Dennis R. Preston
preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Dec 12 18:14:12 UTC 2001
Ya'll should remember that some schwa-like sounds are more [I] like
in southern speech. If one does not give some stress to the last
syllable (permitting [i]), it's going to end up as a schwa; if that
schwa is more /I/ like, some of y'all northerners might have been
fooled. That is, it may simply be vowel reduction with regional
On the other hand, that variation may have led to "real" /I/
pronunciations (although that would seem to require some degree of
stress). (I just noticed I called the phoneme rather than the phone
"real." Heaven help me!)
Of course, "medical -itis" (the spelling only) may also play a role here.
dInIs (who always notes the more [I]-like pronunciation of his last
syllable, even when unstressed, the farther south he goes)
PS: I'm just jerkin y'all around by putting the apostrophe in
different places in ya'll. Y'all don't need to write in about it no
>> For what it's worth, I've seen the spelling "diabetis" fairly
>> regularly from certain posters on the usenet diabetes support groups.
>> I've never understood where this came from, as it's certainly not
>> something I've noticed here in the northeast. One particular poster,
>> who used to use this spelling *a lot* is a good enough writer that
>> the "mis-spelling" really stood out. She's lived in Alaska most of
>> her adult life, but, if I remember the autobiographical details she's
>> posted correctly, she grew up in Michigan (I'm not sure where).
>This gets weirder. I've never seen the *spelling* "diabetis", just the
>pronunciation. But then, I may not be reading the right kind of literature.
Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at pilot.msu.edu
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