Dramatic demographic changes are rapidly reshaping the population of the United States in ways that make the research questions that motivated twentieth-century dialectology outmoded. This paper outlines some of the most important demographic changes currently affecting the United States and suggests some research questions that are implicit in those developments. While twentieth-century dialectology was driven by questions regarding the sociospatial structure of the Founder Dialects and their relationships to settlement history and British regional varieties, twenty-first-century dialectology must examine the linguistic consequences of newly emerging demographic divisions, the consequences of widespread urbanization, and the relationships between Anglo dialects and a rapidly growing non-Anglo population. These questions require some fundamental changes in how we do dialectology, but they also position the discipline in a way that will enable it to address fundamental social and educational issues that stand at the center of the intellectual life of the twenty-first century.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 227-249
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2005
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