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Encyclopedia > Pacific Northwest English

Pacific Northwest English is a dialect of the English language spoken in the Pacific Northwest. The Pacific Northwest, defined as an area that includes part of the west coast of United States and Canada, is home to a highly diverse populace, which is reflected in the historical and continuing development of the dialect. As is the case of English spoken in any region, not all features are used by all speakers in the region, and not all features are restricted in use only to the region. The dialect is very similar to General American with the cot-caught merger and has some features in common with Canadian and California English. For dialects of programming languages, see Programming language dialect. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The Pacific Northwest from space The Pacific Northwest, abbreviated PNW, or PacNW is a region in the northwest of North America. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... // The father-bother merger is a merger of the Early Modern English vowels and that occurs in almost all varieties of North American English (exceptions are accents in northeastern New England (such as the Boston accent) and New York-New Jersey English. ... California English is a dialect of the English language spoken in the U.S. state of California. ...

Contents

History

Linguists who studied English as spoken in the West before and in the period immediately after the Second World War tended to find few if any distinct patterns unique to the Western region [1]. However, several decades later, with a more settled population and continued immigration from around the globe, linguists began to notice a set of emerging characteristics of English spoken in the Pacific Northwest. However, Pacific Northwest English still remains remarkably close to the "standard American accent," which shows, for example, the cot/caught merger (although this even is not universal, especially among the elderly in the Seattle area). Seattle redirects here. ...


Hear Pacific Northwest English


Phonology

Pacific Northwest English is one of the most standard varieties of North American English in being a rhotic accent, which is historically a significant marker in differentiating English varieties. It is found in the range of south-western Canada, Washington, Oregon, northern California and Idaho, and as the variety stresses vowels far less than other varieties, it is seen by linguists as the least accented form of English. Most linguists have credited the distinct lack of accent on the minimal contact with the British during America's formative early years and its relatively recent immigration increases, in comparison to New York and the New England states. North American English is a collective term used for the varieties of the English language that are spoken in the United States and Canada. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... This article is about the region in the United States of America. ...

  • Some front vowels are raised before velar nasal [ŋ], so that the near-open front unrounded vowel /æ/ is raised to a close-mid front unrounded vowel [e] before[ŋ]. This change makes for minimal pairs such as rang and rain, both having the same vowel [e], differing from rang [ræŋ] in other varieties of English.
  • The vowels in words such as Mary, marry, merry are merged to the open-mid front unrounded vowel [ɛ]
  • Most speakers do not distinguish between the open-mid back rounded vowel [ɔ] and open back unrounded vowel [ɑ], characteristic of the cot-caught merger. A notable exception occurs with some speakers over the age of 60.
  • Traditionally diphthongal vowels such as [oʊ] as in boat and [eɪ], as in bait, have acquired qualities much closer to monophthongs in some speakers. However, the continuing presence of slight offglides (if less salient than those of, say, British Received Pronunciation) and convention in IPA transcription for English account for continuing use of [oʊ] and [eɪ].
  • [ɛ] and sometimes [æ] become [eɪ] before voiced velar plosives: "egg" and "leg" are pronounced as "ayg" and "layg".
  • The Pacific Northwest also has some of the features of the California vowel shift and the Canadian vowel shift.
  • /æ/ is raised and diphthongized to [eə] or [ɪə] before non-velar nasal consonants among some speakers in Portland, and in some areas of Southern Oregon. This feature is virtually absent further north, where /æ/ remains the same before non-velar nasal consonants.
  • /æ/ is lowered in the direction of [a], although to a much lesser extent than in neighboring regions. This is more common in male speakers; female speakers may even raise it slightly. Before /g/, in the Northern Pacific Northwest it is pronounced tense, and in Portland, before /n/ it is also tense.
  • /æ/ before /ŋ/ may be identified with the phoneme /e/.
  • The Close central rounded vowel [ʉ] or Close back unrounded vowel [ɯ] for [u], is found in Portland, and some areas of Southern Oregon, but is generally not found further north, where the vowel is [u].
  • Some speakers have a tendency to slightly raise /ai/ and /aw/ before voiceless consonants. It is strongest in rural areas in British Columbia and Washington, and in older and middle-aged speakers in Vancouver and Seattle. In other areas, /ai/ is occasionally raised. This phenomenon is known as Canadian raising, or Pre-fortis Clipping, and is widespread and well-known throughout Anglophone Canada and some other parts of the northern United States.
  • Some speakers in Eastern Washington and Oregon and western Idaho either perceive or produce the pairs /ɛn/ and /ɪn/ close to each other[2], resulting in a merger between "pen" and "pin."

