pronunciation of "Syracuse"

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Fri Dec 31 15:50:42 UTC 2010

Sounds like it could be part of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, whereby /I/ > /E/ in certain environments, so milk, pillow > melk, pellow.  Lowering before a typical American English /r/ would be even more favored, I think, than before /l/, and it's already happened in the 17th c. in /IrC/ environments (as in girl) on the way to [@r] outside of Scotland and parts of Ireland and until recently, Northumberland throughout English.
On Dec 30, 2010, at 6:14 PM, Alice Faber wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Alice Faber <faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU>
> Organization: Haskins Laboratories
> Subject:      Re: pronunciation of "Syracuse"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On 12/30/10 6:09 PM, Charles C Doyle wrote:
>> On the TV broadcast of the oddly-named New Era Pinstripe Bowl football game (Syracuse vs. Kansas State) the announcer has been consistently pronouncing "Syracuse" as [sEr at kjuz].
>> Of course, a historical (and orthographic) /E/ preceding /r/ has frequently come to be manifested as [I]--for instance, in "here" or "era"--but is the opposite process common?
> That's a fairly common regional pronunciation. I'm not sure what the
> limits are, but I suspect it's around Syracuse itself, as a lot of the
> folks I hear it from are sports analysts and announcers whose degrees
> are from there.
> --
> ========================================================================
> Alice Faber                                       faber at
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