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

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Fri Jan 25 15:42:33 UTC 2008

From:    Matthew Gordon <gordonmj at MISSOURI.EDU>
> On 1/24/08 8:53 AM, "David Bowie" <db.list at PMPKN.NET> wrote:
>> From:    Damien Hall <halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>

>>> No, they didn't ignore that.  As far as I'm aware, none of Labov's work on
>>> the
>>> quality of any vowel analyses unstressed tokens, for that very reason.  For
>>> this particular case, I've actually written (under his direction) formal
>>> tests
>>> to measure ash-tensing in that very word, and the approved sentences were as
>>> follows:
>>> - It's very difficult to get a good cheesesteak, but at _________ you can.
>>> - These days, Coke cans are made of __________.
>>> So, stressed tokens of *can* (n.) and *can* (v.).

>> 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.")

>> Or is north of Baltimore (your subjects) that different from south of
>> Baltimore (me) even in prosodic sorts of things?

> 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.

Wow--who knew? I just checked this on Jeanne (my wife, from Aberdeen,
Maryland), and she has [kAn] (using A for short-a), though only with the
vaguest sort of secondary stress, if there's any stress there at all.

Maybe north of *Wlimongton* is what's prosodically different! :-)

Of course, it's hard for me to tell what i do in that context, really,
since my stressed verb 'can' is [kEn], anyway--but i still don't think i
have any stress at all on the auxiliary in that context in the more
natural of the two possible natural stress patterns for the sentence.

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.

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