Dialect survey

I’ve posted around a bit about the dialect survey that colleagues at Auckland and I are doing (but neglected to put anything on my own blog).

We’re collecting data on varieties of English in the US. This includes geographically based dialects but also varieties of English associated with ethnicity, and differences in gender and age. So far we have about 1500 participants. Here’s a map by current location.

Participants in North American Dialects survey, December 2010 (current zip/post code)

Participants in North American Dialects survey, December 2010 (current zip/post code)

As you can see, there’s a lot of data here (we’re already more than twice as big as the next largest audio survey), but there is still a way to go. We’re still collecting data from everyone, of course, but there are a few particular groups of people we’d like to hear from.

  • The data is highly skewed by age and ethnicity. This is a fantastic data set to study the accents of Caucasian/White people under 35, but we’d like a more representative view of North American English. If you would answer anything other than “white” to a question about your ethnicity, we’d love to include you!
  • If you live now or went to high school between the Rockies and the Mississippi, we’d like to hear from you! As you can see, we have a lot of data from the larger (and coastal) states but coverage is more sparse in the central and western inland areas.
  • If you’re over 35, we’d also like to hear from you! (the age skewing is a relic of our original recruiting, which has been largely through Facebook and college classes).

I will be doing more recruiting in the coming months. Feel free to help me by forwarding the link widely among your networks (family, friends, book clubs, sports clubs, etc).

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