Geoff Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Tue Sep 30 10:22:48 UTC 2008

Not only do I own Gleason's text, I studied with him--in fact, he's the
person who turned me on to linguistics.  The vowel in 'gonna' is
actually a nice American Structuralist story.  The Trager-Smith-Bloch
vowel system, as most of you know was a 3X3 system of monophthongs with
the optional addition of three glides--/w,y,h/
The nine vowels were

i    barred-i    u
e     schwa     o
ae    a    open-o

These were exemplified as follows:

sit   just*   put
set   putt    gonna*
sat   sot     sought

The asterisks were the ones of interest.  Gleason told us that the
barred-i and the short o were tricky, and seemed to be there primarily
for symmetry, but (I think) Trager thought perhaps adverbial 'just' (as
in 'I just got here') could be an example of the former, and 'gonna'
would be an example of the latter.  Gleason certainly treated the whole
analysis as stretching the data to fit the theory.


Geoffrey S. Nathan <geoffnathan at wayne.edu>

Faculty Liaison, Computing and Information Technology,
and Associate Professor of English, Linguistics Program
Phone Numbers (313) 577-1259 or (313) 577-8621
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI, 48202

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

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