Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Dec 12 18:14:12 UTC 2001

Ya'll should remember that some schwa-like sounds are more [I] like
in southern speech. If one does not give some stress to the last
syllable (permitting [i]), it's going to end up as a schwa; if that
schwa is more /I/ like, some of y'all northerners might have been
fooled. That is, it may simply be vowel reduction with regional
quality variation.

On the other hand, that variation may have led to "real" /I/
pronunciations (although that would seem to require some degree of
stress). (I just noticed I called the phoneme rather than the phone
"real." Heaven help me!)

Of course, "medical -itis" (the spelling only) may also play a role here.

dInIs (who always notes the more [I]-like pronunciation of his last
syllable, even when unstressed, the farther south he goes)

PS: I'm just jerkin y'all around by putting the apostrophe in
different places in ya'll. Y'all don't need to write in about it no

>>  For what it's worth, I've seen the spelling "diabetis" fairly
>>  regularly from certain posters on the usenet diabetes support groups.
>>  I've never understood where this came from, as it's certainly not
>>  something I've noticed here in the northeast. One particular poster,
>>  who used to use this spelling *a lot* is a good enough writer that
>>  the "mis-spelling" really stood out. She's lived in Alaska most of
>>  her adult life, but, if I remember the autobiographical details she's
>>  posted correctly, she grew up in Michigan (I'm not sure where).
>This gets weirder.  I've never seen the *spelling* "diabetis", just the
>pronunciation.  But then, I may not be reading the right kind of literature.
>Anne G

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

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