Date: Thu, 30 Mar 1995 12:52:42 +0100

From: Maik Gibson llrgbson[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]READING.AC.UK

Subject: Re: see or say

Writing as someone else who hasn't read this stuff, my question would

be: have we ever had a pure [i:] in English? May be we have , but in RP

/i:/ is quite consistently realised as [Iy]. This could be derived, one

supposes, from a tendency to to make all long vowels and diphthongs

finish with a glide ( at least before another vowel), treating long vowels

in a similar way to diphthongs. Of course, this probably begs as many

questions as it answers!

Maik Gibson

On Sun, 26 Mar 1995, William H. Smith wrote:

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