Letters to the Editor SpecGram Vol CLXIII, No 4 Contents Directional Source-Marking and Enumerated Utterance Syntactophoric Replacement in Notso Yi—Keith W. Slater

The Great Clouseau Vowel Shift

By Tel Monks

Unlike the Great Vowel Shift and the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, the Great Clouseau Vowel Shift (henceforward the GCVS) has received, at best, scant attention in the literature. The GCVS is a shift in some vowels due to a combination of raising, lowering, fronting, backing, tensing, laxing, monophthongization, rinsing and repeating.1


Geographically limited to an area of Northern France, the trend was first noted in Edwards (1963), and perhaps reaches its peak in Edwards (1975).


Mostly taken from Edwards (1975):

Fronting of /ɔ/

Dog: /dɔg/ becomes /dœg/. Similarly bomb changes from /bɔm/ to /bœ̃m/

Fronting of /u/

Room: /rum/ becomes /ʁym/

Raising and backing of /ʊ/

Good (as in That felt good!): /gʊd/ becomes /gud/

Fronting and raising of /ʌ/

Monkey: /mʌnki/ becomes /minki/


Crazy: /kɹɛɪzi/ becomes /kʁezi/
I: /ɑɪ/ becomes /ɑ/
know: /noʊ/ becomes /nœ/
that: /ðæt/ becomes /ðet/. [I know that: /ɑ nœ: ðet/]

Note: since the fronting of /u/ leaves an empty space in high back position, that allows /ʊ/ to be raised and backed to fill the blank. This is the principle described in Monks (2008, in preparation) as “Phonemonology abhors a vacuum.”


In order to lend weight to this argument, an ANOVA was run with Newman-Keuls correction for multiple comparisons: +P<0.05; *P<0.01; **P<0.00, from which the reader may draw its own conclusions.

It can surely be no coincidence that this phenomenon first appeared at a time when those languages spoken in what are now these United States were as far different as those same languages are now from those in current use and previously. And this process is by no means complete but continues until this very day, so much so that it is impossible to say what might have beenor indeed what might be in the future. Whereas the author draws no parallels between the process described above and the rise of the Tea Party (also known as the Emergence of the Unmarxed), well, just verb. sap., that’s all.2

Further research may be warrantless, and will almost certainly be fruitless, but will be essential in this very important field of study.


Edwards, Blake (Director) (1963). The Pink Panther [Motion Picture]. USA: United Artists.

Edwards, Blake (Director) (1975). Return of the Pink Panther [Motion Picture]. USA: United Artists.

Monks, Tel (2008). Phonemonology and Existentialism. Unpublished manuscript.

1 This multidirectional, unconstrained shift is sometimes known as Scrabbling, by analogy to the initial shuffling of the tiles in a game of Scrabble. Of course, a complete Scrabbling language would have to include mixing (suppletion) of vowels and consonants, which might affect recoverability.

2 Compare with the Occupy <Your Name Here> Movement, which may clearly be seen as a reaction to the simultaneous Richness and Paucity of the Base.

Letters to the Editor
Directional Source-Marking and Enumerated Utterance Syntactophoric Replacement in Notso YiKeith W. Slater
SpecGram Vol CLXIII, No 4 Contents