fronted /oU/

Tim Frazer tcf at MACOMB.COM
Sat Nov 4 18:45:25 UTC 2000

Labov's diagram in Eckert "New Ways. . . ." (1991:23) reports fronting
ofboth /uw/ and /ow/ as characteristic of the southern vowel shift, as does
Tim Habick in the same volume.

----- Original Message -----
From: Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
Sent: Friday, November 03, 2000 10:04 PM
Subject: Re: fronted /oU/

> tim frazer reports fronted /oU/ turning up in the south midlands only
> in post-ww2 generations.  this is my experience, though i would have
> said even later than that.  when melanie lusk and i taught a
> dialectology course at ohio state in 1980, one of our students did a
> pilot study on a few vowel variables in ohio, O among them.  she found
> a sharp distinction between her younger northern ohio (cleveland,
> toledo, akron/canton) urban speakers (who had fronted variants)
> and everybody else (who didn't).  twenty years ago, we weren't hearing
> the fronted variants in the ohio part of the south midlands, even
> from people born around 1960.
> fronted variants for the young urban northern midlands speakers were
> *very* high-frequency, especially in accented words.
> (my own variety includes some fronted variants in accented words, at
> least for a few lexical items, in particular NOSE and ROSE.  this
> is presumably a spread west and into the suburban/rural areas of
> eastern pennsylvania from philadelphia - in the 1940s and '50s.)
> i'm away from my library right now, but i believe that the berkeley
> survey (a decade or so back) of younger california speakers showed
> very high frequencies of fronted variants (categorical for some
> speakers) in its subjects, especially female ones.
> i'm sort of dubious about an RP origin for the u.s. fronting(s).  it
> could just be that the fronting is a phonetically natural fortition,
> or strengthening (which would predict its predilection for appearing
> in already strong, in particular accented, positions).  it's something
> that could have appeared independently in several locations - in
> southern england, in the middle atlantic region of the u.s., in the
> southeast u.s., and in california.
> arnold (zwicky at

More information about the Ads-l mailing list