World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Northeast Pennsylvania English

Article Id: WHEBN0001694534
Reproduction Date:

Title: Northeast Pennsylvania English  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Wyoming Valley, Philadelphia accent, North American English regional phonology, Central Pennsylvania dialect
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Northeast Pennsylvania English

Northeast Pennsylvania English is the local dialect of American English spoken in northeastern Pennsylvania, specifically in the Coal Region, which includes the cities of Hazleton, Pottsville, Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.

The Wyoming Valley falls right on the border between two major dialect groups of American English: the North and the Midland.[1][2] As such, it can be considered transitional between those two dialect groups, showing some features in common with one and other features in common with the other.

Phonological characteristics

Fieldwork conducted in the 1930s shows the region split evenly on the horse–hoarse merger: some speakers maintained the contrast (as did speakers in Upstate New York at the time), while others had lost the contrast (as in the Philadelphia accent).[3] Today, however, the merger is complete in the region (and indeed in most of North American English).[4]

The Mary–marry–merry merger is complete, although the accents of nearby New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania still maintain a two- or three-way distinction here.[5][6]

The cot–caught merger is in transition in Northeast Pennsylvania English.[7] The merger is found to the west, in Pittsburgh English and the Central Pennsylvania accent, but not to the north, east and south of the Wyoming Valley.

Northeast Pennsylvania English undergoes the Northern cities vowel shift, but not to the same extent as, say, Buffalo English. The vowel /æ/ shows considerable raising and diphthongization before nasal consonants, so that ban is pronounced approximately [beən], but before oral consonants, there is only moderate raising, and the vowel remains more open than /ɛ/, so that bad is pronounced approximately [bæ̝d]. Northeast Pennsylvania English has non-phonemic æ-tensing of the continuous variety, which means that /æ/ is raised more before /n/ than before /d/ and more before /d/ than before /ɡ/.[8] The vowel /ɑ/ is considerably fronted, so a word like hot is pronounced [hät].[9] Finally, the vowels /ɛ/ as in bet and /ʌ/ as in but are retracted (articulated further back in the mouth) in comparison to the pronunciation in more conservative accents like General American.

The transitional nature of Northeast Pennsylvania English between the North and the Midland is shown clearly by the pronunciation of the diphthongs /aɪ/ (as in pine) and /aʊ/ (as in town). In the North, the nucleus of /aʊ/ is considerably further back than that of /aɪ/, so that town is pronounced [tɑʊn]. In the Midland (and indeed most of the rest of the United States), it is the nucleus of /aɪ/ that is further back, so that pine is [pɑɪn]. But in northeastern Pennsylvania, the nuclei of the two diphthongs are pronounced in nearly the same position, as an open central vowel, so that pine is [päɪn] and town is [täʊn].[10]

Lexical characteristics

To the extent that northeastern Pennsylvanian speakers do pronounce pairs like Don and dawn differently, they pronounce the word on to rhyme with Don, not with dawn (i.e., they use the /ɑ/ vowel rather than /ɔ/). In this regard, the accent patterns with the northern accents, not with the rest of Pennsylvania.[11][12]

With respect to the phenomenon of "positive anymore", Northeast Pennsylvania English patterns with the Midland rather than the North: sentences like "Cars are sure expensive anymore" and "It's hard to find a job anymore" are grammatical here, but not in the North.[13]

See also


External links

  • CoalSpeak: Dictionary of the Coal Region
  • Heynabonics: A Short Film about Northeast PA English
  • Coal Region TV

Template:Languages of Pennsylvania

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.