Date: Thu, 9 Mar 1995 16:20:09 -0800


Subject: Re: suite /sut/

On Thu, 9 Mar 1995, Tom Murray wrote:

Does anyone have any data, formal or informal, on *suite* pronounced /sut/, as

in "My parents just bought a new bedroom /sut/"? It occurs more frequently tha

n you might think, and not just among speakers with relatively low levels of ed

ucation. (My mother-in-law, for example, who has a Master's Degree and many ye

ars of experience both in public education and in business, regularly uses the

pronunciation, as does my wife, an attorney.) Beth Simon and I are collecting

attestations, and would appreciate any help that readers of this list can provi



How are you defining "attestations"? Complete with speaker name and

date, or more loosely defined?

I first encountered this pronunciation when we were buying a house in

Chattanooga, TN, in 1970, then learned that it was the universal

pronunciation there. A fellow graduate student at the U. of Wisconsin from

Arkansas, when I repeated it to him, told me that anyone in Arkansas who

said [swi:t] for 'suite' would be perceived as putting on airs.

Not long after that, to my surprise I heard my great aunt use the [su:t]

pronunciation. She had no higher education but was well read and came

from a family that considered itself "refined." Her speech

(phonologically, at least) was northern, though she lived most of her life

in Oklahoma (mother born in Illinois, father born in England).

Peter McGraw

Linfield College

McMinnville, OR