Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Wed Dec 12 21:33:00 UTC 2001

I've been assuming that messages citing spelled -tes vs. -tis variations
are referring to the pronunciations [iz] and [@s], respectively, rather
than [@s] and [Is].  I would expect an [@s] vs. [Is] variation to be
north/south regional, but the question seems to be whether it's regional to
use [iz] on the one hand or [@s]~[Is] on the other.

As an additional bit of evidence that something other than regionality is
at work in the [iz] variant, I recall the first time I ever saw the word
written, sometime during my childhood.  I was surprised to discover that I
had been "mispronouncing" it all this time (as something analogous to the
many -itis diseases), so, figuring that I must simply have misunderstood
the word when grownups said it, I adopted the spelling pronunciation with
[iz].  (I might even say, with the greatest of [iz]--though I'm not sure I
use it consistently when I'm not thinking about it.)

Peter Mc.

--On Wednesday, December 12, 2001 1:14 PM -0500 "Dennis R. Preston"
<preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU> wrote:

> 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.

                               Peter A. McGraw
                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
                            pmcgraw at linfield.edu

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