mgr Mateusz Rogalski
The topic of my dissertation is “Southwestern New England English: An Historical and Modern New England Dialect”.
The principal aim of the researcher’s work is to investigate and define the contemporary status of Southwestern New England English against the broader spectrum of regional dialects located in the Northeastern United States. This is accomplished through linguistic fieldwork conducted both within SWNE – i.e. the region surrounding central Connecticut and western Massachusetts – as well as in the neighboring regions of New England and New York. In order to obtain reliable data on both regional phonological and lexical variables, fieldwork participants are requested to provide demographic information, identify various images, read from a word list and short texts, as well as offer free-speech. Therefore, the study combines both spontaneous speech and carefully-selected phonological tokens for analysis. The studies of American dialectology and sociolinguistics provide the dominate research tools utilized in understanding this modern dialect, whilst a diachronic approach to the interpretation of fieldwork aids final conclusions. In selecting an area of investigation, the current dissertation identifies the lack of systematic research on SWNE English in the decades following Hans Kurath’s seminal research of the 1930s on New England dialect geography. Moreover and despite this deficiency, there are researchers who identify the region as a subgroup of the Inland North – i.e. the dialect region spanning from Upstate New York to include all major American cities along the Great Lakes. Upon the successful completion of fieldwork, the study aims to restore SWNE English to the map of American dialect geography as an integral member of the New England dialect group opposed to that of the Inland North.
Previously completed undergraduate and graduate research has included diachronic approaches to the Meriden speech community of New Haven County, Connecticut, SWNE, as well as Polonisms, or Polish lexical borrowings, in American English. These earlier studies utilized a comprehensive questionnaire on regional phonology and lexicon in order to provide the groundwork for the present project.