Date: Sat, 4 Dec 1993 11:29:04 -0500 From: "J. Chambers" Subject: Re: Sounding Northern Daniel S. Goodman's 'hillbilly' friend who discovered that he sounds unmarked when he puts on a Canadian accent corroborates a contention of mine. Once when I lectured in England I made the outrageous claim that my CE accent pretty well preserved English as it was intended to be spoken. (Instead of objecting, the students dutifully wrote that down, and I had to tell them I was kidding.) The serious side was to point out that the ME vowels had kept their features in CE: the tense vowels are all diphthongs, and the lax vowels are all lax, and all but one of the spaces in the vowel triangle are still filled. (The CAUGHT, PAW, AWFUL vowel has merged with COT, OFFAL.) In "The three dialects of English," Bill Labov seems to regard this kind of neatness suspiciously. CE belongs to the third dialect, and Bill writes, "Neutralized speakers of English, whose local patterns are blurred or hypercorrected, might be considered a 'third dialect'....They are effectively isolated from the mainstream of the history of English and have little influence on future developments" (p. 30). So Daniel S. Goodman's friend is paying a price--in Bill's metaphor, spaying himself. Jack Chambers