Date: Mon, 4 Dec 1995 09:37:23 EST
From: Larry Horn LHORN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU
Subject: Re: -head
While we are on Wisconsin (sorry about the -son spellings), have other
forced residents of the state noticed a funny syllable division there? My
divisions are very clearly 'wis-con-sin,' but I could swear to the fact
that nearly every Wisconsinite (there, Larry!) I've met divides it as
'wi-scon-sin.' The phonological motivation for this seems weak, but I
wonder if there is not some generalization lurking under it.
While I'm not a Wisconsinite myself, I did live there
for four years, but I can't now (if I ever could) come up with the relevant
memories. Presumably the "c" would be less aspirated if Dennis is right than
if the dictionary is; but then there seems to be some inconsistency in the
latter: my Webster's gives "mis.take" in bold but (correctly) m[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]-STEYK in
the pronunciation guide, where clearly there's been a shift of the [s] to the
stressed syllable, deaspirating the [t] and opacifying the word-formation
(mistake =/= mis + take, as opposed to e.g. 'mistime').
For the example under consideration, the crucial minimal pair would
be (he said, donning his cheesehead in lieu of flak jacket):
WisfuckinCONsin vs. WifuckinSCONsin
but, as predicted by the theoretical literature, both are a lot less like
likely that counterparts with the appropriate stress pattern, e.g.
--although not QUITE so unlikely as
P.S. On the spelling, Dennis was no doubt thinking of "esconson", 'a jamb
shaft in the inside arris of a window jamb'. A natural mi-stake.