LINGUIST List 9.682

Sun May 10 1998

Disc: Recent Change in English

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <martylinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. Waruno Mahdi, Disc: 9.668, Recent Change in English
  2. kdcaldw, Re: 9.676, Disc: Recent Change in English
  3. Rick Mc Callister, Re: 9.675, Disc: Recent Change in English
  4. Fidelholtz James L., Re: 9.676, Disc: Recent Change in English

Message 1: Disc: 9.668, Recent Change in English

Date: Sat, 9 May 1998 21:58:07 +0200
From: Waruno Mahdi <mahdiFHI-Berlin.MPG.DE>
Subject: Disc: 9.668, Recent Change in English

I began speaking English actively at home and at school at the age of
seven, which was in 1950 (up to then I only spoke Dutch).

One change that I noticed is the replacement of "French"
pronunciations of geographical names in standard American English by
the previously vernacular spelling-conditioned "impressionistic"
pronunciation, e.g.

 Illinois [YlYnwa] > [YlYn9ys]
 (where "Y" is crossed or dotless "i",
 "9" is turned-around "c").
 Albuquerque [0lbukRk] > [&lbukRki]
 (where "0" is turned-around "a",
 "&" is "a-e" ligature,
 "" is turned-around "e",
 "R" is turned-around "r")

In elementary school, I was still taught the "French" pronunciation.
As older teenager (I think I was 16 or 17) I read an article either in
"Life" or in "Saturday Evening Post" magazine, which discussed the
shift in "recieved" pronunciation in progress at that time.

The "materialization" of originally mute final "e" of the spelling as
/i/ in the latter example is rather widespread (and not restricted to
geographical names).

Yosemite [yosmayt] > [yosEmYti/ (where "E" is "epsilon")
Irene [ayri:n] > [ayrini]

The pronunciation of the prefix _anti-_ seems to have shifted from
[&ntY] or [&nti] to [&ntay], which is perhaps a further feature of the
same general process. I somehow can't seem to remember anymore, how I
had been originally taught to pronounce the prefix _semi-_, but for
some reason I was surprised to note people pronouncing it [simay] the
last few decades. Was it perhaps formerly pronounced [semi] or [semY]?
(Compare [hemysfiR] in _hemisphere_).

Another feature seems to be the use of _like_ at the beginning of
sentences and phrases in colloquial American English. In my early
youth, I never encountered it in the speech of any of my American
school pals. The first time I met with the phenomenon was in "Mad"
magazine around 1959 or 1960, when it was still explicitly
characterized as Californian colloquial or youth. Some years ago I had
to share a compartment in an overfilled train (here in Europe) with a
bunch of college students from the Mid West, and was deeply amused to
note how they'd have this feature like in just about every other
sentence they uttered.

Finally, on the "fronting" of the vowel in _food_ noted by Marie-Lucie
Tarpent (Re 9.668), which was I think aptly interpreted by Marc Hamann
(Re 9.676#1) as 

<cut> 
My analysis is that the change 
> is from [uw] to [iw], where "i" here represents a high central or back 
> unrounded nucleus.<cut>

I have noticed this shift in the word _suit_ [syut] / [suwt] to [sIwt]
where "I" is IPA "ligatured" Cyrillic "b-l" (unrounded high central)
since the closing 1950s, at which time I still perceived it as
colloquial or perhaps even slang.

As I have personally never been in the New World, these observations
on American English were all made "from a distance".

Regards to all, Waruno

- ---------------------------------------------------------------------
Waruno Mahdi tel: +49 30 8413-5404
Faradayweg 4-6 fax: +49 30 8413-3155
14195 Berlin email: mahdifhi-berlin.mpg.de
Germany WWW: http://w3.rz-berlin.mpg.de/~wm/
- ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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Message 2: Re: 9.676, Disc: Recent Change in English

Date: Sat, 9 May 1998 14:09:54 -0700 (PDT)
From: kdcaldw <kdcaldwinterserv.com>
Subject: Re: 9.676, Disc: Recent Change in English



On Sat, 9 May 1998, LINGUIST Network <linguistlinguistlist.org> wrote:

>
>-------------------------------- Message 2 -------------------------------
>
>Date: Thu, 7 May 1998 21:58:24 -0700 (PDT)
>From: bwaldHUMnet.UCLA.EDU (bwald)
>Subject: Re: 9.668, Disc: Recent Change in English
>

>
>So, what's "new" is basically that the pattern indeed seems to have
>become more productive as of late -- but how many of you are
>comfortable with:
>
>yesterday we sight*saw*, so today we'll go back to the conference
>
>I type*wrote* the paper on my old Olivetti

But we can refer to a typewritten paper.

