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Re: Spelling pronunciations (was: rhotic miscellany)

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Monday, November 8, 2004, 13:54
Ray Brown scripsit:

> again /@'gejn/ or /@'gEn/ (so also with _against_) > ate /ejt/ or /Et/
I have only /@gEn(st)/ and /ejt/. /@gejn(st)/ seems British to me, and /Et/ comes across as an archaic vulgarism, the sort of thing my father (1904-1993) said when he was being funny.
> Of course there's the well known _ain't_ /Ent/ (which I was certainly > familiar with) that JRRT puns with _Ent_ in LotR.
I never even heard of this, nor realized the presence of a pun, until you told us about it; for me "ain't" can only be /ejn(t)/. I think all three of these pronunciations are general among North Ams.
> We've given up wearing doublets long ago :)
Yes, which is why I said that waistcoats (not meaning vests) were archaic in my understanding, not knowing that Rightpondians use the word in a different sense.
> I've been talking all the time about 'British waistcoats', which you > LeftPondians quaintly call 'vests'.
By "quaintly" do you imply that "British waistcoats" were once called "vests" there as well, as trousers were once (and still by us) called "pants"? (The sentence "Johnny went to the bathroom in his pants" is a touchstone for the understanding of American English, depending as it does on the North American meanings of "bathroom" and "pants", and the highly specific idiom "go to the bathroom in one's [nether garments]", which does *not* entail the presence of a bathroom in either the British or the American sense.
> Over here, as I guess you know, 'vest' always means > what you call an 'undervest'
Recte "undershirt". Now undershirts come in two varieties, those which are essentially T-shirts (but with short enough sleeves that they are not visible even under short-sleeved shirts), and those which have mere straps running over the shoulders, in current slang called "wife-beaters" for reasons too disgusting to go into. I would conjecture that by "vest" you Rightpondians mean primarily the latter type, and only secondarily (if at all) the former type? I can see the comparison between the latter type and actual waistcoats/vests, but it seems to me the essence of a waistcoat/vest is its sleevelessness, whereas T-shirts most definitely do have sleeves. (I hope this is clear.)
> >I've also heard a Frenchified [-wAz] in British English. > > Ach!!!! How pretentious & ignorant can a person get?!
Well, to be fair, some who use it are probably p. & i., and others just i.
> I think the second syllable got changed through the influence of > _porpoise_.
So it seems, yes.
> The French for _tortoise_ is in fact _tortue_ <-- late Latin _tortu:ca_
This "tortuca" itself has an interesting etymology; it's from _tartarucha_ 'of Tartarus (fem.)' < Greek, distorted (:-) by _tortus_ 'twisted', referring to the animal's feet. -- John Cowan Original line from The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold: "Only on Barrayar would pulling a loaded needler start a stampede toward one." English-to-Russian-to-English mangling thereof: "Only on Barrayar you risk to lose support instead of finding it when you threat with the charged weapon."


Joe <joe@...>
Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>CHAT of vests & tortoises (was: Spelling pronunciations)