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Publication

Comparison of the speech patterns and dialect attitudes of Oklahoma

Bakos, Jon
Abstract
The lexical dialect usage of Oklahoma has been well-studied in the past by the Survey of Oklahoma Dialects, but the acoustic speech production of the state has received little attention. Apart from two people from Tulsa and two people from Oklahoma City that were interviewed for the Atlas of North American English, no other acoustic work has been performed within the state.
This dissertation begins to fill in these gaps by presenting twelve respondents interviewed by the Research on Dialects of English in Oklahoma (RODEO) project. For each speaker, a brief biography is given, including some of their regional and speech attitudes of Oklahoma. Then acoustic data from a wordlist and reading task are presented and compared. Analysis will consider plots of each speaker's vowel system as a whole, and will also examine many environments in isolation. These environments were chosen for their likely presence in Oklahoma, and include such dialect features as the Southern Shift, the pin/pen merger, the caught/cot merger, monophthongization of the PRICE vowel, and neutralization of tense vowels before /l./
After considering each respondent separately, some of their results will be pooled together to give a preliminary sense of the state of dialect within Oklahoma. Demographic variables such as age, gender, and urban/rural upbringing will be related to speakers' attitudes and acoustic production. This will serve two goals - first, to compare modern-day production to the findings of previous scholars, and second, to suggest a dialect trajectory for the state that could be studied further in additional research.
Date
2013-07