Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 09:36:13 +0000
From: Peter McGraw
Subject: Re: California (was: Ben vs. bin)

On Fri, 8 May 1998 08:46:54 EDT RonButters wrote:

> In a message dated 5/7/98 6:20:07 PM, you wrote:
>>I recall Reagan's > similar lowering in [kael[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]fornya] ([E] for me);
>>is this common on the > West Coast?>>
> Also, at least part of the reduction of [ae] in CALIFORNIA must be
> stress- related. The main stress is on the FOR, and [ae] will therefore
> tend to become less tense (or, rather, more lax). Still, the lowering
> of [ae] to [E] before liquids is not particularly new--cf. WHEELBARROW
> is typically [wilbEro]. By the way, Ronald Reagan was not a native
> Californian (there aren't that many 85-year-old native Californians in
> anyi case). The Midwest--most particularly, lower Illinois (where
> [wilbEro] is normal)--must take the blame for his spawning.

You mean RAISING (of [ae] to [E]), right?

I'm not a native Californian, but I grew up there and in Oregon, and
[kEl[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]fornja] is a new one on me. Also, I don't think [ae] or [E]
before liquids is a matter of "new" or not, but a matter of geography.
I don't think anyone from the West Coast would have the sequence [aer]
in their speech. The neutralization of the [E]-[ae] contrast in West
Coast speech occurs only before [r], however, not before [l]. I
wouldn't say with certainty that nobody from the West Coast ever uses
[E] in "California," but if anyone does, it must indeed be a pretty new
development, and to my knowledge it hasn't reached Oregon.


Peter A. McGraw
Linfield College
McMinnville, Oregon