Peripheral Communities and Innovation: Changes in the goose Vowel in a West Cumbrian Town

  • Sandra Jansen


The chapter discusses changes in the goose vowel in Maryport, a peripheral community in West Cumbria. Sociolinguistic studies often focus on variation and change processes in urban areas, but peripheral areas are frequently neglected. goose-fronting has been described as innovation in various urban communities in England with strikingly similar constraints across varieties. However, in Maryport, the goose vowel is not fronting and constraints which are widespread such as the inhibiting /l/ following the vowel are not found. On the other hand, a strong sex constraint exists with women using fronter /uː/ than men and the difference is maintained across age groups. While we do not observe changes on the F2 dimension, on the F1 dimension an opposing trend is noticeable. Women are raising the vowel, while men are lowering it. These strong differences in the realisation between the sexes lead to the conclusion that the vowel indexes sex in this community.


  1. Allerdale Borough Council. (2014). Locality profile: Maryport. Available online:
  2. Ash, S. (1996). Freedom of movement: /uw/-fronting in the Midwest. In J. Arnold, R. Blake, B. Davidson, S. Schwenter, & J. Solomon (Eds.), Sociolinguistic variation: Data, theory and analysis: Selected papers from NWAV 23 at Stanford (pp. 3–25). Stanford: CSLI Publications.Google Scholar
  3. Baranowski, M. (2007). Phonological variation and change in the dialect of Charleston, South Carolina. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Baranowski, M. (2008). The fronting of the back upgliding vowels in Charleston, South Carolina. Language Variation and Change, 20(3), 527–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baranowski, M. (2017). Class matters: The sociolinguistics of goose and goat in Manchester English. Language Variation and Change. Google Scholar
  6. Bauer, L. (1985). Tracing phonetic change in the received pronunciation of British English. Journal of Phonetics, 13, 61–81.Google Scholar
  7. Beal, J., Burbano-Elizondo, L., & Llamas, C. (2012). English from Tyne to Tees: Urban varieties of the North-East of England. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Deterding, D. (2003). An instrumental study of the monophthong vowels in Singapore English. English World-Wide, 24(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Di Paolo, M., Yaeger-Dror, M., & Beckford Wassink, A. (2010). Analyzing vowels. In M. Di Paolo & M. Yaeger-Dror (Eds.), Sociophonetics: A student’s guide (pp. 87–106). Oxon/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Dubois, S., & Horvath, B. (1999). When the music changes, you change too: Gender and language change in Cajun English. Language Variation and Change, 11(3), 287–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Durham, M. (2011). Right dislocation in northern England: Frequency and use – Perception meets reality. English World-Wide, 32(3), 257–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Durian, D., & Joseph, B. D. (2011, October). Making sense of shifty changes: The role of phonetic analogy in vowel shifts. Presented at New Ways of Analysing Variation (NWAV) 40, Georgetown University, 27–30.Google Scholar
  13. ELAN. Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The Language Archive, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Available online:
  14. Fabricius, A., Watt, D., & Johnson, D. E. (2009). A comparison of three speaker-intrinsic vowel formant frequency normalization algorithms for sociophonetics. Language Variation and Change, 21(3), 413–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ferragne, E., & Pellegrino, F. (2010). Formant frequencies of vowels in 13 accents of the British Isles. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 40(1), 1–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Flynn, N. (2011). Comparing vowel formant normalisation procedures. York Papers in Linguistics, 11, 1–28.Google Scholar
  17. Flynn, N. (2012). A sociophonetic study of Nottingham speakers. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of York.Google Scholar
  18. Fought, C. (1999). A majority sound change in a minority community: /u/-fronting in Chicano English. Journal of SocioLinguistics, 3(1), 5–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fridland, V. (2008). Patterns of /uw/, /ʊ/ and /ow/ fronting in Reno, Nevada. American Speech, 83(4), 432–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fridland, V., & Bartlett, K. (2006). The social and linguistic conditioning of back vowel fronting across ethnic groups in Memphis, Tennessee. English Language and Linguistics, 10(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fruehwald, J. 2013. Phonological involvement in phonetic change. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  22. Haddican, W., Foulkes, P., Hughes, V., & Richards, H. (2013). Interaction of social and linguistic constraints on two changes in northern England. Language Variation and Change, 25, 371–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hall-Lew, L. (2005). One shift, two groups: When fronting alone is not enough. University of Philadelphia working papers in linguistics 10.2: Selected papers from NWAVE 32. Google Scholar
