More /str/ > [Str] data points

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Sep 7 04:14:03 UTC 2011

On Sep 6, 2011, at 10:29 PM, Neal Whitman wrote:

> /str/ > [Str] has been discussed here before.

> In this blog post, I list some
> data points I've come across personally, mention some of the discussion on
> ADS-L, and link to a couple of online articles about (one by David Durian;
> one by Richard Janda and Brian Joseph).
> Neal
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

As I've mentioned here before, it's also possible to track this by keeping geography constant and vary time.  As you note in your post, one data point for retroflexion in "street" type words is Long Island, and more specifically the south shore town of Long Beach, in the news recently during the Hurricane Irene coverage, when CNN kept playing their loop of a small house crashing into the boardwalk incessantly.  (There's never been any drainage in the town, nobody has basements, the sewers back up, and it basically has a lot of problems with rain.)  Anyway, when I was going to high school there 50-54 years ago, I'm pretty sure nobody said "shchreet" or "shchraight", but when I began listening to Mike Francesa on WFAN in the 1980s, I immediately noticed his consistent use of this palatalization.  I speculated (in our thread on this from January 2010 but I'm pretty sure earlier ones as well) that ethnicity might play a role:  based on a non-scientifically controlled sample, the!
  palatalized pronunciation might, I guessed, be more frequent among Italian-American speakers like Francesa (or his erstwhile partner Chris "Mad Dog" Russo, also from Long Island) than among Jewish American speakers like me.  Or it could be the working-class vs. middle-class factor Durian mentions.  But it might also be an innovation that arrived after I left town, like sushi.  (Not sure donburi has hit Long Beach yet.)


The American Dialect Society -

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