Date: Mon, 4 Dec 1995 09:37:23 EST


Subject: Re: -head

Dennis wonders,

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.