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California English (or Californian, Californian English) is a dialect of the English language spoken in California. California is home to a highly diverse population, which is reflected in the historical and continuing development of California English.
English was first spoken on a wide scale in the area now known as California following the influx of English-speaking Whites from the United States (and also Canada and Europe) during the California Gold Rush. The English-speaking population grew rapidly with further settlement, which included large populations from the Northeast, South and the Midwest. The dialects brought by these pioneers were the basis for the development of the modern language: a mixture of settlers from the Midwest and the Border South produced the rural dialect of Northern California, whereas settlers from the Lower Midwest and the South, (especially Missouri and Texas), produced the rural dialect of Southern California.
Before World War I, the variety of speech types reflected the differing origins of these early inhabitants. At the time a distinctly Southwestern drawl could be heard in Southern California. When a collapse in commodity prices followed World War I, many bankrupted Midwestern farmers migrated to California from Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa contributing to a new homogenized speech in urban sprawl, where teachers banned "ain't," 'awl' in favor of oyill (oil), and "I'll" in favor of ayill in grammar schools. Subsequently, incoming groups with differing speech, such as the speakers of Highland Southern during the 1930s, have been absorbed within a generation. The Dust bowl migration of the so-called Okies re-introduced a purer Southwestern accent to the West Coast in the 1920s and 30s before the migration ended in World War II.
California's status as a relatively young state is significant in that it has not had centuries for regional patterns to emerge and grow (compared to, say, some East Coast or Southern dialects). Linguists who studied English as spoken in California before and in the period immediately after World War II tended to find few if any distinct patterns unique to the region. However, several decades later, with a more settled population and continued immigration from all over the globe, a noteworthy set of emerging characteristics of California English had begun to attract notice by linguists of the late 20th century and on.
As a variety of American English, California English is similar to most other forms of American speech in being a rhotic accent, which is historically a significant marker in differentiating different English varieties. The following vowel diagram represents the relative positions of the stressed monophthongs of the accent, based on nine speakers from southern California. Notable is the absence of /ɔ/, which has merged with /ɑ/ through the cot–caught merger, and the relatively open quality of /ɪ/ due to the California vowel shift discussed below.
Several phonological processes have been identified as being particular to California English. However, these shifts are by no means universal in Californian speech, and any single Californian's speech may only have some or none of the changes identified below. The shifts might also be found in the speech of people from areas outside of California.
- Front vowels are raised before /ŋ/, so that /æ/ and /ɪ/ are raised to [e] and [i] before /ŋ/. This change makes for minimal pairs such as king and keen, both having the same vowel [i], differing from king [kɪŋ] in other varieties of English. Similarly, a word like rang will often have the same vowel as rain in California English, not the same vowel as ran as in other varieties. This raising is also found in the American Southeast.
- The vowels in words such as Mary, marry, merry are merged to [ɛ]. This merging is also found in southeast England and in the American Southeast.
- Most speakers do not distinguish between /ɔ/ and /ɑ/, characteristic of the cot–caught merger. A notable exception may be found within the San Francisco Bay Area, many of whose inhabitants' speech somewhat reflects influence of new arrivals from the Northeast.
- According to a phonetician studying California English, Penelope Eckert, traditionally diphthongal vowels such as /oʊ/ as in boat and /eɪ/, as in bait, have acquired qualities much closer to monophthongs in speakers, similar to the American Southeast.
- The pin–pen merger is complete in and around Kern County and northern Los Angeles County; speakers in Sacramento either perceive or produce the pairs /ɛn/ and /ɪn/ close to each other.
- Speakers in the Greater Los Angeles area often quickly slur vowel sounds, making certain syllables sound longer and flow closer.
One topic that has begun to receive much attention among scholars in recent years has been the emergence of a vowel shift unique to California. Much like other vowel shifts occurring in North America, such as the Southern Shift, Northern Cities Shift, and the Canadian Shift, the California Vowel Shift is noted for a systematic chain shift of several vowels.
