Date: Sun, 26 Mar 1995 21:38:37 -0500

From: "William H. Smith" Wh5mith[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM

Subject: Re: see or say

Responses to my query concerning the shift in tense front vowels have noted

that it was consistent with Labov's principle of vowel shifts. Actually, I

had started to include a reference to Labove in my posting, but decided not

to in deference to my own ignorance, since I have not yet read his work and

am familiar with it only through references to it at conferences. As I

understand it, in vowel shifts, peripheral (tense) vowels tend to rise and

interior (lax) vowels tend to lower. If ash is interior, then the southern

shift /e/ [Ey] [aey] is consistent with that principle. However, /i/

[Iy] [ey] represents a move back to the periphery. Either I misunderstand

Labov, or my ears are off (either/both of which are likely) or this change is

an exception to Labov's principle. I had hoped to get an answer to which of

these is correct without embarassing myself too much, but no such luck.

Bill smith

Piedmont College