Date: Thu, 7 Dec 1995 17:59:02 EST

From: Terry Lynn Irons t.irons[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MOREHEAD-ST.EDU

Subject: Re: can/can't

I know that Labov has done some studies on this, but what about the

pronunciation between (unreduced) "can" and "can't"? I pronounce "can"

as /kaen/ - (the vowel is an "ash") and "can't" as /ke:nt/. (I come from

Phila.) I think Labov described this as being only a Phila. phenomenon.

Any comments? (I think some Philadelphians even pronounce "can't" as

something more like /kint/, with a short schwa sound after the /i/.)

Ellen S. Polsky (Ellen.Polsky[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]Colorado.EDU)

I wonder if you mean the alternation between [ae] in the simple form and

[e] in the negated form as being distinctive to the Philly area. For the

pronunciation of {can't} with a front central [e:] occurs commonly in the

mountain speech I hear. But the vowel in {can}, if not reduced, is much

closer to a low front point of articulation. So my experience tells me it

isn't only a Phila phenom.




Terry Lynn Irons t.irons[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

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