This article reports on a sociolinguistic study conducted in the summer of 2014 in which I interviewed native southern New Hampshire men and women, aged 18 to 89, listening for rhoticity (r variable) in their speech. I found that speakers younger than 60 years old are now exhibiting fully rhotic speech, which contrasts with the results of earlier studies.Possible motivations for the shift were also examined and compared with more recent studies on the r variable. I found in this study a correlation between the non-rhotic speech of many older speakers and small farming communities. The shift from non-rhotic to rhotic speech is partially related to a convergence with the standard rhotic dialect,heard in the larger communities of the younger generations, along with a divergence from the Boston dialect.

Publication Date

Spring 2015


UNH Undergraduate Research Journal

Journal Title

Inquiry Journal


Sarah Bogart


Dr. Maya Ravindranath


Durham, NH: Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, University of New Hampshire

Document Type