Sociolinguistics Lunch: Ann Marie Olivo (Rice University/ Texas)

NOV 22, 2013 | 2:00 PM TO 4:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




November 22, 2013: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM




SPEAKER: Ann Marie Olivo (Rice University)

TITLE: The Strong Island Sound: Language and Ethnicity on Long Island


Many residents of Long Island are descendants of the European immigrants who moved to NYC around the turn of the twentieth century—mainly Italians, Irish, and Polish. When these groups moved out to the suburbs of Long Island half a century later, they brought their New York City English with them.
I will present data from sociolinguistic interviews conducted over two years with local residents of Suffolk and Nassau counties on Long Island. A discourse analysis informed the categories used for multiple regression analyses to ensure the coded categories matched onto speakers’ self-identification practices. The discourse analysis also provides evidence for the attitudes Long Islanders hold about themselves as ethnic New Yorkers. Multiple regression analyses fit with mixed effects models were run to demonstrate the state of NYCE as it is spoken on Long Island. Results are presented for the long in gliding vowels (raised-/oh/ and the split short-a system), the long up gliding vowels, and r-vocalization.
Although some younger speakers are using fewer traditional NYCE features, those who identify with their families’ ancestral immigrant pasts tend to prefer the traditional NYCE features, retaining a “Strong Island” sound to their speech.

The CUNY Sociolinguistics Lunch is a series of talks on sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics given by students, faculty, and visiting scholars usually from local institutions.

The talks are held at the Graduate Center on three Fridays per semester. The format includes ample time for discussion, and so it is an excellent venue for presenting on-going research or research in preparation for publication.