Naomi Nagy

Linguistics at U of T

(Talk presented at the University of Buffalo, April 3, 2009)

New Hampshire on the move:
Language change in a state without a city

I describe 3 ways that the speech of people in New Hampshire is currently diverging from that of their nearest urban neighbor, Boston (father/bother merger, Mary/merry/marry merger, post-vocalic (r)). These patterns pose challenges for models of language change including Trudgill's (1974) "Gravity Model" and Labov's (2007) "Transmission and Diffusion" dichotomy, but make sense in the context of local attitudes toward Boston, in a model including Accomodation Theory (Niedzielski & Giles 1996). Data is collected from a student-designed project involving collaboration across 3 universities (University of Vermont, McGill and the University of New Hampshire).


Trudgill, P. 1974. Linguistic change and diffusion: Description and explanation in sociolinguistic dialect geography. Language in Society 3: 215-246.

Labov, W. 2007. Transmission and Diffusion. Language 83:344-386.

Niedzielski, N. & H. Giles. 1996. Linguistic Accomodation. In H. Goebl, P. Nelde, Z. Starý and W. Wölck , eds. An International Handbook of Contemporary Research. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter. 332–42.

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