The Northern Cities Shift and Local Identity in a Suburban Cleveland Group

by McCarthy, Natalie Jean

Abstract (Summary)
This study examines the use of the Northern Cities Shift (NCS) and local identity in a group of speakers from the Cleveland, Ohio area. Members of a suburban recreation center participated in audio recorded interviews, during which they answered questions about their personal background, their consumption practices, and their leisure activities, and engaged in conversation about their opinions and memories of the Cleveland area. Local identity was then scored using an identity index modeled after that in Kiesling, et al. (2005). A more locally loyal interview topic received a higher point value, while a less locally loyal topic received a lower point value. The sum of these values formed an overall identity score. Tokens of both (aeh) and (e) were gathered from each speakers interview. Tokens of (o), (oh), (ey), and (iy) were also gathered as reference points within the vowel space of each speaker; these tokens were measured in a controlled, pre-fricative or alveolar stop environment. Using a Praat script, first and second formant measurements were gathered within the first third of each token. These measurements were then normalized. Using multiple regression, the vowel measurements were modeled based on the identity score and other social factors, including sex and age, and linguistic internal factors. This produced no statistically significant results. However, several subsections of the overall identity score were found to be statistically significant.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Scott F. Kiesling; Barbara Johnstone; Shelome Gooden; David Mortensen

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:09/19/2007

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