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Re: rhotic miscellany (was: Advanced English + Babel text)

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Friday, November 5, 2004, 12:34
Ray Brown scripsit:

> Those people who use the uvular trill, do so also when they speak English. > My guess that you simply did not come across any speakers who used the > uvular trill.
In Ill Bethisad, if you remember, the uvular trill (and perhaps by now the uvular fricative) is an eastern North American _Sprachbund_ phenomenon, affecting English, Brithenig, French, and perhaps the archaic Swedish of New Sweden. I do not think it has spread to North American Spanish or to Montreiano, however. I have no clue about the Judeo-Spanish of Mueva Sefarad (Newfoundland).
> The confusion is quite an old one in the UK. I think if prescriptivists > had not insisted on _lie_ (intrans.) ~ lay (trans.), _lay_ would have > become the norm for both long ago. My parents used only _lay_, reserving > _lie_ exclusively for "telling a falsehood". This seems to be common to > colloquial dialect over much of Britain.
And North America as well. The distinction is high-maintenance and low-functional-load and probably would be abandoned if it weren't such a convenient class shibboleth.
> >I hope "nucular" doesn't catch on and become dominant. > > ...and I hope it doesn't cross the Atlantic :)
Some people, it seems, now have two lexemes: "nucular bomb/reactor" vs. "nuclear DNA". It will be interesting to see, if it does spread to the U.K., whether it remains [nukj@l@(r\)] or whether a variant with [nju-] appears.
> For example, in English "waistcoat" had become pronounced 'weskit', > but the Victorian bourgeoisie that this too vulgar so the spelling > pronunciation now prevails.
Huh. I'm surprised. The object itself is rather archaic to me, but I learned the pronunciation "weskit" (from a dictionary, probably) and didn't know it had changed back. I note that in one of the last chapters of the _Lord of the Rings_, the Gaffer (Sam's father) says "What's become of his weskit [sic]? I don't hold with wearing ironmongery, whether it wears well or no." ObScure: English has made three separate compounds of "house" + "wife": the OE one is now pronounced ['hVsi] and spelled "hussy"; the ME one is now pronounced ['hVsIf], still spelled "housewife", and means "portable sewing kit", and the ModE one is of course ['hauswaIf].
> When I was young (chronologically) everyone called a _tortoise_ a > "tortus"
I believe all Americans say this (rhotically or not, as the case may be). -- So that's the tune they play on John Cowan their fascist banjos, is it? --Great-Souled Sam


Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>