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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

Drawing from data from a multi-region US vowel production and perception study, we investigate the extent to which vowel production and perception are related for talkers from Memphis, Tennessee. Focusing on the mid-front vowels and the variable degree of Southern Vowel Shift (SVS) exhibited productively by thirteen individuals, the study investigates the role of individual variation in perception. We show both that individuals who participate more strongly in the SVS have more shifted perceptual systems and that perceptual shift can operate somewhat independently from productive shift. We further consider our data in terms of the proposal by Sumner and Samuel (2009) that dialects should be understood as having three components, production, perception, and representation, and not simply in terms of production.

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