Halloween pronunciation

Donald M. Lance LanceDM at MISSOURI.EDU
Fri Nov 2 18:49:50 UTC 2001

I think we're focusing on the wrong thing in trying to solve the Holloween matter.  It is
much more likely associated with what is happening in the articulation of /l/ in
contemporary American English -- stronger velar and lighter apical constriction.  A
strongly velarized /l/ mitigates against the production of a preceding front vowel.


Laurence Horn wrote:

> 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.)
> Larry

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