arKANsas (P.S.)

Geoffrey Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Wed May 19 14:51:08 UTC 2010

But I don't see. The last 'a' of ArkansAs is a low back rounded vowel in my dialect (rhymes with 'law')--and a quick hallway check shows that it has the same vowel in Michigan (my dialect is a weird hybrid British/Canadian).
Of course, for 'awe-droppers' it will continue to rhyme with 'law', but will now have the same vowel (mutatis the necessary mutandes,as Paul Kiparsky used to say, not followed by an /r/).
That is, phonemically /ark at nsa/ for 'awe-droppers' and /ark at nsO/ for those of us with too many low vowels.


Geoffrey S. Nathan
Faculty Liaison, C&IT
and Associate Professor, Linguistics Program
+1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)
+1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics)

----- "Laurence Horn" <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:

> From: "Laurence Horn" <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 10:31:00 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
> Subject: Re: arKANsas (P.S.)
> ---------------------- 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: arKANsas (P.S.)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 12:53 AM -0400 5/19/10, Baker, John M. wrote:
> >  >From
> >
> >
> >1-4-105. Pronunciation of state name.
> >
> >    Whereas, confusion of practice has arisen in the pronunciation
> of
> >the name of our state and it is deemed important that the true
> >pronunciation should be determined for use in oral official
> >proceedings.
> >
> >    And, whereas, the matter has been thoroughly investigated by the
> >State Historical Society and the Eclectic Society of Little Rock,
> >which have agreed upon the correct pronunciation as derived from
> >history and the early usage of the American immigrants.
> >
> >    Be it therefore resolved by both houses of the General Assembly,
> >that the only true pronunciation of the name of the state, in the
> >opinion of this body, is that received by the French from the native
> >Indians and committed to writing in the French word representing the
> >sound. It should be pronounced in three (3) syllables, with the
> >final "s" silent, the "a" in each syllable with the Italian sound,
> >and the accent on the first and last syllables.
> Oops, I see what you're getting at.  Nobody pronounces the last two
> "a"s of Arkansas "with the Italian sound".  The first one, yes.
> Guess the legislators got carried away.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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