question on pronunciation in Jespersen

Gordon, Matthew J. GordonMJ at MISSOURI.EDU
Wed Nov 5 19:08:15 UTC 2003

My guess this is related to the traditional British (and American) pronunciation using the lax vowel [I] in words with  unstressed final -y (e.g. happy, lucky). Wells, in _Accents of English_, describes the change to the tense vowel [i], which he memorably labels "HAPPY Tensing", as one that has taken place in both British and American English in the second half of the 20th cen.

-----Original Message-----
From:   American Dialect Society on behalf of Stahlke, Herbert F.W.
Sent:   Wed 11/5/2003 12:24 PM
Subject:             question on pronunciation in Jespersen

In a section on the suffices -Vnce and -Vncy, Jespersen writes, "A good deal of vacillation between -nce and -ncy may partly be attributed to the fact that the plurals -nces and -ncies are identical in sound, e. g. inadvertences = inadvertencies, impertinences = impertinencies."  I have never noticed.  To me the pronunciations are distinct.  Would this be a first-half of the 20th c. British pronunciation?


More information about the Ads-l mailing list