I've also seen a lot of people turn "copyright" into "copywrite," and
then they produce forms like "copywritten" and "copywrote"" instead of
"copyrighted."

>
>(Of course, you prefer "typed" nowadays, but ignore that -- if you
>can)
>
>Here's a good one:
>
> The plane nose*dove* into the field.

Funny, I'd say "nosedived" for some reason.

> Otherwise, the fact that there are always particular new lexical
>items arising based on Noun+Verb is a lexical matter, and not
>particularly interesting to anyone except lexicographers. NB I
>haven't *proofread* this message.

I have also noticed a nearly universal acceptance of "snuck" as the
past tense of "sneak," something that was frowned on when I was in
school all through the 70's.

And the use of the nominal pronoun forms in object positions, mainly
when two pronouns occur together, seems to be getting more common.
"Between you and I" and "for you and I" are the most common
combinations, but there is a popular song out now with the line,
"...say a little prayer for I."

.

>-------------------------------- Message 3 -------------------------------
>
>Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 01:02:51 EDT
>From: PBarr21106 <PBarr21106aol.com>
>Subject: Re: 9.668, Disc: Recent Change in English
>
> My daughter (23) pronounces food and movies as you describe, very
>forward in the mouth to start with, then a shift back. Neither my
>wife nor I nor my son speak this way. I think it is a teen-age girl
>pronunciation that may have begun in California. There was an article
>in the NYT magazine a couple of years ago on the fact that there is a
>nation-wide teen-speak.

Not being a linguist, I'm not exactly sure if you're describing what I
have noticed, mainly among young people, especially girls and women.
It seems that many of them produce speech that I would call "choppy."
The words seem clipped, and some of the vowels seem slightly
different. For example, "yeah" often sounds like "yah" (with the "a"
as in "back"). Since I've noticed it mainly on TV, I assume it
started on the West Coast. I guess it is what "Valley Girl" speech
has evolved into.

Kevin Caldwell
kdcaldwinterserv.com
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Message 3: Re: 9.675, Disc: Recent Change in English

Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 01:33:06 -0500
From: Rick Mc Callister <rmccalliMUW.Edu>
Subject: Re: 9.675, Disc: Recent Change in English

	Strange that you mention the South. It seems to be virtually
non-existent here in Mississippi and other areas of the South I've
lived in.
	It is somewhat common in parts of Appalachia, especially
Tennessee and Kentucky in my experience, where it seems to be
replacing /yu/; e.g. "news" /nyu:z/ > /nU:z/
	I've noticed that the same people who front /u/ also tend to
pronounce /i:/ [and sometimes /E/ ] as /ey/, e.g. "people" /pi:pl/ >
/peypl/ and consequently there are anecdotes about waiters who confuse
"French" and "Ranch" dressing because they sound alike /freynch/ vs
/reynch/
	All in all, I've rarely heard /U/ fronting outside of
Appalachia in North America
	Something that's more common in the South is that final /l/ is
often dropped, especially after /u:/; e.g. "school" /sku:l, sku:w/ > /sku:/
	In sociolinguistics, the old time "Southern" accent which
dropped /r/ and pronounced /u:/ as /yu:/ seems to be dying out among
Whites. In the Deep South, except for maybe coastal areas, it's
uncommon to hear anyone under 50 or so speak that way. What I'm
picking up on is that middle and upper income Whites, tend to imitate
Midwest English and often even use "you guys" --a typical "yankeeism"
as opposed to y'all; while working class Whites will often speak
similar to people from Appalachia e.g. "dance" as /deyns/ and
pronounce final /r/ but retain "y'all" instead of "you'uns" and don't
front /u/. My Black students still tend to speak with a Deep South
accent. So it's intriguing to hear older White alumnae speak with the
same accent as younger Black students while younger White students
speak very differently. My guess is that this is largely due to the
effect of "segregation academies" which, I'm told, stigmatize the
local accent.

