Date: Wed, 30 Jul 1997 12:37:01 -0400


Subject: Canadian "choon"?

Barbara Harris rightly recognizes herself in a Canadian minority in

saying 'choon', 'choozday', and the like. Yod-dropping in Canada is not

far behind yod-dropping in the northeastern States. In the youngest

speakers, it is nearly unanimous. The dialect Topography of the Golden

Horseshoe checked pronunciations with yod in 'student' and 'news' (among

others). The 935 respondents representing a cross -section in this 250km

strip around the western tip of Lake Ontario, where about one-fifth of

the population of Canada live, differed in the percentages of

yod-lessness according to age, as follows:

Age student news

80+ 44 59

70-79 58 61

60-69 55 65

50-59 58 67

40-49 72 75

30-39 80 81

20-29 83 85

14-19 88 91

Even for the people over 80, pronunciation of yod is minority use in

'news'; it is a slim majority for them in 'student'. They were born in

the 1920s. Since then, no age group has pronounced the yod as a

majority. These results accord with general impressions. In the last 50

years, schoolteachers, parents and other arbiters have had little to say

about retaining yod. It does not appear to be conscious for any

identifiable group. Two years ago, ESSO ran a commercial in which the

mechanic with his nose stuck in the engine compartment of a car talked

about a "CHOON-up" while the owner in a suit with briefcase responded

about the "TOON-up".