This image on the right illustrates the California vowel shift. The vowel space of the image is a cross-section (as if looking at the interior of a mouth from a side profile perspective); it is a rough approximation of the space in a human mouth where the tongue is located in articulating certain vowel sounds (the left is the front of the mouth closer to the teeth, the right side of the chart being the back of the mouth). As with other vowel shifts, several vowels may be seen moving in a chain shift around the mouth. As one vowel encroaches upon the space of another, the adjacent vowel in turn experiences a movement in order to maximize phonemic differentiation.
Two phonemes, /ɪ/ and /æ/, have allophones that are fairly widely spread apart from each other: before /ŋ/, /ɪ/ is raised to [i] and, as mentioned above, may even be identified with the phoneme /i/. In other contexts, /ɪ/ has a fairly open pronunciation, as indicated in the vowel chart above. /æ/ is raised and diphthongized to [eə] or [ɪə] before nasal consonants (a shift reminiscent of, but more restricted than, non-phonemic æ-tensing in the Inland North); before /ŋ/ it may be identified with the phoneme /e/. Elsewhere /æ/ is lowered in the direction of [a]. The other parts of the chain shift are apparently context-free: /ʊ/ is moving towards [ʌ], /ʌ/ towards [ɛ], /ɛ/ toward [æ], /ɑ/ toward [ɔ], and /u/ and /oʊ/ are diphthongs whose nuclei are moving toward [i] and [e] respectively.
Unlike some of the other vowel shifts, however, the California Shift Theory would represent the earlier stages of development as compared to the more widespread Northern Cities and Southern Shifts, although the new vowel characteristics of the California Shift are increasingly found among younger speakers. As with many vowel shifts, these significant changes occurring in the spoken language are rarely noticed by average speakers; imitation of peers and other sociolinguistic phenomena play a large part in determining the extent of the vowel shift in a particular speaker. For example, while some characteristics such as the close central rounded vowel [ʉ] or close back unrounded vowel [ɯ] for /u/ are widespread in Californian speech, the same high degree of fronting for /oʊ/ is common only within certain social groups.
Older native Californians tend to pronounce the suffixes -ive (motive) and -age (message) as [iːv] and [iːdʒ], respectively.
The southern Central Valley (Kern, Tulare, and Kings Counties), is the last large rural (but not desert) region in Southern California and maintains many of the original dialect distinctive of Southern California as a part of the American Southwest, including the pin-pen merger, a single phoneme in contrast to the nasal diphthong /ãɪ/ of the U.S. Northeast, respectable use of "ain't" and "yes ma'am." This is distinct from the fast-talking homogenized speech common to the very large cities of Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and in cities throughout English-speaking America.
Many rural white Californians speak with a western Oklahoma-like drawl that is quite distinct from the high-pitched, fast-talking of city folk in coastal Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay region. Currently, it is often assumed that the Central Valley's holdout of Southwestern speech and culture (such as rodeos) was strengthened by people from western Oklahoma who emigrated during the Dust Bowl. But no documentation of change of the dialect before and after the arrival of the "Okies" is submitted. Rather, rural Southern California was already populated long before, by descendants of settlers who came to California in the Southwest from different regions of the Southeast, fully explaining the speech patterns of rural Southern California as native and entrenched.
The popular image of a typical California speaker often conjures up images of the so-called Valley girls popularized by the 1982 hit song by Frank and Moon Unit Zappa, or "surfer-dude" speech made famous by movies such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High. While many phrases found in these extreme versions of California English from the 1980s may now be considered passé, certain words such as awesome, totally, fer sure, harsh, gnarly, and dude have remained popular in California and have spread to a national, even international, level. The use of the word like for numerous grammatical functions or as conversational "filler" (e.g. in place of thinking sounds "uh" and "um") has also remained popular in California English and is now found in many other varieties of English.
A common example of a Northern Californian colloquialism is hella (from "hell of a (lot of)", rare euphemistic alternative, hecka) to mean "many", "much", "so" or "very". It can be used with both count and mass nouns. For example: "I haven't seen you in hella days"; "There were hella people there"; or "This guacamole is hella good." Pop culture references to "hella" are common, as in the song "Hella Good" by the band No Doubt, which hails from Southern California, and "Hella" by the band Skull Stomp, who come from Northern California.
