Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Linguistic Theory and Typology (MALTT)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Dennis Preston


The purpose of this study is to investigate how Mississippi Gulf Coast Creoles perceive language differences in their home area. A pile-sort task was carried out in which respondents were given stacks of cards with local communities written on them and instructed to stack together the regions where people “talk the same.” Once the piles were made, the fieldworker discussed their sortings with the respondents. The stacks were analyzed by means of a hierarchal agglomerative cluster analysis and non-parametric multidimensional scaling with k-means cluster analysis overlays to extract the perceived dialect areas. The groupings reveal that respondent strategies are based on geographical concerns (e.g. distance), linguistic facts, and related ethnic identity beliefs. These areas were also analyzed using qualitative data from the post-pile-sort discussion and revealed the respondent’s attitudes, stances, and presupposed and implicated meanings that aided in the interpretation of their perceptions and attitudes with regard to local language ideology in the region. The results show that there are six perceived dialect areas on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Principal Component Analysis revealed that urban and rural is the biggest differentiation among dialect groups, followed by Frenchness and Southernness.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)