Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 22:55:13 EDT
From: Dfcoye
Subject: Re: been: Ben vs. bin

This point was part of a survey I did (American Speech 69.3, 1994) of
Princeton freshmen. Because of the merger before nasals Ron mentioned you
have to screen for that first (this gets rid of much of the South and Indiana,
and some Southern Californians). I then found that BEN was the pronunciation
of choice in the Great Lakes region and the Northwest, with more additional
support found in New England and Northern California. As was pointed out you
have to ask it in an emphatic position (How've you been?)-- I think your
student is right, BEN is under-reported in dictionaries, but some include it.
I think. Believe it or not I also found some people using /i:/- a small
percentage scattered around.

Dale Coye
The College of New Jersey