Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Shearer, William M.||Williams, J. David

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Speech


English language--Dialects--New York (State)--New York


This study was undertaken to determine whether two dialects are in use in New York City. One hundred and fifty-nine students were surveyed in the Bronx Community College and Long Island University, DeKalb Avenue Extension by means of a questionnaire designed to elicit information regarding language background. From this information 43 students were selected. A total of 29 subjects actually participated, the others either refusing or being absent when the recordings were made. The subjects read aloud a phonetically edited experimental passage (Fairbanks' Rainbow Passage) while a tape recording was made. The tapes were transcribed phonetically by the experimenter, cheeked by another advanced student in Speech Pathology and then re-transcribed by the experimenter. A listing was made of the phonetic transcription of each word spoken by one subject in a particular borough. The phonetic transcription of the same words spoken by every other subject from that same borough were compared with the first speaker and any differences in pronunciation were noted. In this manner two lists were made, one representing the similarities and differences among the Brooklyn speakers and one representing the same among the Bronx speakers. A tape was presented to a panel of 15 judges all of whom were from the midwest and all of whom had had one course in phonetics. They were instructed to listen to the two minute samples for learning purposes and then to evaluate the one minute tests in terms of whether they represented a Brooklyn or Bronx speaker. At the conclusion of the testing situation the judges were asked to indicate what enabled them to identify the speakers as they had. From the results of this evaluation the subjective results of the study were drawn. There are apparently subtle differences which enable some listeners to distinguish between the two boroughs.


Includes bibliographical references.


v, 27 pages




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