California fronting*

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Mon Sep 13 23:58:16 UTC 1999

Hmmmm. I don't find this for the cool pronunciuation of cool at all. What I
find which distinguishes the cool from the unhip is a lowered and laxed
pronunciation  of cool (eventually making cool and cull almost
homophonous). Of course, none of these vowels are likely to be fronted
since they come before /l/, a well known inhibitor to F2 increase (i.e.,
fronting). Other /u/, /U/, and /o/ vowels, not before /l/, seem to be
fronting radically, not only in the so-called Southern Shift, but also in
the youth-culture California fronting referred to earlier (where youth
culture means anybody under forty some-odd).

dInIs, who is so old that his thermal and evaluative senses are homophonous

>And, of course, the pronunciation of "cool" (evaluative, not thermal!) with
>exaggerated initial fronting that is spelled "kewl". What are the earliest
>citations for that?
>-- Mark
>* Supply the sounds of The Mamas and the Papas as background to the subject

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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