What's this dialect/sociolect/accent/whatever?

Increasingly I’ve been noticed that many younger females have adopted a particular, distinct speech pattern (that I also find annoying, but that’s beside the point). Does this irritation have a name?

As an example, this silly youtube video has a character that speaks in a parody of the accent. For those who don’t want to watch, one major describing feature is that a short ‘i’ becomes a short ‘e’ (or almost a short ‘a’ when exaggerated). So the word ‘fit’ becomes “fet”, ‘bitch’ becomes “betch”, ‘dick’ becomes “deck”, etc.

Regionally, it seems universal, but agewise it seems to be the under-30 women, and I get the impression that they stop doing it as they grow older. Could be my imagination though.

So what is annoying cant?

You realize that’s a guy in drag, right?

I’m gonna go with Valley Girl.

Ehhh… maybe, I’m not sure. I remember when the original Valley Girl fad hit in the 80’s and it wasn’t an accent, just mostly a collection of dumb slang and uptalk that made the speaker sound like an idiot. Most of the Valley slang has evaporated (who says “grody to the max” or “gag me with a spoon” anymore?).

By contrast, this particular accent doesn’t sound airheaded to me… actually it makes me think of young upwardly-mobile college meritocrats… maybe from the western US, but not necessarily.

Yes, I realize that’s a guy in drag. Those aren’t his real parents, and he probably really didn’t buy those shoes.

Oh ma gad, ey cud dy.

Before I even clicked on your link, as soon as I read that, the first thing I thought of was the “Shoes” video. That was the first place I ever heard that “accent” and the only times I have heard other people saying “betch” for bitch, it seemed like they were referencing that video.

I have heard it when gay friends of mine are being snide and trashing on something. I tend to think of it as the gay parody version of the locust valley lockjaw

In some ways it sounds like the Northern Cities Vowel Shift:

(Click on the link to the NPR interview at the bottom of the page to hear it.)

I think there are several sorts of accents in the U.S. which do weird things to the vowels, so it’s hard to tell which one is being parodied in the video.

Wendell, I was hoping you would chime in. Thanks.

It seems what I’m describing is a vowel shift… I did find something on youtube about the northern cities shift, and it seemed similar in some ways. Also on Wikipedia I read about a “California shift” but I’m unable to find any recorded examples (and I suck at reading IPA). Any thoughts on the California shift? (Or I should say, “sheft”…)