San Francisco English and the California Vowel Shift

Lauren Hall-Lew, Amanda Cardoso, Yova Kemenchedjieva, Kieran Wilson, Ruaridh Purse, Julie Saigusa

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

San Francisco English has been previously identified as distinct from Californian English, based on its maintenance of a low back vowel distinction [13]. Subsequent work has shown participation in the low back merger and other Californian sound changes [15]. We present an analysis of the front and central vowels involved in the California Vowel Shift: KIT, DRESS, TRAP, and STRUT. Previous work in San Francisco [8] found raised DRESS after velars, and raised KIT, DRESS, and TRAP before nasals.
Elsewhere in California [11], KIT and DRESS are lowering; TRAP is raising before nasals and backing before orals (‘the nasal split’). We examine vowels produced in read speech by 24 speakers stratified by age, gender, and ethnicity. Results show apparent time evidence of DRESS lowering/backing and the TRAP ‘nasal split’. Effects of style and gender raise further questions. The results point to San Francisco English converging on broader regional patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventThe 18th International Conference of the Phonetic Sciences - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Aug 201514 Aug 2015


ConferenceThe 18th International Conference of the Phonetic Sciences
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • linguistics
  • phonetics
  • variation
  • dialectology
  • sound change
  • vowels


Dive into the research topics of 'San Francisco English and the California Vowel Shift'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this