University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


With reference to Irvine and Gal's (2000) model of how language ideologies are constructed, this study examines the linguistic basis for the iconization of Southern American English vowels. The specific focus is on the spectral and temporal properties of the low front vowel /ae/ (TRAP). The paper proposes a unified analysis of this vowel’s seemingly inconsistent behavior as part of the Southern Vowel Shift and as part of the Southern drawl. In the proposed model, the latter is an extension of the former. The link is an internal timing feature, a delayed initial vowel target. This case study of /ae/ serves as the basis for a broader re-consideration of Southern Anglo vowel phonetics.