The English spoken in the United States has traditionally been divided into six dialect regions: New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southern, Midland, Northern, and Western. The acoustic properties of American English spoken in the Southern and Northern dialect regions have been the subject of intense research, but the acoustic properties of the Western dialect region have not been analyzed as thoroughly. The umbrella term, Western American English, includes the English spoken in a large geographic area that stretches from Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico to the Pacific coast. Research that has focused on the Western dialect has included participants from several states, which discounts the idea that smaller dialectical differences may exist within the West. This study describes several acoustic properties of American English as it is spoken in the state of Utah. Data collected from target hVd words were used to determine vowel formant frequency patterns using F1 and F2 values of monophthongal and diphthongal vowels, and calculate the vowel space area. Differences in vowel placement and vowel space area were found between the English spoken in Utah and the Northern, Southern, and Midland dialect regions. Similar to characteristics found in Western English, an analysis of the vowel productions in speakers from Utah indicated a fronted /ʊ/, as well as a near merger of /ɑ/ and /ɔ/. However, the analysis also revealed differences in Utah English when compared to the larger Western dialect region. In particular it was found that, unlike descriptions of Western English, Utah English speakers produced /æ/ with a relatively higher F1 than /ɑ/. The vowel space area of Utah English was found to be smaller than the vowel space area of Northern English, but larger than the vowel space area of Southern or Midland speakers.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





Western dialect, Western English, Utah dialect, Utah English, acoustic analysis