Voices from the Heartland: Language Variation and Change in Kansas
This project is just getting started so please contact me if you are interested in lending your voice to the cause! While most people think of Kansas accents as a stalwart of standardness there are a host of sound changes rolling across the prairies. I hope to document the voices of Kansas, both young and old, to learn how Kansas fits into the many sound changes found throughout the US. Please check out The Collegian‘s article on our recent research!
Please check out our Facebook Page, @KansasOralHistory, to keep up with our latest projects!
The FPG Project provides a unique opportunity to explore the longitudinal development of speech across childhood to adolescence and adulthood. Beginning with 88 African American children in 1990, this project was able to track participants from infancy over the course of 20 years, collecting a battery of academic, social, and demographic data across distinct time points. The success of this project is largely due to the Primary Investigators Susan Zeisel and Joanne Roberts, whose diligence and hard work are apparent in the extensive amount of data collected as well as the exceptional retention rate. Thanks to their efforts, this project represents the largest longitudinal study of African American English to date. My co-authors and I use this database to explore questions about how individuals change the way they speak as they age and the extent to which sociodemographic factors such as segregation correlate with the way individuals talk. Many linguists associated with NCLLP are currently working on the project, including Charlie Farrington (U Oregon), Janneke Van Hofwegen (Stanford), Jennifer Renn (Center for Applied Linguistics), among others. Walt Wolfram currently oversees this project, and our work would not be possible without his continued support.
Check out our monograph on this work, “The Way I Communicate Changes, But How I Speak Don’t” through Duke University Press
Robin Dodsworth (NCSU) heads this large-scale investigation. As a changing economy attracts many people from outside of the South to Raleigh, NC, the culture of the city changes as well. Between 2008 to 2013 I had the opportunity to work with Robin collecting interviews and analyzing the recession of the Southern Vowel Shift. Robin continues to track the changing voices of Raleigh, NC, publishing academic articles on the topic and attracting the attention of local media.
Since the 1990’s North Carolina has witnessed a dramatic demographic shift. Latino immigration introduces a new range of voices to the symphony of North Carolina dialects. Erin Callahan-Price, Stephany Dunstan, Phillip Carter, and many others have contributed to field work in the public school systems of Durham and Hickory NC, to document how shifting demographics influence dialect variation in the region. Members of NCLLP continue to conduct research in Hickory, NC.