Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 09:52:01 -0700
From: Garland D Bills
Subject: Re: Beijing /j/

On Wed, 13 May 1998, Larry Horn wrote:
> Clearly, there's a real phenomenon of generalized "foreign pronunciation"
> that may well encompass the [zh] pronunciation of Beijing. But I'm not
> sure all the above fit under that category. I've usually heard "Chicano"
> with a Spanish affricate rather than a French fricative, but I think
> there's also a phonological process whereby a number of words in which [ch]
> occurs in a totally unstressed syllable is de-affricativized. Consider,
> for example, Chicago (with a [sh]) vs. Chi-town and Chisox ('Chicago White
> Sox') with a [ch]. Or chiropodist, with either initial [k] or [sh], but
> not [ch]. Or cheroot (evidently from Tamil), usually (in my experience)
> [sh] rather than [ch]. I think the key here is not the extension of [+
> French] but the lack of stress on the first syllable; maybe Chicano (in
> losing its [+ Spanish] feature?) is assimilated to this class rather than
> treated as specifically French.

In my experience, the if-foreign-then-French rule is salient.
There may be other things going on with Chicano (dialect variation in
Spanish showing both [sh] and [ch]). However, when you encounter -- even
in New Mexico!! -- people who will pronounce the surname Cha'vez (with
stress on the first syllable) as [shave'] (with stress on the second
syllable), I feel pretty confident those people are working with a
[+French] procedure. And maybe a host of attitudinal baggage.


Garland D. Bills E-mail: gbills[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]
Department of Linguistics Tel.: (505) 277-7416
University of New Mexico FAX: (505) 277-6355
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1196 USA