Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 17:09:14 -0500
From: "Donald M. Lance"
Subject: Re: CaRIBbean (was Beijing /j/)

Ron Butters asks,
>Along the same lines, are there any Caribbean dialects in which is
>pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, or is CaRIBbean entirely a
>US/Canada/European affectation? (What I generally hear from the natives is
>CarriBEan--also the first pronunciation given in the first dictionary I looked
>at this afternoon.)

Fred Cassidy, who was born there, says CaribBEan. I recall him commenting
on it once. I think he said residents of the islands use his pronunciation
but that the other one is making inroads. SPE rules, I suppose, would say
that the underlying /i/ in the penultimate syllable makes that one a strong
syllable, thus stressed. Those who use the other pronunciation apparently
have an underlying lax vowel penultimately, which then would shift the
stress to the antepenultimate. Or -ribb- may be a strong syllable, thereby
attracting the stress, especially if the penult -e- is lax.