English in the Northwest

Join the Study

Purpose of research:

The Pacific Northwest English (PNWE) project explores the extent of English dialect development in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It also documents the stories of families with deep roots in the Pacific Northwest region.

Ready to Begin?


The story of the Pacific Northwest is one of constant settlement and immigration. Although a few pockets of historically-isolated communities can be found, most people in the Pacific Northwest live in places where our voices intermingle with people of different backgrounds. Today, two hundred years after Lewis and Clark's historic voyage to the Pacific coast, has the Northwest been established long enough to have unique dialect features? or, Has the history of ongoing settlement made the Pacific Northwest the truest of American melting-pots? How much have Native Americans, Scandanavians, African-Americans, Asians, East-coast Americans, and other groups impacted the speech of this region?

Who we are looking for:

  • Speakers of American English born and raised in the Pacific Northwest between 1900 and 1985.
  • We particularly seek speakers of African-American, Japanese-American, Hispanic– American and Yakama background.
  • No known speech or hearing disorders

What to expect:

  • You will take part in a tape-recorded interview.
  • In the interview, you will be asked to read from a list of words, read a brief story, and then answer some simple questions. You will then be asked about your family’s history in, or experience of, the Pacific Northwest.
  • All the information collected about you will remain confidential.

Two ways to participate:

  • Electronically – If you have an internet connection you may participate in the study over your telephone with materials you access online.
  • It’s in the mail – we will send all project materials to an address you specify. You then phone to begin the interview or to set up an appointment when we can call you back for the recording.


I’d like to read more about the study.
Read the consent form.

Questions about the study?

  • Send us email
  • Call us at (206) 543-4647
Schedule an interview time. You will be asked to specify a time when we can call you for an interview and indicate how you would like to receive the reading material.

Schedule and interview

Coming in Fall, 2013: The Perception Study. Please check back in November, 2013.