Date of Award

5-1-2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Crow, Bryan

Abstract

This study was designed to measure the perception of Southwest Michigan residents' perception of the Northern Cities Shift, and compare it to the perceptions of Southeast Michigan residents. Participants, recruited from the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo areas, were asked to complete a dialect boundary map of the United States in order to discern perceptions of American English dialects and accents and determine the dialect or accent that they most associate with the state of Michigan. Participants were also asked to listen to and judge the personality traits of seven different North American speakers. The results of this study indicate that Southwest Michigan residents may subconsciously be able to detect the NCS in speech, though they were mostly unable to correctly identify the NCS as a characteristic of Michigan speech. Further research with a larger pool of participants could provide more accurate measurements as to the perception of Michigan residents towards the Northern Cities Shift.

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