sarchasmic: (innocence)
[personal profile] sarchasmic
One of the things I tried to describe to my wife a year ago, shortly after we had moved to Illinois, was this cunningly annoying vowel thing that the locals do when they speak, especially with the letter "A".

She listened to me try to describe it, then nodded and said, "You're talking about the flat vowels that Midwesterners have. My voice teacher spent a LOT of time working so that I didn't have it."

And I can understand why. I spent an unhealthy amount of time trying to imagine how I might write it so one could actually *hear* it upon reading it. But I never got it.

Fast forward 9 months later. Yesterday to be precise. My wife's describing something from her job, when she starts to transition using the word "and." And there it was. And. Rand. Dan. Anything with that specific vowel sound, and it gets perverted, defiled, even, by that flattening.

I think I've figured out how to describe it for those of you who have yet to...lay ear? upon it. It's tricky, but here's what I've come up with:

1) Take any "a" sound from the above list (and, Rand, Dan).

2) Add an "eh" as if you were to say "The letter N" with the "N" in mind. Eh--got it?

3) Now place that "eh" in front of your "a" vowel. "Eh-and we were going to see Deh-an lambast the Reh-and Corporation."

4) Speed it up so it's now one vowel. You may need to transition a "Y" sound between the "eh" and the "a". "Eh-yand that meh-yan tried to pleh-yan a new pronunciation guide for the masses."

It's very nasal, and if you can picture a middle-aged white woman with overly done up hair staring disapprovingly at you as you do this, it may help.

Then again, it may not.
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July 2009

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