Test Cover Image of:  The Atlas of North American English

The Atlas of North American English

Phonetics, Phonology and Sound Change

"Choice" Outstanding Academic Title 2006!

Winner of the Leonard Bloomfield Book Award

The Atlas of North American English provides the first overall view of the pronunciation and vowel systems of the dialects of the U.S. and Canada. The Atlas re-defines the regional dialects of American English on the basis of sound changes active in the 1990s and draws new boundaries reflecting those changes. It is based on a telephone survey of 762 local speakers, representing all the urbanized areas of North America. It has been developed by Bill Labov, one of the leading sociolinguists of the world, together with his colleagues Sharon Ash and Charles Boberg.

The Atlas consists of a printed volume accompanied by an interactive CD-ROM. The print and multimedia content is also available online.

Combined Edition: Book and Multimedia CD-ROM

The book contains

  • 23 chapters that re-define the geographic boundaries of North American dialects and trace the influence of gender, age, education, and city size on the progress of sound change;
  • findings that show a dramatic and increasing divergence of English in North America;
  • 139 four color maps that illustrate the regional distribution of phonological and phonetic variables across the North American continent;
  • 120 four color vowel charts of individual speakers.

The multimedia CD-ROM supplements the articles and maps by providing

  • a data base with measurements of more than 100,000 vowels and mean values for 439 speakers;
  • the Plotnik program for mapping each of the individual vowel systems;
  • extended sound samples of all North American dialects;
  • multimedia applications to enhance classroom presentations.

Online Version: Book  and CD-ROM content plus additional data

The online version comprises the contents of the book and the multimedia CD-ROM along with additional data. It  

  • presents a wider selection of data, maps, and audio samples that will be recurrently updated;
  • proffers simultaneous access to the information contained in the book and on the multimedia CD-ROM to all users in the university/library network;
  • provides students with easy access to research material for classroom assignments.

For more information, please contact Mouton de Gruyter: customerservice@degruyter.com

System Requirements for CD-ROM and Online Version

Windows PC: Pentium PC, Windows 9x, NT, or XP, at least 16MB RAM, CD-ROM Drive, 16 Bit Soundcard, SVGA (600 x 800 resolution)

Apple MAC: OS 6 or higher, 16 Bit Soundcard, at least 16MB RAM

Supported Browsers: Internet Explorer, 5.5 or 6 (Mac OS: Internet Explorer 5.1)/Netscape 7.x or higher/Mozilla 1.0 or higher/Mozilla Firefox 1.0 or higher

PlugIns: Macromedia Flash Player 6/Acrobat Reader

Author Information

William Labov and Sharon Ash, University of Pennsylvania, USA; Charles Boberg,   McGill University, Montréal, Canada..


"ANAE is very much a standalone piece. [...] But such splendid isolation is the privilege of the giants of a discipline, and giants in the world of scholarship is definitley what the authors of this volume are. This is a landmark study, a unique reference point of dialectological scholarship for decades to come and an inspiration for generations of linguistics."
Edgar W. Schneider in: English World-Wide 1/2008

"The ANAE is a massive collection of dialect data and an unprecedented accomplishment in North American English dialectology."
Joshua Wilbur in: English Language and Linguistics 1/2007

"ANAE is a landmark study that will shape research trends for years to come."
Matthew J. Gordon in: Linguist List 17.2299

Coverage in the press:

“Talking the Tawk” The New Yorker

“Sound Decision: New Atlas Divides the US by Dialect” The Chicago Tribune and CubaNow.net

“Continental Drift” The Pennsylvania Gazette

“Is there a Rocky Mountain Accent?” New West

“North American Dialects” National Geographic

“Mayor’s Accent Deserts Boston for New York” New York Times

“It’s not the Sights, it’s the Sounds” New York Times

“Mapping North American English” Associated Press

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Audience: Sociolinguists; Dialectologists; Phonologists; Grammarians; Typologists; Geo-Linguists; Linguists specializing in American and/or English Studies; Institutes; Academic Libraries