Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 15:12:19 +0200
From: David Sutcliffe
Subject: Re: St Louis Blues

On 25/4/98 Allan Metcalf wrote:
> Thinking of Walt Wolfram giving the Tamony lecture in Columbia,
> Missouri, today; and feeling sorry that I couldn't make it to that
annual celebration of
American English, got me thinking about Missouri and its language.
St Louis has the peculiarity of being a Northern speech island in a
sea of Midland. But has this always been so? Was it the case when Lewis
and Clark set off on their expedition? Has anybody studied St Louis
speech of the 19th century?
Allan Metcalf>

This reminded me of the research William Labov, Sherry Ash & associates
are doing on vowel shift chains. They are convinced that a great
Northern vowel shift is under way in the northern cities of Chicago,
Detroit, etc. and are also convinced there's a great Southern vowel
vowel shift in progress throughout the South. This leaves the cities in
the middle, Cincinatti and westwards, and here they find that each major
city is going its own sweet way (Labov, pers. communication 1995). I'm
not sure what they say about St Louis, but it would be enlightening to
talk to them about this. At all events the situation they describe seems
to bear out the three-way division: Northern, Midland, Southern, which
was recently questioned.

David Sutcliffe

> David Sutcliffe
> Barcelona
> PS As this may be of general interest I'll also send edited version to
> the list>
> >
> >