Northern Minnesota English is a dialect that is suspected to be perceptually different from other Minnesota dialects (Bartholdi 2015). The current study seeks to investigate whether there is any acoustic phonetic evidence to prove and/or disprove these impressionistic claims. To do this, acoustic data was collected from twenty participants from Northern Minnesota who uttered 11 different English vowels ([i, ɪ, e, ɛ, æ, ɑ, ɔ, o, ʊ, u, ʌ]). Those utterances were then compared and contrasted with vowel sounds uttered by 32 Central Minnesota English speakers, which were originally collected by Koffi (2013). The findings from this study confirm the impressionistic claims which state that Northern Minnesota English speakers sound slightly different from other Minnesotans, specifically Central Minnesota English speakers. However, these two dialects are not completely different. Despite some perceptible distinctions, both dialects still manifest the same phonological patterns: merged [ɑ] and [ɔ] vowels, raising [ɪ] above [e], and fronting and lowering [ʊ].
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Koffi, Ettien and Lopez-Backstrom, Michel
"An Acoustic Phonetic Investigation of the Similarities and Differences Between Northern and Central Minnesota English,"
Linguistic Portfolios: Vol. 10
, Article 4.
Available at: https://repository.stcloudstate.edu/stcloud_ling/vol10/iss1/4