A phonological study of the speech of Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky



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This study has as its primary purpose that of describing the American English dialect spoken in Paducah and McCracken County, Kentucky. Emphasis is made on the phonology. The basic materials used to carry out this study were taped interviews with twelve adult speakers of that dialect. The interviews were conducted with the aid of a booklet of worksheets of selected items from A Compilation of the Worksheets of the Linguistic Atlas of the United States and Canada and Associated Projects. The dialect was found to be characteristically South Midland, evidenced by a general tendency to diphthongize the checked vowels, by the presence of you-all or y'all as the second person plural pronoun (with your-all's as the possessive form), by the presence of /r/ intervocalically and in word-final position, and by a tendency toward monophthongization of the diphthong /aI/. Morphological forms and lexical items occurring in the worksheets revealed more evidence of stigmatized usage than did The phonological features, although the more educated speakers preferred one form over another occasionally as sounding more correct.