A San Diegan debate: Take 8 or Take the 8: Investigating the use of the determiner “the” before numeric freeways in San Diego


  • Brianna O'Boyle San Diego State University




Sociolinguistics, Second Dialect Acquisition, Southern Californian English, San Diego, numeric roadways, the


The determiner “the” before numeric roadways in Southern California has become salient enough that it has reached mainstream media. However there has been little formal research done on this linguistic variant, and especially in subregions of California such as San Diego county. This study examines the use of the by ten speakers through sociolinguistic interviews and a map task. It was found that people from San Diego had the highest usage of the, long term transplants also favored the but to a lesser degree, and recent transplants disfavored the. Additionally, it was found when recent transplants used this variable they did not apply it to unknown roads, though long term transplants used the not only for roads in San Diego but also for unknown roads. These differences between transplants may inform us about factors influencing second dialect acquisition. Furthermore a mixed methods analysis revealed that the might have diffused from Los Angeles to San Diego in the 1980s.




How to Cite

O'Boyle, Brianna. 2024. “A San Diegan Debate: Take 8 or Take the 8: Investigating the Use of the Determiner ‘the’ before Numeric Freeways in San Diego”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 9 (1): 5684. https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v9i1.5684.