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The Dialect of New mills: Linguistic Change in a North-West Derbyshire Community

By Jon Fyne


Abstract\ud \ud This research has two primary aims, both of which are intrinsically linked: firstly, to provide a description of the traditional dialect of New Mills on the levels of phonology (a systematic description), grammar and lexis; secondly, to analyse linguistic change that is currently occurring within the traditional dialect. The first of these aims is achieved by analysing the speech of the oldest members of the community. A qualitative age-based comparison enables the second objective to be undertaken. In order to record the traditional dialect, informants were selected who were most likely to use this stratum of speech (i.e. older working class male informants). Moreover, as this is essentially a study of linguistic change in apparent time, all independent variables, except age, are kept constant. Thus the data is taken from a socially homogenous group of speakers, who only vary by age, ranging from retired persons to teenagers. Theoretically, this should enable an analysis of change within the traditional dialect only, and thus provide a clearer picture as to the extent and nature of the change in progress. Attention is focused upon standardisation and / or levelling within the traditional dialect, and the possible factors, both linguistic and extra-linguistic (e.g., cultural / attitudinal) behind these processes.\u

Publisher: School of English (Sheffield)
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:1094

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  1. (1994). 1 This is plainly not the case in the dialect of New Mil ls – all realisations are [ɪ], except in those instances mentioned above, where dialectal [i] operates as a variant 1 Gimson
  2. (1905). 117 received speech… as (loodhˋ, loodhˋthˋ), loathe” -8 and consequently dismisses this feature as “elocutionary and not dialectal or permanent, that is, the consonant is not invariably so prolonged whenever the word is used.” 9 Both Wright
  3. (1980). 15 Chambers and Trudgill
  4. (1998). 20 In Shorrocks‟ study of Farnworth, south Lancashire, a fronted variant [ʏ] is recorded as the usual second element of a variant diphthong corresponding to SE /aʊ/ - see Shorrocks
  5. (1998). 21 For an overview of these, see Shorrocks
  6. 21, encompassing north -west Derbyshire, north-east Cheshire and south-east Lancashire; this division is defined here according to the county divisions prior to the 1974 County Reformation Act (i.e. before the creation of the metropolitan county of Greater
  7. (1998). 25 In all these localities, an increase in glottalised forms, partic ularly glottal stops, amongst younger speakers has been noted, sometimes at the expense of traditional features.
  8. (1979). 25 The evidence suggests that the phenomenon of glottalisation of /t/ occurred in the urban varieties of the north and midlands before it did in London (see /t/, above,
  9. (1991). 27 Data from the SED (mid 20 th C) shows that /x/ still remains in isolated areas of the north-west midlands – see Wakelin
  10. (2002). 31 Despite its widespread acceptance among many contemporary linguists, nevertheless, there is some evidence that suggests that the hierarchy diffusion model previously outlined may not necessarily be 26 Kerswill,
  11. (1980). 38 This is very much the case in Farnworth,
  12. (1976). 38 Wright attributes nasalisation in Manchester to influence from Liverpool speech – see Wright
  13. (1987). 39 It is assumed that shortening first occurred before /d/ in the sixteenth century and before /t/, /θ/, /k/ in the first half of the seventeenth century - see Ogura, Mieko, Historical English Phonology: A Lexical Perspective,
  14. (1909). 39 One of the earliest references to glottalisation in London is made by Daniel Jones in 1909 who cites the glottal replacement of final (intervocalic) /t/ - Jones, Daniel, Pronunciation of English,
  15. (1980). 46 Chambers and Trudgill
  16. (1994). 5 What can be said with certainty is that OE ĕ approximated either /e/ or /ɛ/ or was of a quality in between these. Evidence from modern dialects suggests 5 Gimson
  17. (1994). 53 In the contemporary traditional dialect of New Mills, with the general loss of post-vocalic and pre-consonantal /r/, eModE /ər/ has generally developed to /ə/ (in addition to a lengthened variant /ə:/) - via /əʴ/, 51 Gimson
