"It's Too Hat in Here?" The Perception of NCS a-Fronting


  • Bartlomiej Plichta Michigan State University
  • Dennis Preston Oklahoma State University
  • Brad Rakerd Michigan State University


What is the role of specific items in carrier phrases in promoting or demoting an advantage in understanding words that contain advanced tokens of change-in-progress sounds? Labov and Ash (1997) and Plichta (2004) note such an advantage for local speakers, but they do not provide evidence about individual features. 

In Labov and Ash (1997), carrier phrases contain other tokens of Northern Cities Shift (NCS) and Southern Yowel Shift (SYS) vowels. For the NCS test, had and sandals occur along with the test item socks; for the SVS test, I and knew occur along with the test item guy. In the NCS test, therefore, another vowel of the shift occurs (re), but not the same vowel as that of the test word socks. In the SVS test, however, I occurs, the same vowel as in the test item (guy). Additionally, the potential misunderstanding is a real word in the NCS test (socks) but not in the SVS test (gah). Finally, the NCS test gives a semantic/pragmatic clue to the identity of the word; the SVS test does not.

Author Biographies

Bartlomiej Plichta, Michigan State University

Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages Michigan State University

Dennis Preston, Oklahoma State University

Regents Professor, Department of EnglishOklahoma State University

Brad Rakerd, Michigan State University

Professor, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University




How to Cite

Plichta, B., Preston, D., & Rakerd, B. (2007). "It’s Too Hat in Here?" The Perception of NCS a-Fronting. Linguistica Atlantica, 27, 92–95. Retrieved from https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/la/article/view/22627