This website describes the ”Seattle to Spokane: Mapping English in Washington State” project. It is intended for linguists and non-linguists alike.

This research explores people’s perceptions of how English is spoken in Washington State. We asked long-time residents to draw on a map where they think people speak differently around Washington. Some people think everyone in WA sounds the same while others think there are different kinds of English spoken in Washington.

It might seem like a funny question to ask but, in fact, we can learn a lot about language when we ask people who aren’t linguists questions about their language. This sort of research falls in a category of Linguistics called ‘folk linguistics’. Similar research on speakers’ perceptions about regional differences of their language has been conducted in many different places such as the USA (e.g. Preston 1999, Benson 2003), the UK (Montgomery 2007) France (e.g. Kuiper 1999), Japan (e.g. Sibata 1999, Mase 1999, Long 2002), and the Netherlands (e.g. Rensink 1999, Weijnen 1946). In addition to linguistic information such as speakers’ sensitivity to variation, we can learn about speakers’cultural beliefs about language and space.

* Read the UW Today article about the project.
* View a PDF of the powerpoint presentation for NWAV 2010: Evans_Seattle_to_Spokane_NWAV_2010.pdf
* View a PDF of the powerpoint presentation for the 2012 American Dialect Society meeting: American Dialect Society presentation.pdf