Hudson Valley English

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Hudson Valley English
Region Hudson Valley
Native speakers
(no estimate available)
Language codes
ISO 639-3

A spectrum of American English varieties is spoken in the Hudson Valley region of New York State, which, closer to New York City, borrows features of the New York City dialect and, closer to the Great Lakes region, borrows features from the Inland North dialect.[1] The Hudson Valley varieties, otherwise very similar to General American, center around the cities of Albany, Amsterdam, Oneonta, Poughkeepsie, and Schenectady,.[1]


Generally, all consonants and most vowels in the Hudson Valley varieties align to those of the General American accent. However, there are a few notable vowel sounds inherited from the New York City and Inland North dialects.

Like in New York City, the caught vowel of the maintained cot-caught distinction often undergoes raising and diphthongization to [ɔə] or [oə].[2] The much more common of the two Hudson Valley /æ/ (or "short-a") systems documented is a simplified version of the New York City split-/æ/ system found in the core of the Hudson Valley dialect area spanning from New York's northern suburbs to the Capital District. This system splits /æ/ into tense and lax allophones without producing any new phonemes (as is the case in New York City). The tense allophone is used before non-velar voiced stops, voiceless fricatives, and nasals and the lax allophone is used elsewhere. Unlike in New York City, the tense allophone is always used before tensing consonants even in function words and regardless of syllable structure and morpheme boundaries.[3]

The Hudson Valley dialects have not undergone the Inland North's Northern Cities Vowel Shift except for two minimal features: /ɑ/ is fronter than /ʌ/ (as, also, in New York City) and /ɛ/ is typically less than 375 Hz fronter than /ɑ/.[4][page needed] Also, the first and rarer of the Hudson Valley's two documented "short a" systems is a nasal system in which /æ/ is raised to a value approximating [ɛə] or [eə] before nasal consonants that is more common on the Inland North fringe of the Hudson Valley dialectal region.

Unreferenced material[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dinkin, Aaron, J. (2009). "Dialect Boundaries and Phonological Change in Upstate New York (Dissertation Defense Handout)". University of Pennsylvania (self-published online). 
  2. ^ a b Dinkin, Aaron, J. (2010). "The Present-Day Dialectological Status of the Hudson Valley". University of Pennsylvania (self-published online). 
  3. ^ a b Dinkin, Aaron; Friesner, Michael (2009). "Transmission or Diffusion? NYC-like short a in Southeast Florida and the Hudson Valley". University of Pennsylvania (self-published online). 
  4. ^ a b