Local schwas (Was Re: 50 "weird" U.S. place names)

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Sun Jan 19 18:42:45 UTC 2014

On a related note, I got curious this morning about how many place names
in the US (or elsewhere) are shibboleths for distinguishing nonlocals
from locals because of reduced vowels in unstressed syllables. For
years, it's seemed to me that nonlocals can never reduce the second
vowel in "Louisville" (KY) enough to suit the locals. [luIvIl]? No, not
good enough. [lu at vIl]? No! [lu at v@l]? No! What do you want from me, [luvl]?!

To get the list started, I"ll add a local small town, Lancaster, OH,
whose second syllable must be [@], not [{], and sometimes it seems that
what they really want is complete syncope.

And the one that reminded me of this topic was Greenville, NC, which
someone being interviewed on the radio noted that he said as [grinvIl],
but which he said is supposed to be pronounced [grinv at l].


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list