Language Of The Rockies: Linguist Seeks Speaking Patterns In Idaho And Utah

A bird's eye view of the Rocky Mountain range in varying shades of blue and grey.
Few studies have been done on the language patterns of the Intermountain Northwest. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


A new study centers on speaking patterns of the Rocky Mountains. (Runtime :59)


Joey Stanley is researching an area that hasn’t exactly been fertile ground for linguists.

“Areas like Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming haven’t really gotten a lot of studies at all,” says Joey Stanley, an assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics at Brigham Young University.

For his study, he put together a list of 200 words for people to read and say. The words were chosen to draw out pronunciation differences.

Stanley says the linguistics research push in the last 50 years has mostly been to study urban areas, rather than the language patterns of the countryside. 

“If you’re in a place like New York, you have no shortage of people to study,” says Stanley. “But if you want to look at speech in rural Idaho, it gets really hard, because it is more resource intensive.”

Stanley is looking for participants. He has developed a study that can be done entirely online, so he’s hoping it will be more accessible. He is looking for people from Idaho, Utah, Montana and Wyoming, and says the study will take about 10 minutes to complete.

Stanley hopes to have results by the end of the summer.

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