Intonational variation and change in York English

Sam Hellmuth, Ciara Farrelly

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The variety of English spoken in the city of York, UK, is of sociolinguistic interest due to the ‘recycling’ of traditional dialectal forms such as Definite Article Reduction (‘to t’pub’) and Past-Reference ‘come’ (‘I come home late last night’) by younger (typically male) speakers. This is despite the fact that – in the same apparent time studies based on the York English Corpus (‘YEC’) – middle-aged speakers (aged 50-70) used these forms less than older speakers (>70), so these patterns had previously appeared to be falling out of use. In this paper we first argue for the existence of a distinctive ‘Yorkshire rise-fall’ nuclear contour, which is sufficiently different in form and distribution from rise-fall contours reported for other varieties of British English that it can be characterised as a traditional (prosodic) feature of Yorkshire dialects. We then explore whether the observed patterns of variation in lexical-grammatical variables are mirrored in variation and change in use of this distinctive Yorkshire rise-fall nuclear contour, in apparent time, via qualitative analysis of a data subset from YEC.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Sept 2021
Event1st International Conference on Tone and Intonation (TAI) 2021 - University of Southern Denmark (SDU) , Sonderborg, Denmark
Duration: 6 Dec 20219 Dec 2021


Conference1st International Conference on Tone and Intonation (TAI) 2021
Abbreviated titleTAI2021
Internet address

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