Christian Velásquez Pañganiban (tisoi) wrote in linguaphiles,
Christian Velásquez Pañganiban

Rebecca Black

I'm sure you've heard of Rebecca Black's Friday by now. If not, then watch this. (sorry to have to do this to you!).

But there were two linguistically-related things I have noticed among people who are making fun of her and her song.

One is that people are reportedly hearing Friday as "Fried Eggs." It's a characteristic of Pacific Northwest English to pronounce /ɛ/ (as well as /æ/) as [eɪ] before /ɡ/ (for the IPA-challenged - eggs sounds like ayggs). As far as I know this doesn't happen in California, where Rebecca is from, so I am guessing that the person who heard this is from the PNW or some other region where they do this, such as the northern Midwest and Utah (according to Wikipedia).

For those that do not pronounce it that way, is the Friday to Fried Eggs thing a bit of a stretch for you or what? Would you get the joke?

The second thing pokes fun at Rebecca's California accent. Particularly, this image:

The vowels are shifting in California. So the /ɛ/ in "friends" lowers to [æ] (as in "cat"). The relevant part of the video is at 32 seconds. I'm too lazy to run this under Praat and get a spectrogram, but it sounds more like [ɛ̞] to me (not quite, but getting there!). But I suppose people hear [æ]. What do you think?

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