Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 10:33:49 -0600 From: "Timothy C. Frazer" Subject: Re: Great Northern Vowel Shi** On Tue, 5 Dec 1995, TERRY IRONS wrote: > Now we have returned to a significant topic for consideration, pinheads > and bubbleheads to be forgiven. What is it with all of this vowel > shift shit? I think this list needs to engage itself in a serious > discussion of Labov's hypothesis, rather than bowing down to that > name as some god or something. He was simply somebody's student who > lucked into a good situation, and so forth. > > I was sitting in the airport in Lexington, waiting for a plane and I > eavesdropped on the perfect illustration of Mister Bill's famed > NVS (read Northern Vowel Shift), when i heard this yankee guy say to some > other guy, I lost my wallet in the bar last night. The concept of > shift notwithstanding, the sentence is perfectly diagnostic for the > crucial low vowels under consideration. Guess what went where. Perhaps > I'll save it for some revelatory paper at some important conference. > > All of this rot and nonsense about vowel shifting buys into some major > and yet unstated assumptions about the phonoloogy/phonetics of spoken > Americn English. To say that a shift has occurred assumed that all > speakers at some point participated in some basic system. I would > suggest that some pronunciation patterns reflect not a change from this > system but a persistence of some variety historically that the generative > agenda, into which Mr. Bill buys wholsale, is not willing to acknowledge. > I'm not quite sure where you're going, Terry. Are you trying to say that these vowel shifts do not exhibit the neogrammarian inevitability that L and hsi students seems to ascribe to them? I would probably agree. But I don't quite understand the intensity of your rhetoric. Tim Frazer