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It was recently pointed out to me that I pronounce “any” ( and the related anything, anymore, etc.) as /ˈɪn.i/ instead of /ɛn.i/. Does anyone know a regional variation of American English that has this /ɛ/ to /ɪ/ shift here?

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  • Variation in vowels is correlated not only with regional speech, but also with socioeconomic status and political views. There's more involved than where you live. – jlawler Nov 19 '19 at 17:17
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There is the pen/pin merger in the South and Northern Ohio. But that doesn't necessarily explain your observation. I also pronounce "any" and "innie" the same, but I'm from Seattle and don't have that particular merger at all. You should consider other similar examples: many / mini (the former has ɛ/ɪ in free variation). For me the change only involves two words, not for example Benny, penny, Denny, Henny, Jenny, Kenny, Lenny (okay, there is a name-forming pattern underlying most of these), nor semi-, demi-, hemi-.

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  • Interesting, I also live in Western Washington and have an intermediate articulation in “many”, but don’t have the pin/pen merger. As far as I can tell, this isn’t a documented feature in “Pacific Northwest” or Western American English. Looks like my friends will be having to put up with some informal surveys. – Andrew Nov 19 '19 at 18:44

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