Vowels Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... The velar nasal is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. ... Vowels Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... Vowels Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... In phonology, minimal pairs are pairs of words or phrases in a particular language, which differ in only one phone, phoneme, toneme or chroneme and have a distinct meaning. ... The English language has undergone a number of phonological changes before the historic phoneme . ... Phonemic differentiation is the phenomenon of a phoneme in a language splitting into two phonemes over time, a process known as a phonemic split. ... Vowels See also: IPA, Consonants Near‑close Close‑mid Mid Open‑mid Near‑open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... Vowels Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... Vowels See also: IPA, Consonants Near‑close Close‑mid Mid Open‑mid Near‑open Open Where symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a rounded vowel. ... In phonetics, a diphthong (also gliding vowel) (Greek δίφθογγος, diphthongos, literally with two sounds, or with two tones) is a monosyllabic vowel combination involving a quick but smooth movement from one vowel to another, often interpreted by listeners as a single vowel sound or phoneme. ... Note: This page contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... A monophthong (in Greek μονόφθογγος = single note) is a pure vowel sound, one whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not glide up or down towards a new position of articulation; compare diphthong. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... Transcription is the conversion into written, typewritten or printed form, of a spoken language source, such as the proceedings of a court hearing. ... Canadian raising is a phonetic phenomenon that occurs in varieties of the English language, especially Canadian English, in which diphthongs are raised before voiceless consonants (e. ...

Lexicon

Pacific Northwest English and British Columbian English have several words still in current use which are loanwords from the Chinook Jargon, which was widely spoken throughout British Columbia by all ethnicities well into the middle of the 20th Century. Skookum, potlatch, muckamuck, saltchuck, and other Chinook Jargon words are widely used by people who do not speak Chinook Jargon. These words tend to be shared with, but are not as common in, the states of Oregon, Washington, Alaska and, to a lesser degree, Idaho and western Montana. This article, image, template or category should belong in one or more categories. ... The West/Central Canadian English dialect is one of the largest and the most homogenous dialect areas in North America. ... Chinook Jargon was a trade language (or pidgin) of the Pacific Northwest, which spread quickly up the West Coast from Oregon, through Washington, British Columbia, and as far as Alaska. ... Motto: Splendor sine occasu (Latin: Splendour without diminishment) Capital Victoria Largest city Vancouver Official languages English (de facto) Government Lieutenant-Governor Steven Point Premier Gordon Campbell (BC Liberal) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament House seats 36 Senate seats 6 Confederation July 20, 1871 (6th province) Area  Ranked 5th Total 944... Skookum is a Chinook jargon word that has come into general use in British Columbia and Yukon Territory in Canada, and in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. ... For other uses, see Potlatch (disambiguation). ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... For the capital city of the United States, see Washington, D.C.. For other uses, see Washington (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Alaska (disambiguation). ... Official language(s) English [1] Capital Boise Largest city Boise Largest metro area Boise metropolitan area Area  Ranked 14th  - Total 83,642 sq mi (216,632 km²)  - Width 305 miles (491 km)  - Length 479 miles (771 km)  - % water 0. ... Official language(s) English Capital Helena Largest city Billings Area  Ranked 4th  - Total 147,165 sq mi (381,156 km²)  - Width 255 miles (410 km)  - Length 630 miles (1,015 km)  - % water 1  - Latitude 44° 21′ N to 49° N  - Longitude 104° 2′ W to 116° 3′ W Population  Ranked...


Notes

  1. ^  Walt Wolfram and Ben Ward, editors (2006). American Voices: How Dialects Differ from Coast to Coast. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 140, 234-236. ISBN 978-1-4051-2108-8. 
  2. ^  Labov, William, Sharon Ash, and Charles Boberg (2006). The Atlas of North American English. Berlin: Mouton-de Gruyter, 68. ISBN 3-11-016746-8. 

This article uses material from California English and West/Central Canadian English. Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from an article revision dated 2006-02-04, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ... California English is a dialect of the English language spoken in the U.S. state of California. ... The West/Central Canadian English dialect is one of the largest and the most homogenous dialect areas in North America. ...


Further reading

  • Vowels and Consonants: An Introduction to the Sounds of Languages. Peter Ladefoged, 2003. Blackwell Publishing.
  • Language in Society: An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Suzanne Romaine, 2000. Oxford University Press.
  • How We Talk: American Regional English Today. Allan Metcalf, 2000. Houghton Mifflin.

See also

In the study of phonetic changes, a chain shift is a type of sound shift in which a group of sounds all change at about the same time, with some sounds taking the place of others. ... California English is a dialect of the English language spoken in the U.S. state of California. ... A vowel shift is a systematic change in the pronunciation of the vowel sounds of a language. ... The West/Central Canadian English dialect is one of the largest and the most homogenous dialect areas in North America. ... Chinook Jargon was a trade language (or pidgin) of the Pacific Northwest, which spread quickly up the West Coast from Oregon, through Washington, British Columbia, and as far as Alaska. ... This article, image, template or category should belong in one or more categories. ...

External links

  • Do you speak American? PBS
  • Phonological Atlas of North America

 
 

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