  18. (1968). 54 The same process was apparent in SE during the eModE period - for the lowering effect of /r/
  19. (1957). 56 The evidence suggests, however, that such a view is not entirely accurate. The unusual variation in the north midlands is accounted for by the differing reflexes of ME ę (often referred to as
  20. (1968). 58 The existence of roughly the same (and equally complex) set of variants (<
  21. (1979). 60 For the development of
  22. (1979). 61 A similar situation concerning the developme nt of ME /au/ is apparent in some northern dialects – for the development of Northern ME /au/, see Tidholm
  23. (1994). 64 Forms with in-glides (which emerged in the south–east, and hence SE, during the seventeenth century) were originally considered as vulgarisms – see Gimson
  24. (1968). 64 The lowering effect of /r/ is discussed by
  25. (1994). 65 One possible reason for the change within the traditional dialect is the pressure exerted by /o:/ and [ɒʴ], [ɒ:] (i.e.
  26. (1998). 67 That is tending towards /o:/ - see also Shorrocks
  27. (1968). 67 Whatever the case with SE, it is a probability, therefore, that ME / ɔ:/ + /r/ developed regularly to /o:r/ by the 66 Dobson
  28. (1998). 7 focusing on one or two variables, its use in an extensive systematic description based on a considerable corpus of data would inevitably be beyond the time constraints imposed by a doctoral length thesis.
  29. (1974). 7 In one such study, conducted by Trudgill
  30. (1968). 70 It is possible, therefore, that in the case of four, 68
  31. (1994). 71 The open variants ([ :], [ :], [ɒ:]) are the usual realisations for /ɔ:/ in all instances (i.e.
  32. (1980). 76 Such as Shorrock‟s description
  33. (1991). 77 In these areas, the reflex of ME ō3 is frequently /ɔɪ/ (e.g., /kɔɪl, coal; /kɔɪt/, coat). Such forms are attested
  34. (1999). 8 Many examples of this type may be found in, for
  35. (1968). 80 [ʊu] > [əʊ] or [ʌʊ]. 26 Gimson dates the beginning of the process in the fifteenth century and suggests that the [aʊ] stage, in SE, “must have become established during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries”.
  36. 86 As the data for the nearest SED localities 87 have only clear /l/ in initial position, it is tempting to attribute initial velarised /l/ as being a feature of the major urban varieties (i.e.
  37. (1998). a full description of the younger informants‟ realisations of /ɔ:/, see above,
  38. (1936). A History of Modern Colloquial English,
  39. After the 1974 Cou nty Reformation Act, a large area of urban south Lancashire (including Manchester and the satellite towns of Bolton,
  40. (1904). Alexander, A Grammar of the Dialect of Adlington (Lancashire), Anglistische Forschungen 13, Carl Winter,
  41. (1968). and Wakelin,
  42. (1968). beard and the dialectal variants noted immediately above, while others developed only as far as /e:/ +
  43. (1999). Biographical Information (correct as of
  44. (1968). Bjǿrn Stålhane, Pre-glottalisation in English Standard Pronunciation,
  45. (1998). c) Medial /b/ (intervocalically) is sometimes devoiced
  46. (1997). Comparative Distribution Dialectal /ɔɪ/ ([ɔɪ], [ɒɪ], [ɒɪ] etc.) corresponds to RP /ɔɪ/ ([ɔɪ]). 42 The Sheffield survey of
  47. (1994). Contemporary Linguistic Change As is the case with the other centring diphthongs, originally consisting of historical /r/
  48. (1968). Contemporary Linguistic Change Dialectal /oə/ is present throughout all the age-groups. Long monophthong variants
  49. (1994). Contemporary Linguistic Change There is minimal modification in apparent time – gemination occurs less among younger speakers. Sonorants /m/ /m/ is a voiced (lenis) bilabial nasal. Distribution /m/ occurs in all positions within the word: 76 See Gimson
  50. (2002). Current trends in British Sociophonetics‟, University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in
  51. (1994). dates the monophthongisation of ME / aʊ/ as occuring sometime at the beginning of the seventeenth century (i.e.,
  52. (1996). Dialectal /ɒ/ in for, or, and other lexical items such as horse etc., has developed from eModE /ɒ/ + /r/ and has evidently undergone little or no change in the ModE period.
  53. (2001). For the differing realizations (according to age) of the reflex of ME /u:/
