l-deletion before [y]

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Tue Jun 20 15:41:12 UTC 2006

Yes, it's a well-documented feature of "Southern" speech
(and probably other dialects too).  And there's the
loathsome epithet "Dubya"--part of the compaign by the
president and his henchpersons to construct him as a


---- Original message ----
>Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 11:24:02 -0400
>From: Damien Hall <halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
>Subject: l-deletion before [y]
>Another forward from another (Philadelphia-based) list.  As
usual, if anyone can
>shed any light on the question, please reply to this list
*and* to the original
>Many thanks -
>Damien Hall
>University of Pennsylvania
>Has anyone taken note of a tendency in (American?) English
to delete l's if
>followed by a high front glide, i.e. [y]. I have observed
this very often in
>the following items:  (I'll use [@] for schwa).
>        billion                [bIy at n]
>        million         [mIy@]
>        volume                 [va:yum]
>        William                [wIy at m]
>        civilian        [sIvI:y at n]
>        (I'm a) tell ya        [tE:y@]
>When I hear stock market reports from New York, I hear "on
a volume of 10
>million shares" pronounced [va:yum ... mIy at n] so this seems
to be a New
>York thing, not just a Philadelphia thing.
>I don't hear it in "Willy" i.e. the conditioning factor
seems to be not a
>high front vowel, but rather a glide: [y], and the stress
seems to be on
>the vowel preceding the deleted lateral; (I can't think of a
>counterexample with stress on the next syllable, but maybe
there are
>There are probably other examples, but these are the main
>My question is, has anyone noticed this, and/or written
about it? (And if
>not, why not? :-) )
>Hal Schiffman
>haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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