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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

In this paper, I set sociolinguistic meaning and phonological borrowing within the specific local geography of speakers in a community. The social practices of these speakers collide with ideology in a particular physical space: a single neighborhood park that serves as a neighborhood boundary between Black and white residents in a Philadelphia neighborhood, which in turn emerges in the white speakers’ ideologies as a place that is both maximally local and is the site of contact with the maximally extralocal. I argue that the interleaving of social meanings within the park and the regular interracial conflict within it result in the indexical de-linking of (TH)-fronting from African American English (AAE) and the indexical strengthening of this feature with toughness, enabling white Philadelphia English speakers to adopt this (TH)-fronting as an index of tough via conflict with their AAE speaking neighbors.

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