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?
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
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!