California, like other Southwestern states, has borrowed many words from Spanish, especially for place names, food, and other cultural items, reflecting the heritage of the Californios. High concentrations of various ethnic groups throughout the state have contributed to general familiarity with words describing (especially cultural) phenomena. For example, a high concentration of Asian Americans from various cultural backgrounds, especially in urban and suburban metropolitan areas in California, has led to the adoption of words like hapa (itself originally a Hawaiian borrowing of English "half"). A person who was hapa was either part European/Islander or part Asian/Islander. Today it refers to a person of mixed racial heritage—especially, but not limited to, half-Asian/half-European-Americans in common California usage) and FOB ("fresh off the boat", often a newly arrived Asian immigrant). Not surprisingly, the popularity of cultural food items such as Vietnamese phở and Taiwanese boba in many areas has led to the general adoption of such words amongst many speakers.
Since the 1950s and 1960s, California culture (and thus its variety of English) has been significantly affected by "car culture," that is, dependence on private automobile transportation and the effects thereof.
One difference between California and most of the rest of the United States has been the way California English speakers refer to highways, or freeways. The term freeway itself was originally not used in many areas outside California; for instance, in New England, the term highway is universally used. Where most Americans may refer to "I-80" for the east-west Interstate Highway leading from San Francisco to the suburbs of Oakland or "I-15" for the north-south artery linking San Diego through Salt Lake City to the Canadian border, Californians—especially Southern Californians—are less likely to use the "I." Northern and Southern Californians alike are even less likely to use the "interstate" designation in naming freeways.
The numbering of freeway exits, common in most parts of the United States, has only recently been applied in California and initially appearing only in more populous areas. Thus, virtually all Californians refer to exits by signage name rather than by number, as in "the Grand Avenue exit" (in Los Angeles) rather than "Exit 21."
- Northern California
- Northern Californians will typically say "80," "I-80," "Business 80," or "101" ("one-oh-one") to refer to freeways. Some long-time San Francisco Bay Area residents and many traffic report broadcasts still refer to such highways by name and not number designation: "Bayshore" for Highway 101, or "the Nimitz" for I-880, the portion of the Eastshore Freeway which was named for Admiral Chester Nimitz, a prominent World War II hero with strong local ties. State Route 1 is called "Highway 1" or simply "One" (that is, "take One down the coast"). Differentiation among freeways is generally determined, by stating East to West, or North to South. Because the major freeways go either north to south (odd numbered, e.g. 101 or I-5) or east to west (even numbered, e.g. 74 or 80), it's only necessary to differentiate between those two directions, except for shorter, intrastate freeways.
- Southern California
- In the Greater Los Angeles area (Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, and the Inland Empire) and San Diego, freeways are referred to either by name or by route number (perhaps with a direction suffix), but with the addition of the definite article "the," such as "the 405 North" or "the 605 (Freeway)". This is in contrast to typical Northern California usage, which omits the definite article.
- There is no road named the "Los Angeles Freeway"; instead, each freeway which radiates from Downtown Los Angeles is named for its nominal terminus in some other city, such as Santa Monica, Pomona or San Bernardino. News reports will occasionally refer to the Santa Monica and Santa Ana freeways as such; however, residents will rarely refer to the 405 freeway as the San Diego Freeway (other than on street signs). The majority of natives stick to calling the freeways by "The" + (Freeway number).
- Conversely, the older state highways are generally called not by their numbers but by their names, as used on signage and in postal addresses. For example, in Southern California, State Route 1 is called the Pacific Coast Highway and is often referred to as "the PCH".
- Southern Californians often refer to the lanes of a multi-lane divided highway by number, "The Number 1 Lane" (also referred to as "The Fast Lane") is the lane farthest to the left (not counting the carpool lane), with the lane numbers going up sequentially to the right until the far right lane, which is usually referred to as "The Slow Lane." In areas outside of Los Angeles, where three and occasionally two lane freeways are more common, the lanes are simply the "fast lane," "middle lane" and "slow lane."
