Pronouncing Wisconsin

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Dec 21 17:57:24 UTC 2006

At 11:37 AM -0600 12/21/06, Scot LaFaive wrote:
>I've noticed lately that many commercials played in Wisconsin seem to have
>people clearly pronouncing the /k/ sound in the second syllable, and it
>sounds odd to me. From what I gather from 31 years in Wisconsin, it seems
>that natives generally don't clearly pronounce the /k/; I think we tend to
>voice it as /g/, but I may be wrong in my analysis (my ears don't
>distinguish so well, the lazy fools). Just curious if anyone else has
>noticed this or can confirm or correct me.
Is it really that it's a /g/?  We've discussed earlier the
resyllabification as /w@ skan s at n/ (rather than the /wIs kan s at n/
heard elsewhere), which results in the /k/ not being necessarily
voiced but unaspirated because of the shielding by tautosyllabic /s/.
There's even a jocular pronunciation I've heard on the TV, in
particular ESPN SportsCenter anchor Kenny Mayne who says of various
WI-based athletes "he's from 'Sconsin", with the first (resyllabified
open) syllable entirely dropped; I assume he didn't invent this,
although I don't recall hearing the bisyllabic pronunciation when I
lived there ('77-'80).

If you're hearing the /k/, I assume the syllabification is also the
second of the two indicated above, with a non-null degree of stress
on the first (wIs-) syllable.


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