  24. Hall-Lew, L. (2009). Ethnicity and phonetic variation in a San Francisco neighborhood. Unpublished PhD thesis, Stanford University.Google Scholar
  25. Harrington, J., Kleber, F., & Reubold, U. (2008). Compensation for coarticulation, /u/-fronting, and sound change in Standard Southern British: An acoustic and perceptual study. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 123, 2825–2835.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Harrington, J., Kleber, F., & Reubold, U. (2011). The contributions of the lips and the tongue to the diachronic fronting of high back vowels in Standard Southern British English. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 41(2), 137–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hawkins, S., & Midgley, J. (2005). Formant frequencies of RP monophthongs in four age groups of speakers. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 35(2), 183–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hay, J., Maclagan, M., & Gordon, E. (2008). New Zealand English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Henton, C. (1983). Changes in the vowels of received pronunciation. Journal of Phonetics, 11, 353–371.Google Scholar
  30. Hinrichs, L., Bohmann, A., & Gorman, K. (2013). Real-time trends in the Texas English vowel system: F2 trajectory in goose as an index of a variety’s ongoing delocalization. Rice Working Papers in Linguistics, 4, 1–12.Google Scholar
  31. Holmes-Elliott, S. (2015). London calling: Assessing the spread of metropolitan features in the southeast. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.Google Scholar
  32. Jansen, S. (2012a). High back vowel fronting in the north-west of England. In S. Calamai, C. Celata, & L. Ciucci (Eds.), Proceedings of ‘sociophonetics’ at the crossroads of speech variation, processing and communication (pp. 29–32). Pisa: Edizioni della Normale.Google Scholar
  33. Jansen, S. (2012b). Variation and change in the Cumbrian city dialect of Carlisle. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Duisburg-Essen.Google Scholar
  34. Jansen, S. (2017). Change and stability in goose, goat and foot: Back vowel dynamics in Carlisle English. English Language and Linguistics.Google Scholar
  35. Jansen, S. (in preparation). From an endonormative close to an exonormative open community: Social changes and phonological levelling in a peripheral Cumbrian town.Google Scholar
  36. Johnson, D. E. (2009). Getting off the GoldVarb standard: Introducing Rbrul for mixed effects variable rule analysis. Language and Linguistics Compass, 3(1), 359–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jones, D. (1932). An outline of English phonetics (3rd ed.). Leipzig: Teubner.Google Scholar
  38. Kerswill, P. (2015, September). Sociolinguistic typology, dialect formation and dialect levelling in industrial and post-industrial Britain: Vernacular speech since 1800. Presentation at the 10th UK Language variation and change conference, York University.Google Scholar
  39. Koops, C. (2010). /u/-fronting is not monolithic: Two types of fronted /u/ in Houston Anglos. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 16(2), Article 14.Google Scholar
  40. Labov, W. (1963). The social motivation of a sound change. Word, 19, 273–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Labov, W. (1972). Sociolinguistic patterns. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  42. Labov, W. (1980). The social origins of sound change. In W. Labov (Ed.), Locating language in time and space (pp. 251–266). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  43. Labov, W. (1984). Field methods of the project on linguistic change and variation. In J. Baugh & J. Sherzer (Eds.), Language in use (pp. 28–66). Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  44. Labov, W. (1994). Principles of linguistic change. Volume I: Internal factors. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  45. Labov, W. (2001). Principles of linguistic change. Volume II: Social factors. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  46. Labov, W. (2010). Principles of linguistic change. Volume III: Cognitive and cultural factors. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Labov, W., Ash, S., & Boberg, C. (2006). Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, phonology and sound change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Maclagan, M., Watson, C. I., Harlow, R., King, J., & Keegan, P. (2009). /u/ fronting and /t/ aspiration in Māori and New Zealand English. Language Variation and Change, 21(2), 175–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Maguire, W. (2014, April). Variation and change in a traditional northern English rural dialect. Presentation at the 6th Northern Englishes Workshop, Lancaster University.Google Scholar
