Date: Thu, 4 Jan 1996 20:57:38 -0700


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.

Bill King