Date: Thu, 27 Jun 1996 09:14:45 -0700 From: Peter McGraw Subject: Re: variation in unstressed vowels On Thu, 27 Jun 1996, David Bergdahl (614) 593-2783 wrote: > RE: Dan Coyle's request for more info on Ohio > > In some apparently standard dialects (used by radio &tv announcers, politicians) > a word like has an elongated /o/ with main stress on the initial > syllable and a secondary stress on [fIs^] and [*l] with low stress. This > pronunciation has become standard in the last 25 yrs., I would guess, or at > least become more prominent. My intuition (for what it's worth) is that > pronunciations with schwa are heard as "slurvian" and to be avoided, hence the > strange stress situation of a primary followed by a secondary rather than an > unstressed syllable. Another plausible explantion is that it's one of the words > affected by front-shifting of stress, as in The Columbus DISpatch, POlice, > MOtel, &c. Some speakers may have level stress in : each syllable > equally stressed, as if it were French. > > A non-standard (although used by former Gov. Rhodes, from Appalachian Jackson, > OH) pronunciation with unstressed /o/ or schwa initially has [i] as the stressed > vowel, popularly spelled of-FEESH-al. But that, I think, is the result of the > change in syllable boundary with the loss of the final vowel when the [l] became > syllabic. Since [I] doesn't appear in open syllables, it was raised to [i]. . . > or, at least, that's my theory. I assume that in the paragraph above, your first "[I]" uses the twelfth letter of the alphabet, while the second "[I]" uses the ninth. Otherwise I'm really confused (and maybe even a bit "Ill"). In any case I doubt that Gov. Rhodes's pronunciation has anything to do with a syllable boundary shift, since the word 'fish', too, is pronounced by some Ohioans, and other Midwesterners (others on this list can probably enlighten us as to the feature's geographic boundaries), with a vowel that native New Yorkers seem to hear as [i] but which in my experience is a diphthong [Ij] (read "capital-ay jay"). I lived in Yellow Springs, OH, during the Rhodes administration, and don't recall hearing anyone say "OH-fish[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]l", so I assume it's an Appalachian feature characteristic of the southeastern area of the state. Peter McGraw Linfield College McMinnville, OR > > I moved into southern Ohio in 1968 from Syracuse in upstate NY, but I grew up on > Long Island, N.Y. in a suburb on NY, so the pronunciations I'm describing are > "foreign" to my ears since they're neither my native pronunciations nor the > "standard." Hope this helps. > ______________________________________________________ > David Bergdahl BERGDAHL[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]OUVAXA.CATS.OHIOU.EDU > Associate Professor of English Language and Literature > Ohio University / Athens fax: (614) 593-2818 > ______________________________________________________ >