The short-a split in a suburban area of the New York City dialect region


  • Allison Shapp New York University



sociolinguistics, sociophonetics, New York City English, Long Island, short-a split, change in progress


In American English, the most common pattern for the pronunciation of the allophones of the vowel phoneme /æ/ is the "nasal-split," where the vowel is tense (raised, fronted) when followed by a nasal consonant and lax (lowered, backed) otherwise. In contrast, historically New York City English (NYCE) has had a "complex short-a split" with different conditioning factors for each allophone. This paper reports on new data from the eastern edge of the NYCE dialect region: suburban Nassau County, Long Island. Using word-list data from the sociolinguistic interviews of 24 high school students, aged 14-18, and 7 of their teachers and mentors, this paper shows that while young speakers in this region are moving towards the wider American nasal-split, the local version of that nasal-split still includes components of the traditional NYCE complex-split.




How to Cite

Shapp, Allison. 2018. “The Short-a Split in a Suburban Area of the New York City Dialect Region”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 3 (1): 63:1–10.