International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

The Effect of Language Ideologies on the Canadian Shift: Evidence from /æ/ in Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA
Julia Thomas Swan, Ph.D.

Language ideologies have been acknowledged as an important factor in linguistic behavior, and all the more in border regions. This work considers the variable ideologies held by English speakers in Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC as predictors of speakers’ phonetic realizations for /æ/, a defining and diagnostic dialect feature of the region. The data reveal asymmetrical ideologies of sameness: Vancouver speakers perceive Seattle inhabitants as culturally and linguistically more similar to them than vice versa. For Vancouver, /æ/ is more fronted for speakers who emphasize more similarity with their cross-border counterparts, which entails less participation in the Canadian Shift. Seattleites’ production is affected by a different locally salient ideology: the importance of local shopping, which is a significant predictor of a more retracted /æ/. The findings raise awareness about the role of ideology in sound change and introduce questions about the role of social meaning and gender.

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