Date: Sat, 26 Feb 1994 09:04:00 EDT From: "David A. Johns" Subject: Something old, something new First some comments on old threads: On [kupan] vs [kjupan]: I missed the beginning of this thread, but various people have been referring to it as a case of j-dropping (or cluster simplification). Did I miss an explanation for considering [kjupan] the older form? In any case, I remember being told in my teenage years, in the '50s, that [kupan] was the "correct" alternate, with [kjupan] a vulgar hypercorrection. My 1957 Webster's New World Dictionary lists both pronunciations, with [kupan] first. On place names: Illinois is truly a gold mine for mispronounced foreign names, not all of which are French. Chicago has a Goethe Street pronounced ['gothi] and a Mozart Street pronounced ['mozart]. Even better, when I was a cab driver there 20 years ago, the dispatchers routinely referred to Buena Street as [bu'wana] (accent on the second syllable) -- although since the dispatchers were all black, this may have been an in-joke. Devon Avenue is normally pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, and Chicago gets its weather from a radar station in [mar'selz] (Marseilles). There are also two pronunciations that might serve as local shibboleths: Loyola University is [la'yol[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]], not [lo'yol[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]] (someone also mentioned Joliet [jali'et]), and, of course, Chicago is [SI'kOgo] or [SI'kOg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]] instead of [SI'kago]. On various regional pronunciations: It's interesting that northern Georgia keeps [hw] and [w] apart, because where I am, in southeast Georgia (Waycross), they are completely merged. I get spelling errors in student compositions like weather for whether and even where for were. Locals insist that they have different vowels in news and noose, although both are so fronted that I have trouble hearing the difference. I suspect that noose is [nyws], with a front rounded nucleus, and news is [niwz], with a less rounded vowel, but I'm not sure. Also, I get due to spelled do to, but it could be that due to is a foreign import, heard mainly from TV announcers with Midwestern accents. Along this line also, I get whether spelled as rather! Both of these words may also be foreign to the area. And now for something somewhat different. I've noticed that both in North Florida (Gainesville area) and in this part of Georgia there seem to be two distinct accents among life-long white natives. The first accent is distinctly Southern. Stressed vowels are lengthened, but the stress itself is not very strong, yielding the typical Southern drawl. The tense vowels /i/, /e/, /o/, and /u/ are all strongly diphthongized, producing something like [Ej], [Aj], [Ew], and [iw], where [A] is aesc. The lax vowels /I/ and /E/ are often diphthongized into [i[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]] and [e[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]]. The vowels in ride and write are [A:] and [A:j] in Georgia, but generally a little further back, [a:] and [a:j] in Florida. Most speakers tend to speak toward the low end of their vocal range, although women seem to have two registers: a low tone for normal conversations, and a much higher tone for certain formal situations, like asking directions, speaking on the phone to strangers, etc. Voice quality seems to be nasal to neutral in men, neutral to husky in women. The second accent sounds much more Southern Midland. Word stress is very strong, resulting in a pogo-stick rhythm to the speech. Vowels are short and crisp, with only mild fronting of /u/ and /o/ and no diphthongization of /i/ and /e/, or of the lax vowels. Ride and write both have [A], with no noticeable lengthening other than what is normal before a voiced consonant, and I'm not sure they are consistently distinct from rad and rat. Both men and women tend to speak in a fairly high, nasal tone of voice. The existence of these two accents suggests that people from Appalachia moved into this area at some time and maintained their accents. But I haven't been able to confirm this from any speakers of the second accent; no one that I've asked knew anything about having ancestors from North Georgia or Tennessee or anywhere else up there. Even stranger, there seems to be no consistent social stratification between the two accents, and speakers of both accents seem to be completely unaware of the presence of the other. So how are the accents maintained? Who do children identify with to learn them? Why aren't they leveled out among children from both groups growing up together? Can anyone here give me a clue? David Johns Waycross College Waycross, GA