The duration of /ae/ and /ai/

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Wed Jan 23 14:48:42 UTC 2008

From:    LanDi Liu <strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM>


> I was very disappointed with Labov's "Atlas of North American English" for
> this reason.  In that book (or at least the free parts I could see on the
> web), it was clear that in tracing differences in pronunciation of the word
> "can", and dividing it's pronunciation into dialects based on whether or not
> the vowel was tensed, Labov et al. seem to have ignored that function words
> can be accented or not, affecting the tensing of ash: "I can do it." (not
> tensed because it is reduced) vs. "Yes, I can." (tensed because it is
> accented).

Actually, since i worked on a bit of the acoustic analysis for that
project, i can say that we limited ourselves to stressed words.


p.s. I never use ash in the verb can, stressed or not. (Stressed can i
pronounce [kEn] or, when i'm really relaxed, [kIn].) I was once flat-out
told by a linguist who should have known better that i was lying when i
said that. It's my second-favorite bizarre wrong thing i was told by my
linguistics teachers.

David Bowie                               University of Central Florida
     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 -

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