Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jennifer Pardo

Committee Member

Meredyth Appelbaum

Committee Member

Phoebe Lin


English language--Dialects--Research--New Jersey, English language--New Jersey, Perception


Previous studies have found marked differences among regional dialects amidst both large and small geographic locations. This study expands upon previous work on the perception of dialectical differences between Northern and Southern New Jersey. According to previous research, a major dialect boundary splits New Jersey into the two regions of Northern and Southern New Jersey. These two dialects have been found to be influenced by the New York City and Philadelphia dialects, respectively. In this study, a set of 28 talkers (14 male, 14 female) with an even amount from Northern and Southern New Jersey provided sentence-length speech samples which permitted comparisons of various dialect markers. Listeners were given a task where they were asked to identify if a talker was from Northern or Southern New Jersey based on the listener’s perception of the talker’s dialect. The task included two conditions (4 talkers vs. 12 talkers) and included Recognition, Test, and Generalization phases. Overall, listeners were able to identify dialect region for speech samples when provided with previous exposure to the dialect. Listeners made significantly more correct answers in the 4 talker condition than the 12 talker condition. It was also found that listeners’ scores improved as they progress through the first Recognition and Test phases of the identification task but decreased when performing the Generalization phase. These findings indicate that the subtle and variable differences in the dialect markers for Northern and Southern New Jersey are apprehended by listeners and can affect a listener’s judgment of a talker.

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