The most recent Publication of the American Dialect Society, “Speech in the Western States, Volume 2: The Mountain West,” is now available. This collection is an exhaustive treatment of Western vowel patterns and serves as a unique resource to dialectologists, sociolinguists, and students of language.
Filling the void in our knowledge of the development and diffusion of the vowel features that define Western States English, this companion volume which examined speech in the coastal West now turns the lens toward speech in the Mountain West. The inland states of the Western U.S. offer a varied history, geography and population that contribute to a rich linguistic landscape. This volume, for the first time, brings together work on the vowel patterns found in Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Montana, showing diversity while still offering some evidence of the formation of a supra-Western pattern.
These chapters draw attention to a number of new and less well known features that also play a significant role in defining and differentiating, at least in some areas, modern Western vowel systems. Building on earlier work, such as the broadly defined Western dialect region presented in the Atlas of North American English, we can now talk with more confidence about shared “Western” vs. more local norms, as well as discuss potential changes in progress and how long “Western” vowel patterns cited in earlier literature have been around.
To learn more, read the introduction, made freely available.