Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Jul 10 22:25:15 UTC 2002

Is there a merger of the words anywhere (i.e., people who confuse
"pawning" with "bird of prey"?


>Yes, it did sound a lot like "hock" when he pronounced "Muncie Hawk
>Shop."  I don't think there's any merger of the words here, though,
>just of the pronunciation.
>John Baker
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Beverly Flanigan [mailto:flanigan at ohio.edu]
>Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2002 3:56 PM
>To: American Dialect Society
>Cc: Baker, John
>Subject: Re: hawk/hock
>Did you ask the owner to pronounce the name of the shop? He may say [hak]
>(with 'short o') for both words even if he has the lexical distinction. I
>have a similar example somewhere in my files, where "hawk" seems to be the
>clear intention but "hock" is on the sign (or in the ad); in this case the
>two words seem to have merged along with the vowels.
>On the other hand, in southern and SE Ohio (all the way to Pittsburgh) the
>opposite conflation will occur, with both vowels going to [O](or 'open o').
>(I should say "almost," since the merged vowel is not quite that far back.)
>Newcomers to our area who hear the name of our local river may thus spell
>it "Hawking" instead of "Hocking." When I myself was new, a neighbor asked
>my son if he liked to play "hawkey," and we didn't know what he was talking
>about for some time.

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
740 Wells Hall A
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office - (517) 353-0740
Fax - (517) 432-2736

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