0

TIn percInt of all DImmocrats in the SInnate are sInsitive to this concern, but the represIntative from PInnsylvania thEnks that some common sInse should be applied.

Two questions:

Am I mistaken if I think that most Americans do not pronounce words in this way?

Am I mistaken in thinking that lately every narrator on every TV commercial and every news broadcaster in the U.S.A. has been doing this? It seems as if there are no exceptions, and since I expect news broadcasters and the like to be exceptionally superstitious, I wonder if someone with a crystal ball ordered them to do this (via some published pronunciation guide distributed to people in their line of work) and they're fearful of disobeying?

  • 1
    Is there a sample of this somewhere? – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Sep 9 '15 at 5:59
  • 1
    Yes, you're going to have to provide some evidence to support your claim. – Mari-Lou A Sep 9 '15 at 6:03
  • 1
    Yes , please link to some audio clip. There are certainly some regional dialects which pronounce the E more like an I, but US national newscasters traditionally have not used such a dialect, as far as I can tell. How recently have you noticed this phenomenon? – Brian Hitchcock Sep 9 '15 at 6:09
  • 2
    Okay, I don't doubt it. But different people hear vowels differently, just as different people pronounce vowels differently, so we'd like to hear some particularly blatant example for ourselves. I haven't had a TV for the past four years, so I have not experienced the shift you cite. – Brian Hitchcock Sep 9 '15 at 7:35
  • 2
    This might be a good question to take up with the American Dialect Society. They are quite interested in changes of pronunciation. IMO it's not really a question about English Language & Usage. Also, your digression about superstition and crystal ball is extraneous and should be removed from your question. And your claim that all broadcasters made this shift requires samples from each network and many commercials, both before and after the shift, to be convincing. It's better not to use "all", "always" or "never" in this forum, as they invite disproving by a single counterexample. – Brian Hitchcock Sep 9 '15 at 7:46
3

Q1: No; it appears you are probably correct. While I don't know the population numbers, here's a map to give you some idea of the geographical distribution:

map of pin-pen merger in the United States

http://www.ling.upenn.edu/phono_atlas/maps/Map3.html

Q2: Yes, as far as I can tell. I just looked on Hulu for a random news broadcast, and found "Good Morning America" for Wednesday September 2, 2015.

Here is what I heard:

“three men suspected of killing” @ about 18:00
chemicals bought in China” @ 18:30 or so
“so much coming up on this Wednesday morning” @ 18:50

They did not sound to me like "min," "kimmicals" or "Winzday." As far as I can tell, all of these had the regular /ɛ/ sound rather than /ɪ/. So there are certainly exceptions, assuming this is even a real trend at all.

1

You are not mistaken about Q 1. A good sampling can be found on Youtube videos about 'fails', how-tos and politics.

About Q 2, I haven't noticed that on NBC or ABC news, but it's possible it has been so gradually introduced that it didn't grab my attention.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.