Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 09:22:20 -0400

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: American accent: nasal

I'm not sure why Americans are taking it on the chin here. In Poland,

English (not just American English) is the language which is spoken with a

mouth full of hot noodles, they say. Not far from chweing gum , I think.

Valley girl, by the way (as opposed to adolescent Eastern female) is often

caricatured by denasalized (not nasalized) phrases, but, as Bill Labov

pointed out some time ago, folk usage applies the term 'nasal' to both

execessively nasalized and denasalized speech, at least in American



him that in order to learn English he should keep in mind that Americans

have a "chewing gum" way of speaking. I had never heard that one before

and have no idea of what it means. I wonder if nasal is better than

I understand perfectly what he means. I'm not sure I can explain it to

you well -- it's one of those things that just has to click -- but I think

you just answered my question. Ever hear the nasalised dialect of a valley

girl? All Amis do that to some extent. It's what made me stand out

among my friends back home. That can, to some extent, be associated with

the effect of chewing gum -- and also with the type of person that

stereotypically chews gum.

Jason Wilke


Dennis R. Preston

Department of Linguistics and Languages

Michigan State University

East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA


Office: (517)432-1235

Fax: (517)432-2736