Oklahoma English

How do Oklahomans sound? 

Oklahoma accents are a mix of Southern and Midwestern features. This project looks at "Oklahomish" from several sociolinguistic and phonetic angles: vowel pronunciations, country accents, rootedness (local pride), attitudes, change over time... 

Project timeline:

  • 2022: Molly Landers completes her master's thesis examining how local pride or "hometown rootedness" might predict prelateral pronunciations.
  • 2020: Prelateral merger results: Over 100 Oklahomans recorded themselves reading words and stories during the pandemic. Turns out, many pronounce words such as "dull, hull, gull, cull" more like "dole, hole, goal, coal," and words such as "pull, full, bull" like "pole, foal, bowl" or even "pool, fool, spool."  It looks like there might be an urban/rural difference, with city folk avoiding the "pool, fool, spool" options, but there's too much variation for that to be the whole story.
  • 2019: Senior Zoe Haddad finishes her honors thesis on how employers react to the Southern features of Oklahoman accents (more negatively to pronunciations that stand out as Southern, like pronouncing "time" like "Tom," but no effect for those that people tend not to notice, like pronouncing "pen" like "pin").
  • 2019: How do Oklahomans perceive Oklahoman accents? When Oklahomans read a short story naturally, other Oklahomans said they sounded educated and somewhat Midwestern; when they read the story in Southern or "country" accents, listeners thought they sounded Southern, "country," and somewhat "hick/redneck," but both accents were "somewhat" Oklahoman. Conclusion (for now): Both Midwestern and Southern accents are equally Oklahoman (but let's call it Country, not Southern). 

Papers & Presentations (*student authors):

Past recruitments (currently closed for new participants):

Related work: 



Student Corner

  • See the Student Corner from each Past Recruitment and Related Work link above for descriptions of available data and ideas for new projects.
  • What else interests you about Oklahoman English?