Date: Mon, 21 Feb 1994 10:53:40 -0500


Subject: Re: [u]/[ju] in Houston

[u]/[ju]: So why is Houston [hju-] and not [hu-]?

Because /ju/ follows a non-coronal consonant. Orthographic oo is

phonemic /u/, never /ju/, when it is tense, but the other orthographic

things like eu , u...e , ou are (or were) /ju/. Houston has [ju]

like Hughes, hew, Huguenot, but unlike Hoosier, hoot,

hootchie-kootchie, etc.

What makes "coupon" interesting is that it is an instance of /ju/

changing from [ju] to [u] after a non-coronal C, where it never does

except in East Anglia (so cute, cupid, puke, music, argument, acute,

etc.). When dialectologists noticed "coupon" changing in the 1940s,

they must have wondered if it was the beginning of yod-dropping before

non-coronals. Now, 50 years later, we know it's not--or not yet,

anyway. The ONLY other word I know with /ju/ sometimes getting

realized as [u] after a non-coronal is "puberty", which for some

people is pronuonced 'pooberty'. I wonder if those same peole

pronounce "pubic" as poobic?

Jack Chambers