Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Herd, Wendy

Committee Member

Fogle, Evelyn Wright

Committee Member

Pizer, Ginger B.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Though previous research has documented the Southern Vowel Shift (SVS) in Alabama and Tennessee, none has focused on Mississippi. Also, the majority of research has focused on European-Americans. In this study, data was collected from women from northern and central Mississippi, with central residents evenly recruited from urban and rural areas. Of these, 15 were European-American and 19 were African-American. Participants read a word list including target vowels in the b_d frame. F1, F2, and vector length were analyzed to determine to what extent participants exhibited the SVS and Back Vowel Fronting. For the SVS, there were effects such that central residents shifted more than northern, rural residents shifted more than urban, and African-American residents shifted more than European-American. European-American women fronted /u/ and /o/ more than African-American women. These results suggest that African-American women from Mississippi do participate in the SVS but are not fronting their back vowels.