Re: Shavian rhotics (was: Optimum number of symbols)
|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, May 26, 2002, 19:00|
At 3:06 pm -0500 25/5/02, Thomas R. Wier wrote:
>Although, if you think about it, most of the minimal pairs for
>/hw/ : /w/ are actually quite functionally distinct from one
>another, and so it's be no wonder that the distinction is
>lost in a great many dialects. Just consider: "whale : wail"
When we lived in south Wales, every so often we'd find get letter or
postcard where the address ended: WHALES :)
>pronoun and a noun), "whether : weather" (a subordinating
>conjunction and a noun), etc. All of these words have quite
>different distributions in the syntax.
Don't forget the other noun _wether_ (castrated ram). I remember a few
years back we had renamed the hard disk icon on a Mac "nice wether for ewe"
and some mocked us for not spelling 'weather' correctly (she didn't mention
the strange spelling of 'ewe').
But, apart from that, it's difficult to imagine a context in which the two
nouns will get confused.
At 9:53 pm +0100 25/5/02, And Rosta wrote:
>I had made myself swear to myself I wouldn't get involved in these
>English accents threads any more! But maybe one brief lapse won't
>hurt, says the addict.
I know the feeling - I often say the same to myself as they tend to get a
bit tedious and often end up with what happens in different dialects of the
>Rhoticity is very recessive in the north of England, and actual
>phonetic rhoticity (i.e. with /r/ realized by a rhotic rather than
>by a schwa) even more recessive.
Thanks - that I was not sure about.
>In terms of sheer weight of numbers
>of speakers, there is an enormous majority of nonrhotic speakers in
Tho rhoticity is still strong in Scotland & Wales. But I guess And is
right, because about a quarter of the population of Britain seems to want
to crowd into the south-east of England - and that is almost entirely
>so-called 'Cockney rhyme'. And lastly, if one hears old recordings
>of nonrhotic people reciting poetry or dramatic verse or very literary
>prose, there is a tendency for them (a) to restore nonprevocalic
>/r/, and (b) to tap /r/.
I'm sure you're right. Tho I don't hear the latter longer, the use of
r-colored or retroflex vowels by normally non-rhotic speakers when they are
reciting poetry or reading in church or reading literary prose is one I
still encounter here in leafy Surrey.
But next weekend I shall be in the Cotswolds where rhoticity still holds
sway in colloquial speech :)
Speech is _poiesis_ and human linguistic articulation
is centrally creative.