dialect of Elena Kagan

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed May 12 02:00:29 UTC 2010

At 9:21 PM -0400 5/11/10, Geoff Nathan wrote:
>I've only done a quick listen to the link Tom posted, but she has
>pretty much a classic, if understated, New York accent. Both the
>/ay/ vowel and the /oh/ vowel are typical NYC. The way she says
>'law' and 'all', as an open-o with a schwa off-glide (not raised,
>however, so not what used to be a lower-class version), and the /ay/
>vowel (as in 'time') with a slightly rounded nucleus (technically
>backwards script-a).
>I tried using IPA in these messages a few turns back and it turned
>into gibberish, so I won't bother.
>She's not an 'awe-dropper', of course, because she lives east of the
>Mississippi (simplifying immensely...).

And it's obviously the *correct* accent, since she's a graduate of
Hunter College Elementary School (albeit 15 years after me, and Geoff


>Geoffrey S. Nathan
>Faculty Liaison, C&IT
>and Associate Professor, Linguistics Program
>+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
>+1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics)
>----- "Tom Zurinskas" <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
>>  From: "Tom Zurinskas" <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM>
>>  Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 8:54:12 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
>>  Subject: dialect of Elena Kagan
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  -----------------------
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Tom Zurinskas <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM>
>>  Subject:      dialect of Elena Kagan
>>  Elena Kagan.  I can't hear West side NYC at all.  Pretty standard USA
>>  accent.  Not an "awe dropper".
>>  Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL7+
>>  see truespel.com phonetic spelling
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