Damien Hall djh514 at YORK.AC.UK
Mon Apr 5 21:57:43 UTC 2010

>From Leslie Decker.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 2010 15:45:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Popsicle
From: Leslie Decker <leslie at familydecker.org>
To: djh514 at york.ac.uk

I think that it also makes a difference where the stress is in popsicle,
and, by analogy, fudgesicle.  I (central Texas), would never have said
'fudgicle,' and when I first read this message, I was going over in my head
how fudgicle and fudgesicle could even remotely sound the same.  It then hit
me that the stress may be POPsicle and FUDGE(s)icle, in which case I can
more easily understand the reduction.  Around here, we'd be more likely to
say POP SICle and FUDGE SICle, with more or less equal stress on the first
two syllables.

On Mon, Apr 5, 2010 at 10:23 AM, Damien Hall <djh514 at york.ac.uk> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Damien Hall <djh514 at YORK.AC.UK>
> Subject:      Popsicle
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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
> right?
> Damien

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