- The distribution of these contrasting nomenclatures is irregular, and indicate the extent of integration with the Greater Los Angeles economic sphere of influence. Along Highway 101, the shift occurs at the Santa Ynez Mountains, so that residents of Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County speak of "the 101," but residents of the southernmost parts of Monterey County call the same freeway "101" (although some residents also say "the 101," since there are both people from North and Southern California living here.) Along Interstate 5, this border is less clear. Residents of Bakersfield, over the San Gabriel Mountains from Los Angeles, speak of "the Five" and "the 99", but this use is notably absent in Fresno. Towns in the Mojave Desert tend to use the "the" at least as far as Las Vegas; Las Vegas has notable historic ties to the Los Angeles area, given that as much as 25% of visitors to Las Vegas are from Southern California. Residents of San Diego, the Imperial Valley, and Phoenix, Arizona follow Southern California usage as well.
Urban geographical nomenclature
In referring to neighborhoods and districts within San Francisco or Los Angeles, residents' typical usage runs counter to freeway nomenclature. In San Francisco one hears of the Mission, the Castro or the Haight-Ashbury; but in Los Angeles, the article is omitted in similar contexts, for example Los Feliz, Sawtelle, and Pico Union.
A common expression amongst residents of the San Francisco Bay Area is to refer to the city of San Francisco itself as simply "The City". Some Mexican Spanish-speakers refer to it as "San Pancho" because Pancho is a nickname for the Spanish name Francisco. Similarly, the city of South San Francisco in San Mateo County and thus not a part of the city and county of San Francisco, is sometimes referred to as "South City", especially within the San Francisco Examiner.
The metro region often referred to as the Bay Area includes San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, Sonoma, Solano and Napa counties.
The San Francisco Bay Area is commonly referred to as "the Bay Area" or sometimes simply as "The Bay". The Bay Area is sub-divided into several regions:
- "The City" or simply "SF" refers to San Francisco proper.
- The "North Bay" encompasses Marin County, Napa County, Sonoma County and Solano County.
- The "South Bay" encompasses the cities of the Santa Clara Valley, including San Jose, and can refer to all of Santa Clara County, as far south as Gilroy and sometimes Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. Mountain View, home of Google, is undeniably part of Silicon Valley, but northwestern parts seem to be more integrated with Palo Alto.
- The "East Bay" extends inland from the eastern shores of the San Francisco Bay and includes Alameda and Contra Costa counties. East Bay cities include Oakland, Berkeley, Concord, Walnut Creek, Fremont, Richmond, Hayward, and San Leandro. Cities on the Bay side of the East Bay Hills are sometimes referred to as the "Near East Bay", and historically, inland cities along the I-680 corridor have been referred to as the "Far East Bay". The definition of this term has been muddied in recent years as suburban sprawl from the Bay Area spilled into the Central Valley, adding a distinct third subregion to the East Bay.
- Some residents in the San Joaquin County area refer the area as the "209", the county's area code.
- "The Peninsula" refers to the San Francisco Peninsula south of the City of San Francisco, encompassing the cities in San Mateo County, including Daly City, San Mateo, Redwood City and Menlo Park, as well as Palo Alto (in Santa Clara County). It is virtually never referred to as the "West Bay". Palo Alto is considered "on the Peninsula", which despite being in Santa Clara County has long historical ties with the Peninsula (especially with Menlo Park); for example, Jane Lathrop Stanford kept a personal waiting room at the Menlo Park train station, despite the Stanford estate's proximity to Palo Alto.
- "Oakland" is often called "Oaktown" by its African American residents, colloquially. The sobriquet also is found as part of small local merchandise and service businesses. The popular rise of medical marijuana cultivation and marketing spawned the introduction of "Oaksterdam", a portmanteau of Oakland and Amsterdam. (If Oakland had been named, like San Francisco and San Jose, according to its Spanish name, it would have been called Las Encinas [ The Oaks ].)
