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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

From a dialectological perspective, the Pacific Northwest has been massively understudied in comparison to other areas of the U.S. Recent years have seen a growing attention to expanding our knowledge of regional dialects in this part of the country, with a number of research projects and publications beginning to address speech and variation within the Pacific Northwest. However, the vast bulk of this recent work has focused on the (socio)phonetics of the region and very little recent work has examined regional variation in morphosyntax in the Pacific Northwest. Motivated by work in York, England by Tagliamonte and Lawrence (2000, “I used to dance, but I don’t dance now: The habitual past in English,” Journal of English Linguistics 28.4), the present study examines variability in the realization of past habituality in Oregonian English. Unlike previous studies, we find extremely low rates of the form used to relative to would and preterit forms. We explore the internal and external constraints that influence the realization of these forms, and, more broadly, consider possible reasons that account for these rates of use.

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