Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

How clean are your vowels?


Accent? What accent? When speaking to other regions of the country, do they make fun of your midwestern accent? It might get worse.

There is a change in the way we speak our language called the Northern Cities Vowel Shift. According to the Columbia News Service,

The Northern Cities Vowel Shift, which takes place in several stages and eventually makes words like cat and bat sound like kee-at and bee-at, is spreading quickly, although scholars are not sure where it will move next. The shift could remain isolated within the Great Lakes area or could creep west toward Seattle.

Although traces of the shift have been found as far south as Indianapolis, the trend is mainly confined to urban centers around the Great Lakes. The shift’s eastern boundaries extend from Michigan and Wisconsin to upstate New York, encompassing Buffalo, Erie, Pa., and Chicago.

So far, the trend hasn’t crossed into different ethnic or racial communities. Although the shift is widespread among whites who identify themselves with the Great Lakes region, it’s virtually nonexistent among blacks and Hispanics.

“It’s not uncommon to find language differences that fall along ethnic and racial lines,” Gordon said. “Ultimately, it’s related to the fact that language is a part of individual identity.”

Look, when it gets to that point where you don’t understand me, I promise to speak s-l-o-w-l-y and LOUDLY. I’ll even add an “e” sound on the end of everything, because I know that works so well in making foreigners understand me.

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