parmeZHAN and de/not voicing final vowel

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Oct 3 13:44:46 UTC 2002

At 5:30 AM -0400 10/3/02, Frank Abate wrote:
>(Beth) Simon said:
>Not that I admit to actually renting _The Sopranos_, but pretty clearly
>they've been voicecoached to, among other things, not voice the final vowel
>on words such as parmegiano and prosciutto.
>The non-voicing of the final vowel in these words fits a pattern I have
>noticed among New Haven, CT, folks of Italian heritage (yes, the same people
>who say "ah-BEETS" for apizza, and who actually put "apizza" on signs for
>pizza parlors).
>In the New Haven area, ricotta is "ri-GOT" and mozzarella is "MOOTS-a-rel".
>There may be others like this, but I can't recall just now.
>As a person of half-Italian (well, Sicilian) heritage, but from Michigan,
>these struck me as very odd when I first heard them.  They are the regular
>prons around New Haven, though.  Even non-Italians say them this way, as
>when asking for something at a deli or on a(n) (a)pizza.
>Larry H or Alice F, please back me up on this, or people might think I'm
>making this up.
I already did so yesterday, Frank.  What I was saying then (or maybe
it was Tuesday) was that I hear the missing vowel all the time, but
wondered about the /dzh/ to /zh/ in "parmigiano".  I had other
examples of the vowel drop, including "capaGOL".  I usually hear
"moots-uh-REL", with final stress, though.  In fact, "fresh
mozzarella", with the final vowel pronounced, seems weird; has to be
"moots-uh-REL".  Very tasty, esp. with some nice pruh-SHOOT.


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