Stress patterns on words spelled with final <el> (longposting)

Mike Salovesh t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Sat Aug 26 06:30:47 UTC 2000

"Douglas G. Wilson" wrote:

> There are parallels. In Detroit I knew a street named Devonshire,
> usually pronounced /'dEv at nSajR/. (There are also Goethe [usually
> /'gowTi/ with T = theta IIRC] and Freud [/frud/] streets in Detroit.)
> But in Chicago there is a major street named Devon, virtually always
> pronounced /d@'vAn/ [A as in Chicago 'pop' /pAp/, 'pa' /pA/]:
> apparently the general impression is that this street was named after
> a Frenchman named de Von.

The nsme of Chicago's Devon Avenue is a good illustration of more or
less recent vowel shifting.  Fifty years ago, the most common
pronunciation had a lower back vowel in that stressed second syllable:
d@'vawn, using aw in place of turned c. I hear the low central A of
"pop" or "pa" that Douglas Wilson notes much more from younger speakers
than from those whose Chicagoese goes back to the 1940s or earlier.
(Back in the 1930s, my home was at 6332 North Richmond; Devon is 6400
north on Chicago's grid plan. I always use the lower back vowel.)

You've got Goethe right.  Chicago's Goethe Street has an unvoiced theta,
but otherwise sounds like "go thee"; the stress is on the first
syllable. Pronounce Goethe as in German and you wouldn't be likely to
find Goethe Street by asking Chicagoans.

Back to Detroit:  What was that I heard about José Campau Street?
(Excuse the spelling -- I've heard the name, but I haven't seen the
street signs.)

-- mike salovesh                    <salovesh at>

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