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Linguists to gather in Minneapolis for national conference
Date:12/6/2013

as children cease to learn the languages of their parents and grandparents. Over half of these languages may cease to be spoken in this century. As they go silent, communities and scholars are at risk of losing a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, the natural environment, and the human mind. Through the Recovering Voices Program, the Smithsonian Institution supports language communities and scholars in their efforts to document, revitalize, and sustain languages and the knowledge embedded in them. Recovering Voices collaborates with communities and other organizations to improve access to data collections ranging from those that record the details of the natural to the cultural worlds of peoples around the world. The program supports intergenerational, interdisciplinary, and community initiatives to sustain and celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity.

Title: Vowel change across Noam Chomsky's lifespan

Author: Soohyun Kwon

Previous research on language change across the lifespan shows that most people rarely change their accent after the teenage years, although some speakers do show significant changes well into adulthood. A recent study by Soohyun Kwon at the University of Pennsylvania examining changes in Noam Chomsky's speech provides interesting evidence of significant accent change during adulthood. Chomsky was born in Philadelphia and moved to Boston at age 26. By comparing two recordings of Chomsky's public speeches from 1970 (at age 42) and 2009 (at age 81), it was found that over 40 years, Chomsky came to pronounce vowels in words such as got, rock, top more like law, talk, caught, which is characteristic of Bostonian speech. An examination of Chomsky's short-a vowel (e.g. man, bad, glad) shows that between 1970 and 2009, he adopted the Boston pattern, where this vowel becomes tense before nasal sounds (so Ann is pronounced like Ian). These results are interpreted as Chomsky's adaptation to
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Contact: Alyson Reed
areed@lsadc.org
202-835-1714
Linguistic Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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