Date: Mon, 21 Feb 1994 20:39:23 -0600 From: PETER GINGISS Subject: Houston The question of the origins of Houston had come up before on the Linguist list as a side issue to the discussion of differences between /yust[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]n/ and /hyust[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]n pronunciations. According to Norval Smith: > The funny thing is that the place that is ultimately the source of > the name Houston - whether the place in Texas gets its name from Sam > Houston or not - Houston in Renfrewshire, Scotland, is pronounced > [hust[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]n]. It is a Scots name, hoose (i.e. "house") + toon > t[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]n (i.e. > "town" (actually rather "settlement")). And Rosta of the U.K. wrote: > I have always pronounced _Houston_ as if the first syllable is that > of _who_ rather than that of _hue_. I wasn't arguing about URs in any > theoretical sense. There may be a British/American difference here. > Webster's 3rd lists /(h)yu:st[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]n/ - which conforms to your > expectations. _Houston_, being a proper noun, isn't in the OED or > other British Dictionaries I have to hand. But both Webster & OED > have _houstonia_, named after a scottish botanist. Webster gives > /(h)yu:'stouni[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]/, with alternatives /hu:-/ and /hau-/, but OED has > only /hU'st[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]Uni[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]/ (I reinterpret OED 1st edition pronunciation into > more conventional form). I've asked three other English people with > non- regional accents, and they all say _Houston_ with 1st syllable > as in _who_. I hope those who wrote to the lInguist list in 1991 do not object to my requoting their words; I found them most interesting. ___________________________ Peter Gingiss PJGingiss[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Department of English (713) 743-2947 University of Houston Houston, Texas 77204-3012