Damien Hall djh514 at YORK.AC.UK
Mon Apr 5 15:23:18 UTC 2010

Larry and Paul commented on the non-pronunciation of the /s/ in
'Fudgesicle'. Possibly it is dialectal, but isn't the simplest explanation
phonetic / phonological? It seems to me very likely that in a sequence of

affricate /J/ + fricative /s/

- which could be simplified to

(/d/ +) voiced fricative /Z/ + fricative /s/

one of the two will get elided, at least in fast speech. If you believe in
the Obligatory Contour Principle (not saying I don't, but not everyone
does!), that would be one way of describing it.

That's the phonology, but in my view English phonetics make it almost
inevitable that one of these two phonemes will be elided in fast speech.
It's clear that English final voiced consonants are often / usually not
really voiced if you look at them on a spectrogram: usually the only
difference between 'sinch' and 'singe' is in the length of the vowel, which
is longer before the notionally- / phonologically-voiced consonant in
'singe', while both final consonants are voiceless. So for 'fudge' (though
I haven't done the spectrogram to check). I would expect that the final
consonant of 'fudge' would be [tS], the same as the final consonant of
'futch'.* If this is so, then we have

[S] + [s]

in the middle of 'fudgesicle', and I think that, if you say it fast, even
if you are saying both consonants, it's very difficult for the listener to
tell. It therefore sounds like 'fudgicle', and it's a short step from it
sounding like that to people actually making that their target
pronunciation and spelling it accordingly.

* I know that there's a little, ahem, fudging of the argument here, since
the final consonant of 'fudge' isn't word-final in 'fudgesicle'; but isn't
it likely that people analyse it as if it _were_ word-final, and therefore
final devoicing applies (turning 'fudge' to 'futch'), since the 'fudge'
syllable is only there in 'fudgesicle' because it is a word in its own



Date:    Sun, 4 Apr 2010 17:26:44 -0400
From:    Paul Johnston <paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU>
Subject: Re: Popsicle

I (and my parents)said that too!  Maybe Fudgicle is a Northeastern

Paul Johnston
On Apr 4, 2010, at 11:09 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Fwd: Re: Popsicle
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------
> At 1:17 AM -0400 4/4/10, victor steinbok wrote:
>> I am still trying to figure out why there are so many references to
>> Epperson coining Creamsicle, Fudgesicle, etc.
> Was it just me and people I knew who never pronounced the "s" in the
> latter?  It was always "Fudgicle", and I was surprised the first time
> I read the package to see that it was technically "Fudgesicle".  No
> such problems with the other (cream, corpse) varieties.  I guess if
> we start from "icicle" the process is similar to that for the
> -((c)o)holic family.
> LH
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Damien Hall

University of York
Department of Language and Linguistic Science
YO10 5DD

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