Do you “park your car” or “pahk your cah": Student Research Published in UNH's Inquiry Journal
This article reports on a sociolinguistic study conducted in the summer of 2014 in which linguistics major Melanie Platt interviewed native southern New Hampshire men and women, aged 18 to 89, listening for rhoticity (r variable) in their speech. She found that speakers younger than 60 years old are now exhibiting fully rhotic speech, which contrasts with the results of earlier studies. Possible motivations for the shift were also examined and compared with more recent studies on the r variable. She found in this study a correlation between the non-rhotic speech of many older speakers and small farming communities. The shift from non-rhotic to rhotic speech is partially related to a convergence with the standard rhotic dialect, heard in the larger communities of the younger generations, along with a divergence from the Boston dialect.