Date: Fri, 4 Mar 1994 01:05:18 CST


Subject: Re: Something old, something new

Since posting the [ku p[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ng] info I've off and on wondered how that nasal

got there. I wonder what old British dictionaries have. I don't have

time (or inclination) at the moment to dig further. Maybe someone else will

have a response to Gwyn's question.

In Tom Murray's study of St. Louis speech he reports the following interesting

data: informal midformal formal

% n % n % n

[u] in due, upper class 77 236 55 161 42 138

news, etc. middle " 97 294 90 269 81 242

lower " 100 314 100 351 100 301

[u] in coupon upper class 65 198 49 152 34 101

middle " 74 228 62 169 56 160

lower " 81 238 74 227 71 212

These data suggest that these items are not in the same set. I recall as

a teenager having conversations about whether 'coupon' should be said with

[u] or [yu]. The question also came up within the family regarding the

term 'coupe' for a type of car body, the latter having two questions, the [u]

/ [yu] and the final -e.

But I don't recall any debate in our family over the vowel in 'due' etc.

I had some high school teachers from North Midland areas (Dayton, Wash DC)

and thought their [u] pronunciation might be better, so I consciously worked

on changing several of the words in that set*and managed to get the whole

set changed. For some reason in the past few years (after age 55) I've

played with recovering the earlier pronunciations. These are things in

my awareness; I can't swear to which pronunciations I used 100% of the

time between age 16 and 55. *("That set" was 'due' 'new' etc, but not

necessarily 'coupon' and 'coupe'; I don't recall what whether I included

the latter in "that set")