low back merger--austentacious

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 13 08:04:41 UTC 2010

I might have, Joel, without noticing it. I once asked the late, great
Peter Ladefoged how he was unable to hang on to his Britspeak, after
so many years of hearing Amerspeak, even from his own children. He

"I don't relate to American English."

Boston in the '70's through the 2000's always reminded me of Saint
Louis in the 1940's: a slightly-politer version of East Texas. Instead
of "No Colored" or some such, signs in Saint Louis read, "We Reserve
The Right To Refuse Service To Anyone." Boston has few such signs, if
any. But, there was no place I ever went in Boston, including Harvard
Square, where someone didn't shout "Naygah!" at me.

"I don't relate to Northeast English."

Somethings I do notice, though. Here in NEPA, people use "youse"
[j^z]. When I was a kid in Saint Louis, white people actually
pronounced "youse" as thought it was spelled "use." (Or maybe not. I
was fresh from Texas, in those days, where everyone used "you-all
y'all" and "youse" may have struck me as [juz] because I'd never heard
it before, *except* as a pronunciation of "use.". (Black speakers used
"you-all, y'all," needless to say.)


On Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 9:28 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: low back merger--austentacious
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 3/12/2010 07:34 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>Uh, is there some difference in pronunciation between "ostentatious"
>>and "austentatious" for some speakers who assume that their manner of
>>speech represents the norm?? I did not know that. What is the relevant
> For at least this ostentatious speaker, who has been told his speech
> does not represent the norm and he must not assume so.
> "Ostentatious" has an "ah".  "Austentatitous", and "Austen", have an
> "awe" (perhaps more like "awed"; less W).  And remember, I know
> nothing about describing phonetics.
> Wilson, didn't you encounter such a distinction in the Northeast?
> Joel
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