/ei/ ~ /i:/ in "Kean"

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Tue Dec 17 18:21:40 UTC 2002

>I did not mean to suggest that there was any shame attached to
>calling /iy/ "long e." Some of my best friends.....


>On Tue, 17 Dec 2002, Dennis R. Preston wrote:
>#There is indeed if you suffer from established northernism, but they
>#remain quite distinct for southern US speakers. As is well-known (in
>#the so-called Southern Vowel Shift), /ay/ monophthongizes and shifts
>#front (so that "rhyme" sounds like something between "rom" and
>#"ram"). This leaves the /ay/ slot open, and /ey/ (what you call "long
>#a") lowers its onset, and, straynge to say, /ey/ sounds like /ay/.
>#Once /ey/ has fallen to /ay/, its space is vacated and the onset of
>#/iy/ ( what you call "long e") lowers into /ey/ space, giving just
>              ***
>Not me, but my wife, highly literate but not a phonologist. I should've
>added quote prefixes to her lines.
>#the Kean ----> Kane result you are looking for.
>Thank you.
>#>My wife asks:
>#>When I was listening to NPR last night, the reader said "Thomas Kane"
>#>had been appointed to head the commission investigating 9/11. Who?
>#>"The former governer of New Jersey" she went on. Gee, I thought, isn't
>#>that Thomas Kean, pronounced "Keen"?
>#>It is indeed. So my question is, did the reader misread her text, or are
>#>there places where it is sometimes hard to distinguish a long e from a
>#>long a?
>#>-- Mark A. Mandel
>#>    Linguistic Data Consortium, University of Pennsylvania

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic,
      Asian & African Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027
e-mail: preston at msu.edu
phone: (517) 353-9290

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