Income effects on a speech community:
Dekker, Ryan Michael
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In a politically conservative area outside of metro-Atlanta, one county, Oconee County, is conspicuously wealthier than its surrounding neighbors. Despite demographic overlap of ethnicity, voting patterns, and church attendance, this study seeks to understand divergences in speech patterns using the Rapid and Anonymous Surveys and passage reading. Attrition of regionally marked phonetic forms was attested in Oconee County as well as other enclaves corresponding to grocery stores catering to higher-end customers. These patterns suggest that grocery stores displaying specific non-local network ties correlated with a lack of regionally marked Southern speech features being observed, while stores that demonstrated local ties corresponded to more Southern variants. A statistically significant effect was observed in which women displayed higher rates of the Southern forms. I propose these speech trends are a reflection of attitudes towards identity and culture. These findings are explained within the Labovian perspective of language variation to primary social features.