fronted /oU/

Alice Faber faber at ALVIN.HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Sat Nov 4 21:18:39 UTC 2000

Beverly Flanigan said:
>Yes, and as I've said earlier and elsewhere, southern/southeastern Ohio
>represents both the upward extension of the Southern Shift and the westward
>spread of the West Penn/Pittsburgh vowels (see Hankey 1972, in the Raven
>McDavid festschrift).  Someone cited West Virginia's vowel fronting also;
>our eastern end of Ohio shares a lot of features with WV.  When I mentioned
>"older people" though, I was citing from my 20-year perspective in
>Ohio.  The very first sound that struck my ear when I came for my interview
>at OU in 1980 was the fronting of /ow/--not in OU gownies, of course, but
>in many then middle-aged townies (my landlady that year was 40-ish, which
>would date her from the 1940s or a bit earlier).  I would guess that it has
>spread through southern Indiana and Illinois in the period Tim mentions.

Yup...we had a speaker at the lab a few weeks ago whose phonology was so
interesting that I almost stopped paying attention to the content of her
talk. She had extremely northern (but not Northern Cities) tense /ae/,
along with nearly monophthongal /aI/ (as well as some other more southern
features). It turned out she's from Cincinnati (I asked), and she
volunteered that she grew up with double modals as well. I didn't notice
/uw/ and /ow/ fronting particularly, but that might be because it's pretty
common to hear fronted vowels, especially /ow/, here in Connecticut. I have
formant plots from CT college students for which /ow/ is roughly [EU]; I
don't know if that's the sort of variant that started this thread, though.
Alice Faber                                       tel. (203) 865-6163
Haskins Laboratories                              fax  (203) 865-8963
270 Crown St                                   faber at
New Haven, CT 06511                               afaber at

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