Fricative voicing in *houses*

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 10 21:55:56 UTC 2006

My unpleasant experience has been that City folk go with "Eli[s], Loui[s],
Syracu[s],' etc.


On 5/10/06, Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OHIO.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Fricative voicing in *houses*
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 02:34 PM 5/10/2006, you wrote:
> >From:    Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> >
> >>Among speakers of American Black English, the plural of the noun,
> "house,"
> >>is "hou[z]es." Likewise, the verb, "(to) house," is "hou[z]e." I
> personally
> >>did not become aware of the validity of the pronunciation of the plural
> as
> >>"hou[s]es" till perhaps ten years ago. Before then, if ever I noticed
> that
> >>anyone pronounced "houses" as "hou[s]es," either it didn't register or I
> >>assumed that the speaker was working-class or lower, therefore not a
> speaker
> >>of standard American White English whose pronunciation I needed to be
> able
> >>to emulate in formal settings.
> >
> >I (grew up in Maryland, south of DC, in the 70s) consistently say
> >hou[z]es and hou[z]e's, but hou[s]ewives; Jeanne (grew up in Maryland,
> >north of Baltimore, in the 70s), my wife, says hou[s]e's and
> >hou[s]ewives, but seems to be pretty much free variation between
> >hou[z]es and hou[s]es.
> >
> >If i was still out in Utah, i'd do a study of Boi[s]e vs. Boi[z]e. In my
> >experience, Boiseans (at least the upper- and upper-middle-class ones i
> >had contact with) are pretty emphatic that the pronunciation is Boi[s]e,
> >and i would repeatedly and firmly have my Boi[z]e-pronouncing self
> >corrected on it. However, my observation is that Boiseans themselves
> >show variation on this (and, in fact, a small study an undergrad from
> >Boise did for one of my classes seems to support this).
> >
> ><snip>
> >
> >--
> >David Bowie                               
> >     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
> >     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
> >     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society -
> I assume Syracuse might also be [s] or [z], New Yorkers?
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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