  50. Mesthrie, R. (2010). Socio-phonetics and social change: Deracialisation of the goose vowel in South African English. Journal of SocioLinguistics, 14(1), 3–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Milroy, L. (2007). Off the shelf or over the counter? On the social dynamics of sound changes. In C. Cain & G. Russom (Eds.), Studies in the history of the English language (Vol. 3, pp. 149–172). Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ohala, J. (1981). The listener as a source of sound change. In C. S. Masek, R. A. Hendrick, & M. F. Miller (Eds.), Parasession on language and behavior (pp. 178–203). Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.Google Scholar
  53. Roach, P., & Hartman, J. (1997). English pronunciation dictionary (15th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Rosenfelder, I., Fruehwald, J., Evanini, K., & Yuan, J. (2011). FAVE (Forced Alignment and Vowel Extraction) program suite. Available online:
  55. Scobbie, J. M., Stuart-Smith, J., & Lawson, E. (2012). Back to front: A socially-stratified ultrasound tongue imaging study of Scottish English /u/. Rivista di Linguistica/Italian Journal of Linguistics, 24(1), 103–148.Google Scholar
  56. Sellafield Ltd. (2017). Facts. Available online:
  57. Sloetjes, H., & Wittenburg, P. (2008). Annotation by category – ELAN and ISO DCR. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation. MarrakeshGoogle Scholar
  58. Smith, J., & Durham, M. (2011). A tipping point in dialect obsolescence? Change across the generations in Lerwick, Shetland. Journal of SocioLinguistics, 15(2), 197–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Smith, J., & Holmes-Elliott, S. (2017). The unstoppable glottal: Tracking the development of an iconic British variable. English Language and Linguistics, 21, 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sóskuthy, M., Foulkes, P., Haddican, W., Hay, J., & Hughes, V. (2015). Word-level distributions and structural factors codetermine goose fronting. Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow.Google Scholar
  61. Stockwell, R., & Minkova, D. (1997). On drifts and shifts. Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, XXXI, 283–303.Google Scholar
  62. Stuart-Smith, J. (2013, September). In the aftermath of /u/ leaving. Glaswegian vowels through real and apparent time. Presentation at the 9th UK Language Variation and Change conference, University of Sheffield.Google Scholar
  63. Tagliamonte, S. (2013). The roots of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Tagliamonte, S., & Smith, J. (2002). “Either it isn’t or it’s not”: Neg/aux contraction in British dialects. English World-Wide, 23(2), 251–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Thomas, E. R., & Kendall, T. (2007). NORM: The vowel normalization and plotting suite. Available online:
  66. Torgersen, E. (1997). Some phonological innovations in south-east British English. Unpublished MA thesis, University of Bergen.Google Scholar
  67. Torgersen, E., & Kerswill, P. (2004). Internal and external motivation in phonetic change: Dialect levelling outcomes for an English vowel shift. Journal of SocioLinguistics, 8(1), 23–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Turton, D., & Baranowski, M. (2014, October). T[ʉ] c[ʉɫ] for sch [ʉɫ]: The interaction of /l/ -darkening and /u/-fronting in Manchester. Presentation at NWAV 43, University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  69. Watt, D. (2002). ‘I don’t speak with a Geordie accent, I speak, like, the northern accent’: Contact-induced levelling in the Tyneside vowel system. Journal of SocioLinguistics, 6(1), 44–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English. Volume I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wing-mei Wong, A. (2014). goose-fronting among Chinese Americans in New York City. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 20(2), Article 23.Google Scholar
  72. Wright, P. (1979). Cumbrian Dialect. Clapham: Daleman Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Jansen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PaderbornPaderbornGermany

Personalised recommendations