Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 12:47:46 -0400
From: Beverly Flanigan
Subject: Re: been: Ben vs. bin

'Ben' is not restricted to emphatic position in Minnesota, though it may
indeed be used in free variation with 'bin.' I'm skeptical of the latter
claim though and will check it out when I make my annual visit to Minnesota
in the summer (I range from Minneapolis almost all the way to the South
Dakota border in my trek to all the relatives). As I pointed out earlier,
I think it's in part an age-based change, since my sister and I have only
'bin,' and in part diffusion from Mpls as a focal area, since my brother
(age 65) started, like us, with 'bin' but after 40 years of continuous
residence in Mpls now has 'ben' (at least variably). He also has the
'cot/caught' merger (to [a]), while my sister and I do not.

At 10:55 PM 5/11/98 -0400, you wrote:
>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
>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
>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