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The Canadian Shift in Toronto

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 June 2016

Rebecca Roeder
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Lidia-Gabriela Jarmasz
Affiliation:
University of Toronto

Abstract

This study provides the first wide-scale, apparent time, instrumental description of the Canadian Shift in mainstream Toronto English. In contrast with some previous findings, the Toronto data suggest that for the last 70 years or more the shift has not affected the high front lax vowel (i). We observe that the movement of the nonhigh front lax vowels (ε) and (æ) involves both lowering and retraction in Toronto English, although retraction is the primary direction of more recent change and the shift appears to be slowing down. Our findings also suggest that continued retraction of the vowel resulting from the low back merger is involved in the final stage of the shift. We do not find evidence of a chain shift but instead propose that a parallel shift is occurring and make reference to Vowel Dispersion Theory in our discussion.

Résumé

Résumé

Cette étude présente la première description instrumentale en temps apparent de grande envergure du Canadian Shift dans l’anglais courant de Toronto. En contraste avec certains résultats antérieurs, les données de Toronto suggèrent qu’au cours des 70 dernières années ou plus, cette mutation n’a pas touché la voyelle haute antérieure relâchée (i). Nous observons que le mouvement des voyelles antérieures relâchées non hautes (ε) et (æ) implique à la fois abaissement et postériorisation, bien que cette dernière représente la direction principale du changement plus récent; de plus, nous observons que la mutation semble ralentir. Nos résultats suggèrent également que la postériorisation continue de la voyelle qui provient de la fusion des voyelles postérieures basses est impliquée dans la dernière étape de la mutation. Ne trouvant aucune preuve de mutation en chaîne, nous proposons plutôt que le Canadian Shift est une mutation en parallèle. Nous invoquons la théorie de la dispersion des voyelles dans notre discussion.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Canadian Linguistic Association 2010

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