Halloween pronunciation

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Nov 2 05:34:33 UTC 2001

At 11:03 AM -0600 11/2/01, Mark Odegard wrote:
>Could the questions here be related to the so-called 'Northern Cities vowel
>shift'? I gather the NCVW moves the cat vowel (ae) into the territory of the
>(a) as in 'father' vowel.
No, I don't think so.  (Even if the above correctly characterizes the
fate of [ae] in the NCVW, which I don't think it does.)  The areas
I've lived in where the "Holloween"/"Hollowed" pronunciation is
widely attested (Metro NYC/California/Southern New England) aren't
part of the Northern Cities shift area, nor are some of the other
areas that listees have mentioned where "Holloween" is celebrated.  I
think it's a lexical rather than a phonological shift, and for me at
least it's optional.  (I can't honestly say whether I usually say
"Halloween" or "Holloween", and I suspect I say both.)  Other words
that once rhymed with "hallow" still have the digraph for me
obligatorily:  callow, gallow(s), sallow, tallow.  (Other
orthographic -allow words have other pronunciations:  wallow with a
broad/script a (rhyming with the shifted version of "hallow"),
marshmallow with an E.)


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