Mexican American English in Context: Accommodation to Other Available Norms in Lower Michigan
Recent studies have examined the effects of regional varieties on the English of
Mexican Americans outside the Southwest (Hartford 1978; Frazer 1996; Gordon
2000; Wolfram, Carter, and Moriello 2004; Roeder 2006). The present study is an examination of the vowel systems of Mexican Americans in two communities in Lower Michigan - the Lansing area, where the Northern Cities Shift (NCS) is a
feature of the predominant local dialect, and Berrien County in southwest Michigan,
which has not shown extensive NCS influence. The findings reveal a kiteshaped
pattern in the lower vowels of the Lansing speakers, which is attributable
to a new variety of Mexican American English influenced strongly by tbe NCS.
The degree of accommodation to this pattern by Mexican Americans in Berrien
County - where the Mexican American community is less well established - correlates with their length of residence in the area.