This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Social and Linguistic Conditioning of the Sociolinguistic Variable (ai) among Textile Mill Workers of Columbus, Georgia, and Southeast Alabama




Topping, Elizabeth

Type of Degree





The purpose of this study is to examine the the social and linguistic conditioning as well as the frequency of the sociolinguistic variable (ai) among a group of European-American textile mill workers born in Columbus, Georgia, and Southeastern Alabama between 1896 and 1935. Fifteen interviews are transcribed with each possible instance of (ai) coded for the relevant external factor groups of birthplace, birthdate, and gender as well as the internal factor groups of following phonological environment, word frequency, word class, and word stress. Multivariate, bivariate, and univariate analyses conducted using JMP 8.0.1 identify the significantly conditioning factor groups on production of the monophthong in this corpus. Six analyses are conducted. In the final analysis, only birthplace, gender, and following phonological environment significantly condition production of the monophthong. Tokens of I and containing the roots like and right are excluded and analyzed separately because they affect results. Overall, the speakers included in this study produce the monophthong at a very high rate. The analysis conducted after exclusion of the tokens of I lowers this rate from 92.60 percent to 89.38 percent, but further analysis after excluding tokens containing the roots like and right confirms the initial finding. The final logistic regression indicates that the speakers in this study produce the monophthong at a rate of 94.71 percent.