End of ADS-L Digest - 25 Feb 1994 to 26 Feb 1994 ************************************************ There are 10 messages totalling 261 lines in this issue. Topics of the day: 1. Unpredictable British local pronunciations (2) 2. "Shut on the water" 3. attitude & prescription 4. Webster's NG in coupon 5. Prescriptivist horror stories 6. "Fall" as transitive verb 7. there's (3) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sat, 26 Feb 1994 23:00:20 -0700 From: Rudy Troike Subject: Unpredictable British local pronunciations 24-FEB-1994 The following e-note was sent to me by my Middle English colleague Roger Dahood after I shared with him some of the ADS-L postings. Maybe Peter "Chunnel" Trudgill will have some comment on its validity. I long ago gave up on trying to guess how the British pronounce proper names. The more time I spend in England and Scotland, the more I become aware that much of the time the natives themselves haven't a clue. I suspect that apart from a few examples widely known among the British as especially amusing (such as those P.T.'s latest supplies), most of his countrymen guess when they stray far from home. My London friends are often surprisingly candid about their ignorance of local pronuncciations. And I am told, incoming undergraduates at Oxford often need instruction about the pronuciation of the river name Cherwell, where the _er_ = /ar/. Now when anyone tells me that the English pronounce a name such and so, I find myself replying, "Which Englishmen?" P. G. Wodehouse (and how do you pronounce that?) spoofed the whole business in one of his stories. A host greets a party guest and then says, "Have you met Mum?" The guest looks around for an LOL in puzzlement and embarrassed confusion, when the host points to tall, good-looking young man. "That's Mum over there. He spells it Mapledurham but pronounces it Mum." R.