Date of Award

12-2018

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.

Department

English

College

College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Ettien Koffi

Second Advisor

Edward Sadrai

Third Advisor

Monica Devers

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Northern Minnesota English, Minnesota Accent, Central Minnesota English, General American English, Midwest English, Winnipeg Canadian English, Acoustic Phonetics

Abstract

The dialect of Northern Minnesota English (NMNE) has been acknowledged as a leading suspect in the search for the Minnesota accent. The majority of the commenters who accept the Minnesota accent at the bottom of a Youtube video page (Bartholid 2015: Are You MN Enough?) indicate that if any Minnesotans have this accent, it is probably the residents of Northern Minnesota. Thus, this study begins to reveal just what that particular dialect of Northern Minnesota actually looks like acoustically. Twenty speakers from the queried region were recorded saying the following eleven vowel phonemes three times [i, ɪ, e, ɛ, æ, ɑ, ɔ, o, ʊ, u, ʌ] within an isolated hVd structure. After recordings were imported into Praat, they were spliced, measured, and analyzed under six acoustic correlates: F1, F2, F3, duration, F0, and intensity. The total number of tokens analyzed in this study is 3,960 (20 x 11 x 3 x 6).This acoustic data was then compared with four other English dialects, General American English (Peterson and Barney 1952), Midwest English (Hillenbrand, Getty, Clark, and Wheeler 1995), Central Minnesota English (Koffi 2017b; 2016c; 2014; 2013), and Winnipeg Canadian English (Hagiwara 2006). What has been exposed thus far is that NMNE men are most similar to men who speak Winnipeg Canadian English (WCE) although there are some inconsistencies. However, these conclusions are not reflective in the women’s speech. NMNE women are actually more similar to their southern neighbors, whom are the women who speak Central Minnesota English (CMNE).

Comments/Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Dr. Koffi, Dr. Sadrai, and Dr. Devers for being a part of my thesis committee. I could have never done this without you three. I am also grateful to Dr. Koffi, Dr. Sadrai, Chris Reigstad, and Kandice Byron. I thank you all for helping to shape my ideas and my understanding throughout my research. Of course, I would also like to thank my mother, my stepfather, my husband, my siblings, and all of my loving friends who supported me throughout this whole experience. Finally, I would like to thank all the northern Minnesotan speakers who participated in my study along with the public libraries and the Mass Communication professors at Bemidji State University for allowing me to recruit participants and record within your facilities.

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