Midwest US "Grandparents" Dialect
I have the impression that at some point in PA and OH, the pre-ww2 generation moved vowels toward the front of their mouth, thus "beg" was pronouced with the same vowel as "vague", Fish became feesh and "no" because "noo" (though "noo" for "no" was usuallu only used when they wanted to place additional emphasis on "no", as in "No way!" "push and bush" became "poosh and boosh".
Is this vowel shift documented? It's different from the Northern Vowel shift.
This accent you're describing sounds like how a Russian would talk or something.
That seems to be practically the opposite of the NCVS, because in rather advanced NCVS the realizations of historical /ɛ/ and /ɪ/ are centralized, such that historical /ɛ/ becomes [ɜ] (or [ɜ̟] in careful speech), and /ɪ/ becomes [ɪ̠] (generally still transcribed [ɪ]) in strongly stressed syllables or very careful speech and [ɨ] in other positions.
<<That seems to be practically the opposite of the NCVS>>
Exactly, Travis. I think what I'm describing is the forwrd movement of the vowel whereas it seems to me (I can't read the symbols [ɜ̟], etc) the NCVS is moving the voewls toward the back of the mouth. Musch has been documenetd on the NCVS but I wonder if the forward shift has been noted.... perhaps not since it affected a smaller population and seems to be dying out, whereas the NCVS is in full swing.
I'm told (though I've never heard it in all my years in Texas and Louisiana) that "Davenport" is widely used. Also, my grandparents (all but one of whom are from Texas, while the exception grew up in Arkansas and moved to Texas) use the /warS/ pronunciation.
My linguistics professors told me that no one really knows where the intrusive /r/ here comes from. It is also present in the names of Washington and Washington, D.C.
I'm hoping someone on this forum will be able to help me with a question...
"I grew up in Central Ohio. My grandparents, who were also from Central Ohio, had a way of pronouncing certain words that I have never heard anywhere else or read about. They were native English speakers and their parents were also from the same area. So there should not have been any "foreign" influence in their vowels. They pronounced the following words or vowels in an odd way:
Fish: They pronounced the "i" as "ee" like in "beet, sheet or sleet" So 'fish" was pronounced "feesh".
Push, bush, etc: They pronounced this vowel the same as most people would pronounce the "oo" sound in "stoop", loop, shoot". So it came out as "poosh".
They called a couch or sofa a "davenport"
Instead of saying "leave him alone" they said, "leave him be" or "let him be".
Has anyone else heard this kind of accent? No one I know in Central Ohio speaks this way today."
Benny, are you sure your grandparents aren't actually German?
"Ya, vee are Americaaans, vee eat feesh"
''No one I know in Central Ohio speaks this way today''
That's true, Central Ohio (and Central Indiana) are one of the last places where old Midwestern Newscasters General Accent is spoken. They are becoming Cot Caught Merged, but no big deal, it's a much more standard change than NCVS.
I just came across this recording of a very old woman from Kentucky (quite close to Ohio) talking. You can hear quite tense "I" and "E" sounds in her speech.
>> I'm told (though I've never heard it in all my years in Texas and Louisiana) that "Davenport" is widely used <<
>> They called a couch or sofa a "davenport" <<
Hmm. Everyone in my family always calls those things a Davenport
(young and old alike). I finally looked it up on wikipedia, as people keep mentioning this on English forums. Davenport used to be trademarked term for a certain brand of couch (which is also called a "sofa"), but then became genericized like "Kleenex" or "Asprin". Just a couple of days ago, someone came over and called our davenport a "sofa". For some reason "davenport" and "couch" sound normal to me, but "sofa" sounds very funny. In fact I actually thought they wanted to sit on the rocking chair (the other piece of furniture in the room), until they sat on the davenport. I've read the word "sofa" in books, but I've never heard anyone refer to a davenport as a "sofa" in real life or on television. It's always been the "davenport" or sometimes the "couch". So I learned a new word--"sofa". Now I'll probably start calling it the sofa.
Star, may I ask what US region you're from? It's interesting that you've never heard the word sofa. In most of the country (I've lived in more parts of the US than I would like), no one has ever heard Davenport.
Star, may I ask what US region you're from? It's interesting that you've never heard the word sofa. In most of the country (I've lived in more parts of the US than I would like), no one has ever heard Davenport. <<
I'm from the Northwestern US. I didn't mean to say that I had never heard the word "sofa", it was simply that I didn't know what one was exactly--I just knew it was some sort of furniture. We have a piece of furniture in our living room that's called the davenport. I also know that some people also call it the "couch". We also have a rocking chair. When the guy came over, he said he would sit on the "sofa", which I thought was the rocking chair rather than the davenport--as the word "sofa" to me sounded more like a type of chair rather than a davenport. But now I know that sofa = davenport.
That's interesting. I didn't know Davenport had made it to the NW. Cool. Thanks for your response!
At least here in southeastern Wisconsin, the only word used for such is "couch"; while "sofa" is known, it is not really used here in everyday life, and as for "davenport", that is practically unknown here.
I have never heard "davenport" before.
If someone had said this to me prior to reading this post, I would have satten on the back-porch.