MI Diaries

The MI Diaries project has been documenting life and language in Michigan since April 2020. Participants record regular “audio diaries” on their mobile devices using our custom app, in response to weekly prompts. Collectively, the recordings constitute a novel genre for analysis, and they form a longitudinal database of Michigan (English) speech from participants across a range of ages and walks of life. Faculty and students in the Sociolinguistics Lab are using the data for a variety of phonetic, lexical, discourse-pragmatic and other studies. 

Supported by National Science Foundation BCS 2119975 (PI:Sneller, co-PI: Wagner), National Endowment for the Humanities HAA-284835-22 (PI: Sneller), MSU Humanities Arts Research Program (Sneller).

MI Diaries logo. A green square. Centered in white on the square is a large capital M. On the right of the MI is a white microphone icon. The microphone has a little tail like a speech bubble.

Sample publications

Great Lakes Speech and Society

This is our umbrella name for the lab’s ongoing efforts to examines variation and change in the language of people in the Great Lakes region. Our focus thus far has been on English, and especially sound change. 

The vowel system in this geographic area emerged from a series of sound changes known as the Northern Cities Shift. Today, the system is undergoing further change. We have been compiling recordings of longtime residents from public oral histories and sociolinguistic interiews. More recently we’ve been able to look at recordings from the MI Diaries project. We’ve also conducted some preliminary research on listeners’ evaluation of Great Lakes speech. 

A dark blue silhouette of the state of Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula.

Sample publications