"The Battle of Bataan" heard as

W Brewer brewerwa at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 13 05:32:09 UTC 2013

WG: <<<"The Battle of Bataan" heard as Ba-TAHN>>>
WB:  I struggle to have a label for the American predilection to replace
*a* [ae, ash] with *a* [AH]. (Didn't Mark Twain comment on the elegant
broad *a* [AH] vs. vulgar narrow(?) *a* [ash]?)  Something similar happens
with French borrowings into American English (hypergallicism), Fr. IPA [a]
(low, front) > AmE. [AH] (low, back), not [ae] (lower-mid, front):  In
elegantese, back *a* is euphonic, front *a* dysphonic. (All this doubtless
abetted by a perceived prestige of British English [AH] vs. SAE [ae] in
e.g. pass, dance, half).
   BTW, Randi Kaye on CNN the other day actually pronounced *assuage* as
[uh-swAHzh], with [ei] > [AH], [dzh] > de-affricated [zh]. (Something about
a woman who wanted to "assuage her testimony".)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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