How has the Egton accent developed over the past 30 years? The aim of this thesis is to analyse tokens from seven lexical sets, TRAP, BATH, START, FOOT, STRUT, FACE and GOAT in order to compare the findings with the results of earlier research in the same accent. The present study uses as starting point a study carried out by Hans Tidholm (Tidholm 1979) in the village of Egton in the Esk Valley in the late 1970’s. The selection of features for further investigation in the present study was based on Tidholm’s predictions on how the same features would stand the test of time.
13 informants in two age groups were interviewed for the present study, and the recordings were investigated using auditory and acoustic analysis. The development in the Egton accent and in the approach to studies of language variation and change are discussed in light of the changes in the science of sociolinguistics since the time of Tidholm’s study, pointing out some of the challenges associated with this type of trend study.
The results show that there is large variation both in single speakers’ pronunciations of words belonging to the same lexical sets, and between the different speakers’ phonetic realisations of these sets. The findings from this study show that Tidholm seems to have been right about the direction of change for some of these features, while the development in other features may have changed direction, stopped or even reversed.