the curious phonology of wisconsin

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Fri Dec 3 01:29:51 UTC 2004

On Nov 28, 2004, at 12:59 PM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

> From Arnold Zwicky:
>> ....
>> 3.  the Oregon Effect: in very frequent, familiar words (like "Oregon"
>> for Oregonians and "Wisconsin" for Wisconsinites), vowels with
>> tertiary
>> stress tend to lose it, with concomitant vowel reduction and (where
>> appropriate) resyllabification; this is what gives the Wisconsinite
>> pronunciation of "Wisconsin". ....
> A very nice summary, thanks.
> I confess to having used the furriners' pronunciation of "Oregon" (with
> "-gon" like in "pentagon" etc.) in my youth. But I never used
> "Wiss-consin"
> ... or neither "Illinoise". I guess WI and IL were closer states and
> the
> names were more familiar. I don't suppose that it is claimed that
> (e.g.)
> residents of northern IL near the WI line universally use the
> outsiders'
> version?

<guffaw>  no, of course not.  though every so often i have students who
think that isoglosses really do resolutely follow state lines or the
lines on the maps in the textbooks.

> It is interesting that my RHUD gives the pronunciation /wIs kan s at n/
> -- and
> speaks it so -- while my MW3 shows /w@ skan(t) s at n/ (with no other
> choice
> in either work).

very cute.  AHD4 and NOAD have, like RHUD, only the first, which is
what i would have expected.


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