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Abstract

Previous studies of border regions have characterized linguistic divergence as a natural consequence of the social psychological and cognitive processes speakers apply in constructing their conceptualizations of the border and those on the other side (Auer 2005). For the border shared by Canada and the United States, in particular, Boberg (2000) highlights a resistance to the diffusion of sound change across the national border. While providing some valid descriptions, these assessments neglect the multi-faceted social function of language to both unite and distinguish speakers and social groups. They also ignore the potentially important role of cultural affinity and regional solidarity spanning a national border. As Irvine & Gal (2000) explain, ideological processes that serve to project contrasts occur recursively and simultaneously with processes that ideologically erase other contrasts at different levels of the system. These ideological processes have consequences for linguistic structure and for sound change. With its strong regional solidarity spanning the U.S.-Canadian border and lack of previous trans-border comparisons in the region, the Pacific Northwest is an ideal site to examine the effects of these ideological processes.

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