North American English regional phonology

North American English Regional Phonology

North American English regional phonology

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North American English regional phonology is the study of variations in the pronunciation of spoken English by the inhabitants of various parts of North America. North American English can be divided into several regional dialects based on phonological, phonetic, lexical, and some syntactic features. North American English includes American English, which has several highly developed and distinct regional varieties, along with the closely related Canadian English, which is more homogeneous. American English (especially Western dialects) and Canadian English have more in common with each other than with the many varieties of English outside North America.

The most recent work documenting and studying the phonology of North American English dialects as a whole is the Atlas of North American English by William Labov, Sharon Ash, and Charles Boberg, on which much of the description below is based, following on a tradition of sociolinguistics dating to the 1960s; earlier large-scale American dialectology focused more on lexical variation than on phonology.

Defining regions of North American speech

Regional dialects in North America are most strongly differentiated along the Eastern seaboard. The distinctive speech of important cultural centers like Boston, Massachusetts (see Boston accent); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Orleans, Louisiana imposed their marks on the surrounding areas. The Connecticut River is usually regarded as the southern/western extent of New England...
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