A multivariate spatial analysis of vowel formants in American English

Jack Grieve, Dirk Speelman, Dirk Geeraerts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents the results of a multivariate spatial analysis of 38 vowel formant variables in the language of 402 informants from 236 cities from across the contiguous United States, based on the acoustic data from the Atlas of North American English (Labov, Ash & Boberg, 2006). The results of the analysis both confirm and challenge the results of the Atlas. Most notably, while the analysis identifies similar patterns as the Atlas in the West and the Southeast, the analysis finds that the Midwest and the Northeast are distinct dialect regions that are considerably stronger than the traditional Midland and Northern dialect region indentified in the Atlas. The analysis also finds evidence that a western vowel shift is actively shaping the language of the Western United States.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-51
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Linguistic Geography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013


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