The Mascot Effect 2: Social Factors Influencing Pronunciation of Coyote
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The purpose of this project is to build upon previous findings that suggest that a university mascot with varying pronunciations (NDSU Bi/z/on vs. Bi/s/on) contributes to establishing and maintaining a sense of local identity through specific sound features (in NDSU's case, does the middle consonant sound like a z or an s). This project, a field study in sociolinguistics, investigates a similar phenomenon at the University of South Dakota, whose “Coyotes” may encode group identity based on whether or not the final syllable of the word representing the school mascot is pronounced. In addition to demonstrating “the mascot effect” at USD, this project explores the story of the word coyote, and how social factors may have shaped its use.