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Re: Nuffink etc, was: another silly phonology question

From:Keith Alasdair Mylchreest <kam@...>
Date:Sunday, December 3, 2000, 3:09
On Fri, Dec 01, 2000 at 11:58:37AM -0500, Vasiliy Chernov wrote:
> On Fri, 1 Dec 2000 01:02:17 +0000, Keith Alasdair Mylchreest > <kam@...> wrote: > > >On Wed, Nov 29, 2000 at 06:43:05AM +0000, Raymond Brown wrote: > > >In the English East Midlands we used to say /'s@m@t/ for "something", where > >does that come from? "Anything" and "nothing" were usually /owt/ and /nowt/ > > Can these come from OE a(wi)ht, na(wi)ht, I wonder? (That is, actually, > *aught, naught)? > > > Basilius
Almost certainly, but the odd thing is that aught/naught are characteristic of very elevated and speech, imitating the AV and Shakespeare, whereas "oat" and "note" are definitely substandard, and in between "educated" speakers use "anything" and "nothing". The Northern versions [a:wt] and [na:wt] are better known. Interestingly I don't remember ever hearing these words in Scotland. While I'm at it, IMHO /wiD/ is the usual pronounciation in England for "with". I'd say it's a case of unstressed /T/ >> /D/ and then the /T/ form going out of use and the originally unstressed version being generalised. (A good tip there for generating sound changes and irregularities, as some words e.g. 1st and 2nd person pronouns, occure more frequently unstressed than stressed and so often part company with the rest of the paradym). The Scots have words like "outwith" stressed on the second syllable which might have helped to preserve the idea that the full sound is [T]. When unstressed the Scots naturally say [wI], loss of final unstressed dental and labiodental fricatives being a common feature of Scots (but they keep the velar [x] which is long gone in England!) Keith