Jason (jcreed) wrote,

I was eavesdropping on a girl on the bus coming back home from oakland tonight. I heard her pronounce "and" as something I think is transcribed like /eənd/ but the schwa is very short --- I would think it would be a diphthong except I don't know how to write the "semivowel version" of schwa as as /j/ is to /i/ or /w/ to /o/. The fact that I then noticed she was talking about her fiancé finishing up, I quote, "bible school" pretty soon set off some reaction in my thinking that made that particular vowel shift seem more natural to me. I think this is because I associate it with the sort of speech I grew up with in Madison, all the more so with Chicago in particular, which isn't too far away, and I also tend to stereotypically imagine the peoples of my Midwestern native soil as being kinda religious all other things being equal. So as soon as I had conjured up this (again, I confess, totally prejudicial) image of this woman as playing the role of rural-wisconsin-town-pastor's-wife, the way she talked abruptly shifted from sounding remarkable to sounding natural and familiar. I'm not really trying to dwell on the fact that I'm a jerk that judges people on the bus by their diphthongs and choice of husbands, but rather to point out how impressed I was how much context has to do with how people's speech comes across.

Here's some audio samples of people from Chicago:

It makes me feel right at home listening to it, especially the "Kristen and Jason" recording --- listen to them saying wedding band.
Tags: dialect, phonology

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