Date: Sat, 17 Dec 1994 17:12:42 -0600

From: "Timothy C. Frazer" mftcf[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UXA.ECN.BGU.EDU

Subject: Re: /biyl/

This was a fascinating post and I want to say more, but first:

David, what does typographic "&" represent?

--Tim Frazer

On Thu, 15 Dec 1994, David A. Johns wrote:

Here in southeast Georgia I get a lot of spelling mistakes of the type

FEEL -- FILL and SALE -- SELL. But these pronunciations are mixed

up with at least three other phenomena.

First, breaking. As far as I can tell, /I/ and /E/ always break in

word-final stressed syllables, and when they do, the first part of the

diphthong is higher and tense: [ij[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]] and [ej[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]]. But before consonants

other than /l/, there is no merger, since /i/ and /e/ are lowered and

strongly diphthongized: /i/ -- [ej] and /e/ -- [&j] (where [&] is

[a_e]). So we get BIT [bij[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]t] but BEET [bejt].

Second, vocalization of /l/. Syllable-final /l/ is strongly vocalized

as [w] or [u], often with no velarization that I can hear. All front

vowels, tense or lax, get an intrusive [j] before this segment [*],

and before this [j], /i/ and /e/ are not lowered, but fall together

with /I/ and /E/. So BILL and BEALE are both /biju/.

[*] The back vowels /u/ and /o/ are normally strongly fronted

and diphthongized, but before an /l/ the remain back. So for

FOOL and FOAL I hear [fuw] and [fow], with no fronting. This

contributes to a bewildering number of very similar vowels --

I'm not at all sure how many distinctions there are in the

series COOL, (MINIS)CULE, KILL, KEEL. It could be two, three,

or four. And then we throw in the pronunciation of /O/ as

/Ow/ or /aw/ and of /oj/ as /o[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]/ ...

One more note: /aw/ often breaks into /&ju/, but not in the

same environments as the front vowel breaking -- I often hear

HOW [h&ju] and DOWN [d&jun], but never OUT [&jut] (but PIT

[pij[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]t]). It's possible that /aw/ - /[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]w/ - [[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ju] has merged

with /&l/ - /&ju/ in some environments (e.g., HAL and HOW

both [h&ju]).

Third, there is a really noticeable raising of /I/ and /E/ even in

non-breaking, non-L syllables. I consistently hear BETTY as BEATTY,

THANKSGIVING as THANKSGEEVING, etc. But again, in these contexts

there is no merger, because of the lowering of the tense vowels.

If you want vowels, come to South Georgia!

David Johns

Waycross College

Waycross, GA