- "Fresno" are somewhat disparagingly combined with '-town' and '-burg'/'-berg' colloquially. Fresno:Fresburg, Sacramento:Sactown, Bakersfield:Bakersberg, etc. Only "Oaktown" is held in relatively high esteem by its own Oakland residents.
The term "Frisco" is rarely used by San Francisco Bay Area residents, much as "The Big Apple" is not typically used by native New Yorkers. However, though well-known newspaper columnist Herb Caen once harshly criticized the use of the term "Frisco," he later recanted, and the term continues to be used. Still, the term "Frisco" continues to be viewed by many as either revealing ignorance, or as vaguely derogatory. Emperor Norton, a colorful 19th century inhabitant of San Francisco, once issued a proclamation about the City's nickname:
|“||Whoever after due and proper warning shall be heard to utter the abominable word "Frisco", which has no linguistic or other warrant, shall be deemed guilty of a High Misdemeanor, and shall pay into the Imperial Treasury as penalty the sum of twenty-five dollars.||”|
In 1918 in his courtroom, a San Francisco judge rebuked a Los Angeles resident's use of the nickname "Frisco" by saying "No one refers to San Francisco by that title except people from Los Angeles." Decades later, San Francisco columnist Herb Caen renewed the drive to keep "Frisco" out of San Francisco.
Herb Caen pointed out in his column that some residents of Los Angeles refer to San Francisco as "Toytown".
Santa Rosa, notorious for its lackluster malls, is often referred to as Rosa, Srosa or simply rantasosa.
Some Northern Californians refer to Sacramento, the state capital, as "Sac", "Sacto", "Sactown", "Smacktown", "Sacmenistan", "Swagramento", "Sacra" (by the Chicano community), "Sacratomato" (for the local tomato canning industry) and various other nicknames.
Bay Area and Sacramento residents speak of going "up the hill" into the neighboring mountains to Lake Tahoe or Reno, Nevada, but "over the hill" for crossing the Santa Cruz Mountains, either to Santa Cruz or Half Moon Bay. By the same token, those living in the Foothills will speak of going "down the hill" when traveling into the Sacramento area. In the Sacramento area, "the Valley" refers to the Central Valley. Also residents of West Marin will call the San Geronimo Valley as "the valley and Mount Tamalpais "the hill", as in you're from "the valley" or I'm going "over the hill". Additionally, residents of the Bay Area will sometimes refer to the area of the Santa Clara Valley and surrounding cities as "the Valley" or as the more famous term, "Silicon Valley". Residents of Santa Cruz use the phrase "over the hill" to refer to Silicon Valley (which is often referred to by Santa Cruz "locals" as "The Pit"), but for them "the Bay" refers to closer Monterey Bay, not San Francisco Bay.
Southern California has many distinctive accents and dialects; these often reflect the geographic origins of the people who came there. Bakersfield English and the "Valley Girl" dialect of the San Fernando Valley have their roots in the Ozark English of Arkansas and Missouri, and first developed when many people from the Ozarks migrated to California in the 1930s. East Los Angeles and the Gateway Cities house a distinctive form of Chicano English. These dialects can exist in very small areas, such as the traditionally New Orleanian Yat in northern Pasadena.
In the city of Los Angeles, the terms "Westside" and "Eastside" are frequently used to refer to regions on either side of the city. The boundaries of these regions are not defined, and whether certain neighborhoods should be included in the Westside or the Eastside remains a heated topic of discussion. Generally, the Westside includes neighborhoods with the area code 310, including Santa Monica, Westwood and Beverly Hills. The Eastside includes neighborhoods east of the Los Angeles River such as Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles and Whittier.
Neighborhoods south of downtown Los Angeles are typically referred to as "South Central" (though officially renamed to "South L.A." 2003). South Central initially referred to Central Ave South of Jefferson which was a major location for jazz and nightlife in the fifties and sixties. Neighborhoods in South L.A. include Watts, Leimert Park, and Inglewood.
