From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Utah English, sometimes humorously referred to as
"Utahnics", is a
dialect of the
English language spoken in the
U.S. state of
Influences are as varied as ancestries of its immigrants, from
Scottish to Mexican Spanish. Since the field of
sociolinguistics is relatively new to academia, very little
research has been done on the dialect. However, a research team
Brigham Young University in
Provo, Utah has begun a comparative project on the topic.
Distinctions of the dialect
- The merger of
making pairs like the following
homophonous (the second word in the pair is pronounced
like the first):
- bowl / bull
- foal / full
- foley / fully
- Folsom / fulsome
- poll, pole / pull
- polar / puller
diphthongization (splitting one sound into two) of
[ɛ] as [ɛɪ]:
"egg" and "leg" are pronounced "ayg" and "layg", "leisure"
and "pleasure" pronounced "layzhur" and "playzhur."
such that "born" may be pronounced "barn" and the town of
"American Fork" becomes "American Fark."
Introduction, removal, and morphing of
stops and plosives
- Introduction of a "T" into certain words: "teacher"
pronounced "teat-chur;" "preacher" as "preat-chur;" other
examples include between the sounds "L" and "S" ("Nelson"
and "Wilson" pronounced as "Neltson" and "Wiltson").
- Shortening of some words from several syllables to one
or two (different from general consonant cluster reduction):
"corral" as "crall", "probably" to "probly" or "prolly."
- the final "T" is frequently voiced as a
glottal stop: "cute" becomes
and "late" becomes
Non-native speakers often have trouble distinguishing
between the local pronunciation of words like "can" and
"can't". The same also applies to the letter "T" in the
middle of a word such as "mountain," "button," or the
Northern Utah town of "Layton;" the "T" is replaced with a
glottal stop (becoming, roughly, "mahw-uhn," "buh-uhn," or
"Lay-uhn"). (This is possibly the most widespread element of
The unique pronunciations of the dialect, as is typical of
American accents, are most marked in the speech of rural and
older residents. Much of the state continues to move towards the
General American accent (due in large part to immigration
and technological/communication advances within the last fifty
years, specifically the ubiquity of the television). More
extreme elements of traditional "Utahnics" are sometimes used
sarcastically by teenagers, in jest of the "older" accent; for
example, "fer cute" or an exaggerated "see-ick" (for "sick") may
be observed, especially among teenage females.
- Rainey, Virginia, (2004) Insiders' Guide: Salt Lake
City (4th ed.), The Globe Pequot Press,
Brigham Young University Linguistics Department Research
BYU "Utah English" Research Team's Homepage
Article about "Utahnics" (social satire)
- "How We Talk: American Regional English Today" by Allan
A. Metcalf, 2000, Houghton Mifflin.
- "Utahnics", segment on
All Things Considered,
National Public Radio February 16, 1997.
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