  54. (1968). For the written evidence of the development of /i:/
  55. (1936). H.C., A history of modern colloquial English,
  56. (1987). Historical English Phonology: A Lexical Perspective,
  57. (1982). Ibid. 126 This phenomenon is observable in other European languages – in French, for example, despite the orthographic representation, the process involving the loss of initial /h/ has run to completion.
  58. (1994). Ibid. 172 on a lexical level, than in SE and many other dialects – in words such as old and cold
  59. (1987). If the theory of lexical diffusion is applied to the development of ME ę in the dialect area in which New Mills is situated, the following development is likely: ME ē2 was raised to /e:/ 57 See Ogura
  60. (1995). in the environment preceding /ʧ/, medial /t/ may occur where SE has a velar plosive, i.e. corresponding to the orthographical representation of the lexical item
  61. (1994). it is apparent that this phoneme does not occur in all words where RP has /aɪ/. It appears to be confined to those words which are very common, and its development seems 23 Gimson
  62. (1994). it may be elided 47 See Gimson
  63. (1972). Linguistic Evolution, Cambridge,
  64. (1972). More relevant to the present study, however, is Lodge‟s
  65. (2000). New Ways of Capturing the ‘Kodak moment’: Real-time vs. Apparent Time Analyses of Syntactic Variation in Tyneside English, 1969-1994, paper delivered at the View Conference,
  66. (1999). Newcastle upon Tyne and Derby: instrumental phonetics and variationist studies‟,
  67. (1987). p. 67) and Sheffield (see Stoddart et al
  68. (1914). Popular English of Lancaster and District, Maitre phonetique,
  69. (1906). refers to intervocalic glottal replacement in Glasgow at this time - Bell, Alexander Graham, Lectures upon the mechanism of speech,
  70. (1982). responsible for the development of glottalisation in the north midlands, and this will now be discussed. 32 Andresen has produced compelling evidence, based on nineteenth and early twentieth century research by such notable linguists as
  71. (1980). School of Linguistics: Competition and Evolution,
  72. (1968). Sex: Male Date of Birth: 8 / 11/ 36 Place of Birth: Maternity Home, Birch Vale Present Address: New Mills Residency History: Has lived in New Mills permanently – Cold Harbour Farm, Ollersett Moor (until 1968) Place of Birth (Father): New Mills,
  73. (1999). Sheffield dialect in the 1990s: revisiting the concept of NORMs”,
  74. (2004). Sociolinguistic Variation: Critical Reflections,
  75. (1908). Sounds of English,
  76. (1964). Stages in the acquisition of Standard English‟,
  77. (1979). The Elementary Para Session On Linguistic Units and Levels,
  78. (1952). The Isolative Treatment in Living North-Midland Dialects of OE ĕ Lengthened in Open Syllables in Middle English”
  79. (1982). the research undertaken by Wells (outlined above) also suggests that /a/
  80. (1994). the same as it was in the eModE period, the vowel being merely lengthened to compensate for the loss of /r/, though contemporary realisations demonstrate considerable variation - see /ɔ:/, above,
  81. The Social and Historical Background‟ in the Appendix,
  82. (1968). The symbol [ ʼ] is used by Jespersen to denote the glottal stop.
  83. (1987). Traditional nwDer/neCh Contemporary New Mills Old Mid Adult Teen /a:/ /eɪ/ /e:/
  84. Traditional nwDer/neCh Contemporary New Mills Old Mid Adult Teen /e:/ /i:/ /i:/ [i:] [i:] [i:] [i:] /i/, /e/ + /x/ (+ /j/) /aɪ/ /i:/, /ɛɪ/ [i:], [ɛɪ] /aɪ/* [i:], [ɛɪ] /aɪ/* /aɪ/* [i:], [ɛɪ] /aɪ/* (/i:/) * For realizations of /aɪ/, see below,
  85. (1936). Traditional nwDer/neCh Contemporary New Mills Old Mid Adult Teen /ɛɪ/, /aɪ/ + /x/ weight, eight etc. /eɪ/ /ɛɪ/ [ɛɪ] [ɛɪ] [ɛɪ] [ɛɪ] /ɛɪ/, /i:/ + /x/ height, fight /aɪ/ /ɛɪ/ [ɛɪ], /aɪ/* [ɛɪ], /aɪ/* /aɪ/*, [ɛɪ] /aɪ/* 11
  86. (1999). Voices: Accent Studies in the British Isles,
  87. (1994). w/ is omitted in several instances in word medial position where it occurs in
  88. (2001). Welcome to East Anglia! Two major dialect „boundaries‟ in the Fens”,
  89. (1999). West Midlands: ambiguous perspectives on gender patterns and models of change‟, in
  90. (1989). When Talk Isn‟t Cheap: Language and Political Economy‟,
  91. You might say “I did it not three times, not twice but only once SED 1 wɒns 4 wʊns ;

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