flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Wed Jul 17 20:22:08 UTC 2002
At 11:54 AM 7/16/2002 -0500, Millie Webb wrote:
>As for the hock/hawk thing, I was born and raised in Saint Paul , all the
>way through college. I have always distinguished between Don/Dawn,
>hock/hawk and palm/pom pairs. I cannot claim I precisely "pronounce" the
>'l' in "palm", but the vowel is definitely longer, and the 'l' creeps in --
>even on a spectrogram (I have checked). I find it annoying when people say
>"hockey" like it's spelled "hahcky" though too. In my experience, the
>people from Chicaahhhgo are the ones who do that, and pronounce don=dawn.
>Then again, I have always been interested in language (since childhood), and
>take on the accents of the people around me very easily, whether I mean to
>or not (trust me, it happens to me all the time). If I am extremely relaxed
>and talking fast, I am told you can still hear that I am from Minnesota
As a Minnesotan who just got back from a few days with the family, I can
attest (with earlier writers) that the /a~O/ distinction is just about gone
in younger Minnesotans. One 40-something niece still has it, but her
sister doesn't, and none of their kids have the split. Mpls/St. Paul is
most advanced in the merger; after 50 years in the Cities even my
70-year-old brother has it before /t/ (predictably triggering merger first,
if I recall J.C. Wells' order correctly), while my sister and I don't. I
have no distinction between 'palm tree' and 'pom' though--no /l/ or
lengthening in the first; however, the 'palm of my hand' has a backer
vowel--not quite to 'thought' but more like British 'lot' (to cite Wells'
By "hahcky" I assume you're referring to the front vowel raising common in
the Northern Cities Shift. But why is it "annoying"?
BTW, I don't see the name of the city spelled "Saint" Paul very often. In
St. Louis, the full spelling was reserved for Saint Louis University (as if
commemorating the French king/saint, although I don't know if that was the
original intent of the name in 1819; SLU's symbol is the fleur-de-lis, plus
that crazy Billiken). Isn't this distinction generally kept in St. Paul too?
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