Ash-tensing in *ANAE* (was: The duration of /ae/ and /ai/)

Damien Hall halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Jan 25 15:34:39 UTC 2008

Apologies for the delay in responding - I get this lis by daily digest, so I've
only seen the latest exchange just now!  Regarding

- It's very difficult to get a good cheesesteak, but at _________ you can.

David said:

>> How did you make sure that the final verb was stressed? It took me a
>> couple readings to realize that you can say the first sentence without
>> heavy stress on the blank, with stress trailing off after that. (You
>> know, "...but at *Pat's* you can.")

then Matt:

> Maybe the point is that can't reduce the /ae/ in the aux in this sentence,
> at least I can't. Even though the main stress would be on the word filling
> in the blank, I still can't say [kIn] etc. here.

Yes, that was the point.  You're still going to get an ash in *can* (no pun
intended, but I'll leave it) in this sentence, whether it's secondary-stressed
(most naturally, I think) or primary-stressed (which would be unnatural and to
be avoided in tests like this).

Incidentally, the full version of the sentence was

- It's very difficult to get a good cheesesteak, but at _________ in Manayunk
you can.

since the study was done in Roxborough, and it's a point of pride around there
that the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia are in fact served at D'Alessandro's
on Ridge Avenue.  Sadly, I've not had the chance to try it out yet.

Damien Hall
University of Pennsylvania

The American Dialect Society -

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