Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just call me Henry Higgins

The linguistic map still says differently, but in our house there's evidence that The Northern Cities Shift has arrived in Philadelphia.

Actually, I don't know whether the entire shift has arrived, since I'm not listening to all of Z.'s vowels that closely but the final feature of the shift is that a word like "pants" is pronounced "pee-ants," because all the other vowels have shifted over and therefore to stay differentiated from whatever vowel sound has bumped it out of its old place in the world of differentiated vowel sounds, that "a" in pants gets diphthongized. And that is just how Z. is saying "piants."

In the past week or so, I've started actively combating it, and it's starting to take. Today I heard her say, spontaneously and uncorrected, "hahnds."

I don't care. I'd rather wash her "hahnds" than her "hiands."


Magpie said...

Funny. There are many many words that Miss M. pronounces badly, but it amuses me too much to do anything about it. The nasalness of "piant" might send me over the edge though.

Julia said...

Oh, man. Even I understand what that might sound like and why you would want to stomp it out.
Also? Never leave your kid with me for any length of time-- my accent repeated might just finish you off. :)

(un)relaxeddad said...

The argument in our house is generally over 'bath' with a short hard 'a' versus 'bahth' with a long, posh 'ah'. 'Bath' would be me but dudelet definitely favours supermum's vowels over mine.

susan said...

I'm curious why you're intervening--maybe you'll write more about that side, sometime?
Curious Girl pronounces her last name (part of which is mine) in a way totally different than I do, b/c of vowel raising. (And I"m tickled to find a bloggy buddy writing about this sort of thing--it's not every day I get to leave a comment about vowel raising.)