Category Archives: Dialects

New bootcamp under way!

The 2017 grammar boot camp starts tomorrow. Three students (with bios below) will be working with me on materials for Noongar. We’re very lucky to be working with Denise Smith-Ali, Noongar linguist, and Sue Hanson from the Goldfields Language Centre. Our main focus for the month is to put together a phonological description of Noongar, with sound files to illustrate what we are describing. In some ways, this is pretty straightforward (in that it’s the sort of thing linguists do, the scope is known, etc) but in other ways, it’ll be a challenge! For example, we want to make something easy to access, and easy to edit and update. We’ll be posting more about this as we make decisions.

Akshay Aitha: Akshay is a rising senior at UC Berkeley working on a double major in Linguistics and Applied Mathematics (with a concentration in Logic). My main research interest at the moment is the functional structure of nominals, especially in my heritage language, Telugu. I also have a strong enthusiasm for linguistic fieldwork. Outside of my coursework, I’ve been involved as a research assistant on various phonetics and fieldwork projects under graduate students in the Berkeley Linguistics department, and I’m also involved in my department as an officer of our club for undergraduates, SLUgS.

Lydia Ding: Lydia is a recent graduate of Carleton College, where she majored in Linguistics and completed a senior thesis for distinction on wh-questions in Nukuoro [nkr] (Polynesian). Her primary interests lie in language documentation, syntax, morphology, and computational linguistics.

Sarah Mihuc: Sarah is a recent graduate of McGill University with a BA Honours in Linguistics & Computer Science. She works on anti-agreement and on word order in Kabyle Berber. She also has experience in experimental and computational linguistics, and fieldwork on two Mayan languages.

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).