Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 19:05:00 EDT From: "David A. Johns" Subject: /biyl/ 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 both [h&ju]). 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! David Johns Waycross College Waycross, GA