In Los Angeles County, the "South Bay" refers to the area adjacent to southern Santa Monica Bay, encompassing communities between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the Port of Los Angeles. This area includes the Beach Cities (Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach), El Segundo, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Hawthorne, Lawndale and Torrance.
The San Fernando Valley, which lies north of the Santa Monica mountains, is often called simply "the Valley." It became a cultural phenomenon and a major real estate destination for millions of Angelenos to call home in the 20th century. And indeed where the "Valley girl/boy" accent developed in the later 1970s and 1980s or early 1990s become popularized by teenagers and young adults nationwide and globally through Hollywood's media circuit.
Residents of Long Beach simply refer to their city as Long Beach. Although residents outside the region may refer to the city as the "LBC," popularized in the media by famous residents, such as the rapper Snoop Dogg and the ska punk band Sublime.
The Inland Empire, which encompasses cities in San Bernardino, Riverside, and sometimes the eastern edge of Los Angeles counties, is commonly referred to as "the I.E." or "the 909" for its original telephone area code. Although the United States Census Bureau defines the Inland Empire region as all of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, these counties' high or low desert regions are frequently excluded from the colloquial definition, which refers instead to the more urbanized area around the cities of Riverside and San Bernardino and other cities in the Pomona Valley which may also include Los Angeles County. Typically, this excludes all areas north of Cajon Pass and San Gorgonio Pass.
Residents in communities in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains (i.e. Crestline, Wrightwood, Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear) will refer to people on either side of the mountains as "flat-landers". This practice is also common among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts when referring to those who do not venture into the mountains. In an example of wry understatement, the residents of these mountain communities also refer to the rather lengthy journeys between them and the surrounding lowlands as "going down (or up) the hill."
A common colloquialism for Orange County is "behind The Orange Curtain", referring to the politically conservative demographics for that area. This term is typically used by Californians who self-identify as politically liberal. According to the Fox television show The O.C., the abbreviation of the county's name tends to be mainly used by those from outside of the area, rather than natives. Many residents of Orange County refer to their telephone area codes to describe where in Orange County they are from. The "562" or "714" refers to people in Northern Orange County and the older suburban communities of Cypress, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Fountain Valley, Brea, Fullerton, Orange, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Westminster, Tustin and Anaheim, while "949" refers to more affluent and recently developed communities in South Orange County such as Irvine, Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Coto de Caza. The "909" area code refers to people inland from Orange County, typically from Riverside and further inland, and is used by many native southern Californians, especially those living in cities near the beaches, as a derogatory term for tourists, "909ers". Rarely, people will even refer to their zip codes to communicate where they live, many times an indication of their income level.
In San Diego County, "South Bay" refers to the area adjacent to the southern portion of San Diego Bay. Suburbs in the northern half of the county almost always identify as simply North County and suburbs immediately east of the city proper, though geographically still located in the western half of the county, identify similarly as East County. San Diego residents will also sometimes define their location relative to major highways. "South of the 8" refers to communities south of the I-8, which cuts roughly through the City of San Diego. This term also implies a socioeconomic divide, residents and communities are perceived as being less affluent, as well as a greater concentration of ethnic minorities. Another common example is "East of the 5", in which many central beach community residents will use to define where in San Diego they will not go to. As the I-5 follows the coastline in much of San Diego, this is a way of signifying an inclination to stay within the coastal regions of San Diego. Alternatively, "east of the tracks" refers to primarily the same inland areas, as the main Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train route runs along a path similar to that of the I-5 between Orange County and its terminus at Union Station, also known as the Santa Fe Depot, near downtown San Diego. "West of the tracks" refers to the part of the beach communities nearest to the ocean.
And finally the California Desert region: the Coachella Valley and Imperial Valley are referred to as the "Desert", but a more "Southwestern" cultural emphasis on desert western living has a more Hispanic and American Indian flavor to the local dialect. The Mojave Desert and Mono Lake area is also known as the "High Desert" due to the region's higher elevations, but has a more rural American (i.e. Southern, Midwest/Central and Texan/Western) cultural character.
