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Re: Mary, merry, marry

From:Roger Mills <romilly@...>
Date:Monday, July 21, 2003, 23:20
John Chalmers wrote:

> I grew up in Nebraska and as near as I can tell, I pronounce Mary, merry,
> marry identically. In fact, they rhyme with Perry, perry, ferry, fairy,
> Larry, Harry, hairy, Keri, Kerrey, Kerry, carry, berry, and very.
Change Nebraska to South Dakota, and that's exactly my history too. Speaking of "yeah"-- that was more like [ja:] (German and Scandihoovian influence probably), and severely criticized by teachers. We probably saw "yeah" in comic books but thought it was just our "yah". I know I didn't hear the [jæ ~ jE@] pronunciation till I went East, where it seems to connote a little scorn-- yeah, sure....Oh yeah?.
>However, I spent some time in New England > in the 50's and people there did distinguish Mary, merry and marry.
Likewise. I think the distinction is best maintained in the east and the south. An aging Southern Belle of my acquaintance in FLA definitely has ['me_irI] 'Mary', but I'm not sure she distinguishes merry and marry.........