Dialects are shifty

People often change the way they speak after moving to and living in a new region. But they do not simply "lose" an old accent or "gain" a new one: some dialect features change while others remain stable. Speakers may also shift their ways of speaking depending on who they are talking to, where they are, or what they're talking about.

We want to understand why and how people change their dialects

The goal of Dialects on the Move is to examine changes in the speech of two groups of speakers:

  1. natives of the New York City region who have moved to the Greater Toronto Area

  2. natives of the Toronto area who have moved to the New York City region

We're interested in what these speakers think about the places they've lived and the culture of these communities, both on the local level (Toronto vs. New York City) and the national (Canada vs. the U.S.), and how this is reflected in the way they talk. This research will help us understand how language is used socially and how it is represented in the mind.

The project is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (BCS-1651108).

Participate in our research!

If you fit into one of the groups above (New Yorker in Toronto, or Torontonian in New York City) and you'd like to be interviewed about your experiences, we'd love to hear from you! Click here for more information.