	Outside the South I have noticed is that northerners more and
more pronounce /aw/ as /ow/ like Canadians; e.g. "out" /awt/ >
/owt/. My olsest daughter attends school in Massachusetts and it's
really noticeable among her friends and when she comes back for break
	And finally, as I suppose most people know, there seems to be
a patalization of initial velars by younger people from the West Coast
"cool" spelled as "kewl" where /ku:w[l]/ > /kyu:w[l]/

>
>Date: Fri, 08 May 1998 11:10:34 -0400 (EDT)
>From: Paul Johnston <JOHNSTONPwmich.edu>
>Subject: Re: 9.668, Disc: Recent Change in English
>
>The lowering of /E/ that Marie-Lucie Tarpent mentions is certainly
>widespread in the Great Lakes States; it seems to be fostered by
>preceding labials of all kinds--I don't know, but it could be part of
>a chain shift involving a parellel (and more widespread) lowering of
>/I/ after labials, as in milk. Certainly, among my Western Michigan
>students, all the students that lower /E/ also lower /I/ (and
>possibly /ae/!).,
>/u/-fronting, once restricted to Ulster, Mid and Southwest Scotland
>(where it applies to the OUT class of words), large swatches of the
>Midlands of England, Norfolk, and Devon/East Cornwall, the Southern
>Hemisphere dialects and the American South, seems to be becoming
>close to a universal in English. Can anyone think of American
>dialects that are resisting it? In Britain, Northeastern Scots,
>Orkney and Shetland, Northeastern English dialects and Welsh English
>are the only ones I can think of.

>					Paul Johnston
>					Western Michigan U.
>
>

	Re: "egg" as "agg", to my ears, this sounds like South
African, Australian and New Zealand English. One of the things that
makes Xena so funny is when a character speaking with an American
accent does this. I also pick up what sounds like "bag" as "beg" from
South Africans, Australians and New Zealanders. I've wondered if these
2 sounds have been reduced to an intermediate sound which seems to
outsiders like its counterpart. Sort of like "pen" vs. "pin" in much
of the US.
 What you often hear in Appalachia is /eyg/, or even /eyg/ for /Eg/



Date: Sat, 09 May 1998 11:47:58 -0400
From: MARC PICARD <picardvax2.concordia.ca>
Subject: Re: 9.676, Disc: Recent Change in English

Marc Hamann wrote:

> If I understand correctly, you mean pronouncing "egg" and "beg" as
> though they were "agg" and "bag".

I don't think this is the proper representation of this
pronunciation. It's more like "ague" and "bague". When I have my
students transcribe words like these, I always get a few that write
/e:g/ for /Eg/, and so on. I've never heard Americans do this, and
I've never been able to figure out exactly where in Canada this
pronunciation is common.

Marc Picard

Rick Mc Callister
W-1634
MUW
Columbus MS 39701
rmccallisunmuw1.muw.edu
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Message 4: Re: 9.676, Disc: Recent Change in English

Date: Sat, 9 May 1998 11:21:40 -0500 (CDT)
From: Fidelholtz James L. <jfidelsiu.buap.mx>
Subject: Re: 9.676, Disc: Recent Change in English


On Sat, 9 May 1998, Benji wrote:
> how many of you are comfortable with:
> 
> yesterday we sight*saw*, so today we'll go back to the conference
> 
> I type*wrote* the paper on my old Olivetti

	These are clearly horrible (especially the first), BUT they are
better than the regularized past tenses: sightseed, typewrited, which for
me add an extra asterisk to whatever Benji's version had.

> ...
> The plane nose*dove* into the field.

	This one is almost OK. Here I like 'nosedived' better, but
the past tense of dive is in flux (or at least was when I was learning
English s.t. in the last century (if nobody else will wait until 2001
to get to the next century/millennium, I'm gonna beat 'em to the
punch).

> Otherwise, the fact that there are always particular new lexical
> items arising based on Noun+Verb is a lexical matter, and not
> particularly interesting to anyone except lexicographers. NB I
> haven't *proofread* this message.

	As these comments (Both Benji's and mine) show, there is
plenty of morphological interest in these phenomena. Not that there's
anything wrong with lexicographers. Some of my best friends
(including me) are.
	Jim	


James L. Fidelholtz			e-mail: jfidelcen.buap.mx
Maestri'a en Ciencias del Lenguaje
Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades
Beneme'rita Universidad Auto'noma de Puebla, ME'XICO
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