Date: Thu, 4 Jan 1996 20:57:38 -0700
From: William King WFKING[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
Subject: Re: NYC socks vs. Saks
For upstate New Yorkers, both socks and Saks are raised, so the
two do not sound the same to native speaker.
Not all of upstate NY has the same accent. The Buffalo accent is
decidedly closer to the Great Lakes than Albany, though the two are close.
The Champlain Valley and much of the Adirondacks have an accent that is
a composite of Western Vermont and Eastern Canada -- throw in some
Scotch/Scotch Irish of Appalachia for flavor and historical consistency.
My Albany area parents thought that the native of "Ti" were pronouncing
the shortened version of Ticonderoga as "Toy." Of course, the residents
could easily distinguish between "Ti" and "toy."
The "flat a" of upstate New York becomes tensed for many Champlain
Valley speakers. My father, who was born in the Boston area, reverted to a
tensed ash after my mother died. Frankly, it wasn't until then that I
realized that the tensing of vowels existed in "Ti."
This is subtle stuff and changeable either way. I'd like to add
that Prep School pronunciations are susceptible to teen-age exaggeration.
But all of those larded accents point out one or two features of flux.
It's sort of like the caged canary in the mine turning into an egret.