LINGUIST List 5.362

Mon 28 Mar 1994

Sum: Canadian Raising: Partial Summary and New Query

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Canadian Raising: Partial Summary and New Query

Message 1: Canadian Raising: Partial Summary and New Query

Date: Fri, 25 Mar 94 23:18:30 ESCanadian Raising: Partial Summary and New Query
From: <>
Subject: Canadian Raising: Partial Summary and New Query

I would like to thank all those who have responded to my queries
about 'Canadian Raising'.

 'Canadian Raising' is the phenomenon whereby
the diphtong in words like 'write', 'wife', etc. is higher than in
words like 'ride', 'wives' etc.

 Both published work (by Vance among others) and the responses
to my queries on LINGUIST show clearly that EVERY speaker from the
Northern US who has raising has some number of lexical exceptions
to the rule (most commonly perhaps, 'cider' and 'spider' have the
higher diphthong while 'rider' has the lower one).

 Published work on Ontario speech (where Joos first identified
this process) suggests that the process there has fewer lexical
exceptions. Based on the work of Chambers and on the responses to
my recent inquiries on LINGUIST, it appears that even there the
words 'icon', 'Nikon', 'daikon', and 'Cyclops' vary from speaker to
speaker (and occasionally the same speaker has both
pronunciations), as opposed to 'psycho' (which everybody seems to

 The few responses I have gotten indicate that there are most
Ontario speakers have the low vowel in cider and spider (unlike
many Americans) but even here I have found one speaker with the
high vowel in spider.

 If anybody else from Ontario would like to let me know what
they say in these words, I would be grateful.

 I would also be interested in Ontario pronunciations of the
following words:


 (I am only asking for responses from Ontario, because I am
looking for lexical exceptions, and it is apparent that speakers in
other areas have those aplenty, while this has been less clear for
Ontario speakers.)

 (I should perhaps add that while it is clear to everyone that
"Canadian" in 'Canadian Raising' is a misnomer, David Stampe
suggests very strongly that "Raising" is also a mistake here. He
considers it certain that (historically at least) we are dealing
with 'Lowering' in the environments where there is no "Raising"
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue