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The Socio-Economic Significance of Four Phonetic Characteristics in North American English

DOI: 10.5923/j.linguistics.20120103.06

Keywords: Statistical Regression, Phonetic Characteristics, Per-Capita Income, North American English

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Abstract:

This paper uses a least-square regression method that relates per-capita income to four phonetic characteristics (r-dropping, and the so-called “father-bother”, “cot-caught” and “pin-pen” mergers), to study the socio-economic significance of those characteristics in North American English. As a result we find a positive and statistically significant relationship between per-capita income and r-dropping, and between per-capita income and the presence of the “cot-caught” merger, and a negative and statistically significant relationship between per-capita income and the “pin-pen” merger. No statistically significant relationship is found, however, between per-capita income and the presence of a “father-bother” merger or split.

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