusetts speech varieties are “differentest,” specifically with respect to the unmerged status of several vowels which are merged in most areas of the United States. The second aim is to explore how Boston has maintained its linguistic distinction—as a result of non-Boston speakers, notably the New Hampshire neighbors of the Boston metropolis, not adopting the distinct features of the Boston accent. While it is popularly believed that regional dialects are being leveled, numerous studies have indicated that, in fact, cities retain distinct phonological patterns (cf. Labov 1994, 29). Rural varieties have received less sociolinguistic attention. In order to determine how linguistic patterns evolve and diffuse outside the domain of a metropolitan center, this paper begins exploration of a rural and small-town region of the United States that has not been thoroughly studied since the 1930s. The findings contradict Trudgill’s (1974) proposal that linguistic innovations diffuse from cities to the neighboring towns and villages, as Boston is the closest metropolis to all of New Hampshire. A social explanation is offered: the lack of appeal to New Hampshire residents of the “big city” life offered by

Journal

American Speech: A Quarterly of Linguistic UsageDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2001

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