- North American Regional Phonology
- Chain shift
- Chicano English
- African American Vernacular English
- Vowel Shift
- California slang
- Bucholtz, Mary; et all (2007-12). "Hella Nor Cal or Totally So Cal? : The Perceptual Dialectology of California". Journal of English Linguistics 35 (4): 325–352. doi:10.1177/0075424207307780. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- Upton Sinclair, Oil! (1927).
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- Ladefoged, Peter (1999). "American English." In Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, 41–44, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-63751-1.
- Labov, William, Sharon Ash, and Charles Boberg (2006). The Atlas of North American English. Berlin: Mouton-de Gruyter. p. 68. ISBN 3-11-016746-8.
- "Professor Penelope Eckert's webpage". Stanford.edu. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- Laurence Fletcher Talbott, Phd., 'California in the War for Southern Independence,' et al.
- "However, science isn't all that sets Northern California apart from the rest of the world," Sendek wrote. "The area is also notorious for the creation and widespread usage of the English slang 'hella,' which typically means 'very,' or can refer to a large quantity (e.g. 'there are hella stars out tonight')." 
- "Jorge Hankamer WebFest". Ling.ucsc.edu. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- "Lyrics | Skull Stomp - Hella". SongMeanings. 2008-11-02. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel H. Elbert & Esther T. Mookini, The Pocket Hawaiian Dictionary (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983)
- Fadiman, Clifton Any Number Can Play 1958
- Simon, Mark (2000-06-30). "'The' Madness Must Stop Right Now". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- Simon, Mark (2000-07-04). "Local Lingo Keeps 'The' Off Road". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- Simon, Mark (2000-07-29). "S.F. Wants Power, Not The Noise: The 'The'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-11-19.
- "Choosing a Lane". California Driver Handbook. California Department of Motor Vehicles. 2010. p. 33.
- 12:38 AM. "Drive time, East Mesa to Downtown Phoenix- the 202 or the 60? - Page 2 - City-Data Forum". City-data.com. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- "Directions to the Cronkite School Downtown Phoenix Campus | The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication". Cronkite.asu.edu. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- Not sure about this usage for the Castro. Request confirmation.
- Landis, John D.; Reilly, Michael (2003). "How We Will Grow: Baseline Projections of California's Urban Footprint Through the Year 2011". In Guhathakurta, Subhrajit. Integrated Land Use and Environmental Models: A Survey of Current Applications and Research. Springer. p. 84. ISBN 978-3-540-00576-6. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- Sullivan, James (October 14, 2003), Frisco, that once-verboten term for the city by the bay, is making a comeback among the young and hip. Herb Caen is spinning at warp speed., San Francisco Chronicle
- Joel Gazis-Sax (1998). "He Bans the F-Word". Retrieved 2007-04-24.
- San Francisco Examiner, April 3, 1918. Don't Call It Frisco. Judge Mogan Rebukes Angeleno for Using Slang in His Petition for Divorce.
- Sullivan, James (October 14, 2003). "Frisco, that once-verboten term for the city by the bay, is making a comeback among the young and hip. Herb Caen is spinning at warp speed.". Datebook (San Francisco: San Francisco Chronicle). p. D-1. Retrieved June 12, 2008.
- Bermudez, Esmeralda (2009-05-31). "A title bout between two Eastsides". Los Angeles Times.
- Vowels and Consonants: An Introduction to the Sounds of Languages. Peter Ladefoged, 2003. Blackwell Publishing.
- Language in Society: An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Suzanne Romaine, 2000. Oxford University Press.
- How We Talk: American Regional English Today. Allan Metcalf, 2000. Houghton Mifflin.
- Do you speak American? PBS
- Penelope Eckert, Vowel Shifts
- Phonological Atlas of North America
- A hella new specifier Paper by Rachelle Waksler discussing usage of hella
- Word Up: Social Meanings of Slang in California Youth Culture by Mary Bucholtz Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara department of Linguistics Includes discussion of "hella"