Date: Thu, 12 Sep 1996 09:56:50 -0400


Subject: Re: Greasy et al.

In AS 69.3 I reported on the bizarre distribution of /s/ vs /z/ in the noun

houses. For me, and for most dictionaries both fricatives are /z/ but there

are many speakers who retain the /s/ of the singular, and a significant

number who make the medial fricative /z/ but the final one /s/. Some also

have medial and final /s/. All four variants occur in all parts of the

country. But it seems to me that I'm hearing a lot of devoicing or

half-voicing of final /z/ anyway, in all words- was, does.... Can anyone

comment on that?

Similar changes can be found in Joseph, which for me and I believe

historically has /z/, but is /s/ for many now here in NJ and elsewhere. Also

Moses for me is /z/ with final /s/, but some dicts. list it also with final

/z/. So for me Moses and roses do not rhyme.

Lynn notes that Syracuse is pronounced with the vowel of air locally, but

I grew up just outside the city and think that's a minority pronunciation,

perhaps used mostly by older speakers. It alwas has /s/ up there.

Dale Coye

Princeton, NJ