Catsup etc. (was: Re: Carbonated beverages)

Mike Salovesh salovesh at NIU.EDU
Tue Sep 10 01:42:32 UTC 2002


Oops. Once more, I mourn the lack of a universally-accepted IPA
equivalent for e-mail.  What I meant by the spelling alternatives
"catsup" vs. "ketchup" was an in-joke for Chicago dialecticians. In
Chicago, the vowel in the first syllable varies both by geography and
ethnicity all over the lower front vowel range -- more or less like the
contrast between "gat" and "get" in the context of today's vowel
shifts.  The contrast is, I think, phonemic rather than phonetic.  (Some
of you will see the following as I mean it: /æ/ vs. /e/. If it isn't
clear on your screen, that first phoneme is represented by digraph a +

No, I don't recall any native speakers saying "cat-sup". I don't recall
anybody spelling it "catch-up", either, but that spelling isn't a bad
representation of old Bridgeport and Back-of-the-yards Chicagoese.

Before anybody asks, I also wrote "weiner" on purpose as another example
of "heathen non-Chicagoan", with a tip of my hat to Barry's
prescriptivism regarding "wiener".

-- mike salovesh    <m-salovesh-9 at>    PEACE !!!

"Peter A. McGraw" wrote:
> I'm a little late reading the rest of Mike's message (excerpted below), but having finally done so, I'm curious:  Do Chicagoans actually pronounce it "catsup"?  I grew up seeing it spelled that way on labels, with a few "ketchups" and at least one "katchup," until all the labels I'm aware of today finally seemed to settle on "ketchup"--but the only person I ever heard actually pronounce it (very deliberately) "cat-sup" was my paternal  grandmother, who also said "Jap-pan," "port-trait" and "spaghetta" and in general was a font of original spelling pronunciations and hypercorrections.  (FWIW, she was born in California but spent her married life in Iowa.)

Does anyone live in an area where "catsup" is actually the local
pronunciation today?

 Peter Mc.

 --On Monday, September 2, 2002 2:45 PM -0500 Mike Salovesh
 <t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU> wrote:

> > "Thou shalt not put catsup on thy hotdog."
> >
> > (Those who speak heathen non-Chicagoan may need to substitute such
> > barbarisms as "ketchup",
> ****************************************************************************
>                                Peter A. McGraw
>                    Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
>                             pmcgraw at

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