A Discussion of the Chicago Accent by Linguist David Durian, Ph D

Welcome

On this Web site, you will soon find more detailed discussion of the results of a study of sound change and vowel variation in Chicago English among 5 generations of Chicagoans (folks born between 1875 and 1991). This material will accompany our book The Chicago Accent–Its Beginnings, Development, and Present Day Use, which we are currently writing and developing.

This study is being carried out by David Durian, Ph D, of Bloomsburg University, and Richard Cameron, Ph D, of the University of Illinois at Chicago. It also features the work of (now deceased) linguist Lee Pederson, who did a dialect study of Chicago in the 1960s, and some data originally recorded for The Dictionary of American Regional English in the early 1970s. (Durian and Cameron’s part of the study is current/ongoing in 2016…)

We are still processing our data, analyzing it, and writing up our results. Thus, we do not have final results to present just yet.

However, in the meantime, there are some tentative results we can present.

You can read about them in a couple articles that David Durian has been interviewed for recently:

– Da Classic Chicago Accent Is Almost Entirely Gone from TV and Movies
http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/movies/ct-chicago-accent-is-gone-from-tv-mov-0527-20160526-column.html
– What’s in A Vowel? Sound Change in the Northern Cities and the Northern Cities Shift
http://beltmag.com/whats-in-a-vowel-in-search-of-the-disappearing-short-a-rising/

David Durian has also done some oral interviews with Chicago Legend Gerry Meier on his podcast

http://garrymeier.com/episode-53-david-durian/

And more recently he appeared on WBEZ, discussing Chicago Street Name Pronunciations

https://www.wbez.org/shows/morning-shift/from-paulina-to-throop-the-origin-story-of-chicagos-accent-pronunciations/227ba8bf-ab26-46b0-a2f2-8d1cd55b8df8

Chicago Media folks–if you want more details than what’s in these articles or the audio interviews, please feel free to contact David Durian at daviddurian@gmail.com!

You can also learn more about the project at http://www.facebook.com/ChicagoDialectProject

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