The California Vowel Shift in Santa Barbara
The Northern California Vowel Shift was first noted by linguists in the late 1980s. The current study builds upon previous findings by investigating vowel systems in Santa Barbara. Using two reading passages, the vowel spaces of fifteen middle class, white, 20-30 year olds were examined at the midpoint of F1 and F2. The goal of this project was to determine whether the CVS is present and whether gender and other demographic variables are statistically significant. Quantitative analysis found that these speakers’ vowel systems exhibit the characteristics of front and back vowels in the CVS. Women have a lower and more backed /ɛ/ realization than any other gender. Furthermore, women who stayed in California for college are more likely to have a complete split between pre- and non-pre-nasal /æ/ tokens. Men have /æ/ raised before /k/, which indicates that they may not have fully adopted the shift.