In this paper, I investigate the durational characteristics of vowels produced by Central Minnesota speakers of English. The vowel [o] receives the lion’s share of attention because it is stereotypically indexed with the Minnesotan way of speaking. Twenty-three female and 11 male talkers produced the 11 phonemic monophthong vowels of English contained in the words . Eleven male talkers (64%) elongate their [o]s, while 10 female talkers (44%) do the same. Overall, the lengthening of [o] marks the speaker as having a stereotypical Minnesota accent, as portrayed in the movie Fargo and the sitcom Coach. The aggregated data suggests that female speakers are making a concerted effort to reduce the duration of their [o]s, but their male counterparts are less inclined to do so. The female linguistic behavior is probably due to the fact that the elongated [o] is perceived as less prestigious. This finding is consistent with sociolinguistic observations from numerous languages indicating that female talkers gravitate toward speech forms that they perceive as more prestigious.
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"The Duration of [o] in Central Minnesota English: An Acoustic Phonetic Investigation,"
Linguistic Portfolios: Vol. 6
, Article 3.
Available at: https://repository.stcloudstate.edu/stcloud_ling/vol6/iss1/3