Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 16:58:52 -0400

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

Subject: Re: Greasy et al.

Michael didn't mention the example which goes in the other direction -

'electricity' (which everybody knows has an /s/), but which some

Northerners render with a /z/. Is there a generalization (or trend) lurking

among these facts or not?

Dennis (always with an /s/) Preston (lo mismo)

We were talking about the "greasy line" the other day in class and the

questions came up of whether the same /s/ vs. /z/ contrast occurs medially

in other words and whether this might be regionally patterned as for

_greasy_. The following words were suggested as possibilities:

visa/Visa. I tend to hear the voiced fricative here in South

Carolina; is the voiceless alternative common in the North? Does

the Romance pronunciation with s influence its English pronunciation


Syracuse. Many folks I knew growing up (in Tennessee) and other

Southerners used the voiced fricate here. Network sportscasters

seem all to use the s.

breezy. I wouldn't have thought there was any variation here, but

I've noticed the pronunciation with s on national weather forecases,

as on the Weather Channel. Is this pronounced with s in the North,

perhaps by analogy with _greasy_?

I remember being told in graduate school that the greasy line pertained

to a once-off feature, but am not now so sure.

Michael Montgomery

Dennis R. Preston

Department of Linguistics and Languages

Michigan State University

East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA


Office: (517)432-1235

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