LINGUIST List 9.686

Mon May 11 1998

Disc: Recent Change in English

Editor for this issue: Brett Churchill <brettlinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. Lynn Santelmann, Disc: Recent Change in English
  2. Keith GOERINGER, Re: 9.676, Disc: Recent Change in English
  3. dcosta, Re: 9.683, Disc: Recent Change in English
  4. Patrick Juola, Re: 9.680, Disc: Recent changes in English

Message 1: Disc: Recent Change in English

Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 13:45:58 -0700
From: Lynn Santelmann <santelmannlpdx.edu>
Subject: Disc: Recent Change in English

Recently, several constructions have come up in my classes as being
"new." My "non-traditional" students (i.e. older) definitely find these 
more novel or unusual than my younger students. 

1. The increasing use of the progressive with verbs like "know" and "like"
"I'm liking that" vs. "I like that".

2. The use of "who" for "whoever" in the construction: 
"Can I help who's next?" vs. "Can I help whoever's next?" 
To my ears, "can I help who's next?" is simply ungrammatical, but I've 
heard it often.

3. The use of "disappear" in passive constructions. "The dissidents were 
disappeared in 1983". Interestingly, I haven't noticed an actual transitive
use of "disappear" yet, though I suspect it's only a matter of time.

Since the non-traditional students tend to be local (from Portland Oregon) 
while the other students have more varied backgrounds, it's possible that 
we also have some dialectal differences at work here.

Lynn Santelmann

******************************************************
Lynn Santelmann
Department of Applied Linguistics
Neuberger Hall
Portland State University
Portland, OR 97201
(503) 725-4140
santelmannlpdx.edu
******************************************************
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Message 2: Re: 9.676, Disc: Recent Change in English

Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 20:48:55 -0700
From: Keith GOERINGER <kegsocrates.berkeley.edu>
Subject: Re: 9.676, Disc: Recent Change in English

Dear LINGUIST:

This is in response to the exchange regarding the apparent fronting of rounded
vowels in Canadian English:

Marie-Lucie Tarpent wrote:

>>b. another phonological change which is older is the increasing
>>fronting of the vowel in words like "food". Texts for students of
>>French used to say that the vowel of words like "vous" was like that
>>in "you" while that of "tu" was much more difficult for English
>>speakers. But in fact the vowel of "food" is getting closer to that
>>of "tu" (ie it is getting more and more fronted) and it is very
>>difficult to teach English speakers to say the vowel of "vous".

to which Marc Hamann responded:

>I have noticed this as well, but I don't think the phonetic
>description you give is quite right. My analysis is that the change
>is from [uw] to [iw], where "i" here represents a high central or back
>unrounded nucleus. I can see though how this would be perceive as IP
>"y" by a native speaker if French.


I can't speak to the Canadian situation, but in my own native dialect of
English, spoken in a broad swath from Maryland to Virginia, rounded vowels
do indeed become fronted in various environments (before stops, before
nasals, even when no other segment follows -- it seems that the main
requirement is
that the rounded nucleus be tonic??). And if there is a rounded diphthong,
both elements front.

The 'food' example works fine -- it is essentially [fyd]; 'smooth' becomes
[smydh] (sorry, I don't know what the ASCII equivalent is -- voiced inter-
dental fricative); 'road' is [ryd] (that's an 'o-slash'); 'duke' is [dyk];
'soon' is [syn]; 'too' is [tiy]. (Transcriptions are ad hoc...)

I've lived in CA for the past 12 years and have eliminated most of the
frontings from my own speech, but I'll be myving back syn, and imagine
they'll creep back on their yn, given time...

Regards,
Keith

- ---
Keith GOERINGER
Slavic Languages & Literatures
UC Berkeley
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Message 3: Re: 9.683, Disc: Recent Change in English

Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 22:58:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: dcosta <dcostasocrates.berkeley.edu>
Subject: Re: 9.683, Disc: Recent Change in English

Paul Johnston writes, on 'egg':

>There are a number of American dialects that raise
>/Eg/ to /eg/ too--I think a lot of localized Western Michigan
>varieties do, for one, and MANY in the Upper South, where there 
>might be diphthongization to /Eig/ for both EGG and VAGUE.

For the record, I was born and raised in northern California,
and in my idiolect, 'egg' and 'vague' rhyme, as [eig] and [veig].
[Eg] is not a possible phonetic sequence in my idiolect. My parents,
also born and raised in northern California, have the same feature.

However, my wife, who was raised in Los Angeles, does NOT
merge these words (she keeps them separate as [Eg] and [veig].
She finds my pronunciation of these words hilariously illiterate
sounding. 

I have always assumed that my y-glide in 'egg' is due to the following
/g/, since I do the same with /ae/ when it precedes /g/ -- as 'bag' 
[baeig], 'nag' [naeig], etc. Before the velar nasal, I can take [ae]
either to [aei] or all the way to [ei], as in 'rang' and 'sang'. But at 
least I cant rhyme 'bag' with 'vague'/'egg'. 

BTW, I've heard this same glide insertion with /E/ in some dialects
of Black English before /k/, as well -- whereby 'wreck' becomes
[reik], etc. So it seems to depend on velar consonants, at least in
some dialects. 


David J. Costa
U.C. Berkeley
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Message 4: Re: 9.680, Disc: Recent changes in English

Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 09:48:20 +0100
From: Patrick Juola <patrick.juolapsy.ox.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: 9.680, Disc: Recent changes in English

 
 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".
 
 Marc Picard wrote :

 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.

/e:g/ (and /le:g/ &c) is, in the USA, typical of the Colorado area
(incl. Oklahoma, Kansas, &c). I guess you could call that area
"Eastern Rockies" or "Western Midwest." Perhaps if you hunt around
rural Manitoba?

	Patrick
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