Mapping Phonetic Difference in the American South



As the culmination of her time at UGA, Leah Dudley is graduating this semester with a BA in Linguistics and a certificate in Digital Humanities. Her CURO project focuses on analyzing a corpus of southern speech for her work in “Mapping Phonetic Variation in the American South.”

“The southeast region of the United States is arguably the most dialectally diverse area in the country. Though some would generalize that everyone from this region has a ‘Southern accent’, in reality these states are filled with smaller subsets of distinct and diverse regional dialects,” explains Dudley.  “As the south has an interesting history of both an agrarian economy and stratified settlement by different social groups, there is a strong possibility that these different regions developed different phonetic formants for certain vowels.” To further investigate the changes in vowels Dudley utilized the Digital Archive of Southern Speech (DASS) corpus, the largest corpus of Southern speech and analyzed the results using Digital Humanities tools, most notably RStudio and ArcGIS, to find dialectal trends in different regions of the South.

Watch her full presentation.

Dudley has been a great addition to our interdisciplinary DH classes which have influenced her thinking on analysis for her final project. She has also brought insight and productive conversation to our DH reading group.

We wish her all the best in the future and we’ve loved working with her!