Query: women > wimming

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Sat Jan 22 04:00:52 UTC 2005

On Jan 21, 2005, at 7:29 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Query: women > wimming
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
>> --On Friday, January 21, 2005 5:18 PM -0500 Wilson Gray
>> <wilson.gray at RCN.COM> wrote:
>>> FWIW, my
>>> mother is unique in my experience in pronouncing "women" as [wI m at n].
>> ???  Am I being dense?  Aside from "wimming," I can't think of any
>> other
>> way it could be pronounced.  Or do you mean she divides the syllables
>> before the [m] instead of after?  Or inserts a pause?  Or have I been
>> miss-pronouncing women all these years?
> As Wilson says, the standard version would have an unstressed [I] in
> the second syllable rather than [@], but I don't think I'm alone in
> having trouble detecting quality differences in unstressed English
> vowels, as in the old "roses"/"Rosa's" minimal pair, or "hand in
> glove"/"hand an' glove".  (I mentioned a number of these in my
> "spitten image" paper from last year's AS.  Besides [I] and [@], it's
> claimed that some speakers have a vowel closer to barred-i, which I
> won't try to asciify.)
> larry

IMO, I can distinguish "roses" from "Rosa's," at least when I speak
these aloud to myself. That is, I admit the possibility that I wouldn't
necessarily be able tell the difference under any other circumstances.
But there's no difference at all that I can discern between "hand in
glove" and "hand and glove" in normal speech, even when I speak them
aloud to myself. And, of course, "spit and image," spitten image," and
"spittin' image" all fall together.


More information about the Ads-l mailing list