Date: Fri, 14 Jan 1994 22:16:58 -0600


Subject: Re: consonantal /r/

On Fri, 14 Jan 1994, Rudy Troike wrote:

It is curious, when you think about the extensive Scottish, Scotch-

Irish, and Irish immigration to various parts of the Eastern States at

various times (and in the 1840s, in massive numbers), not to find equally

extensive occurrence of post-vocalic consonantal /r/. Particularly given

some of the isolation in Appalachia, it is surprising that some did not

survive or even prevail.

--Rudy Troike


I wonder if p-vc /r/ is in fact more widespread than the LAMSAS data

would suggest. In PADS #73 I charted [r] in "barn" through Illinois,

using both LANCS records and DARE recordings of "Arthur the Rat." (101,

fig. 61). 7 of twenty-odd DARE informants had the consonantal /r/,

somewhere between 25 to 33% I did not find any instances in the DARE

records. I get very nervous if I compare my fieldwork with Ravens or

some of the other Atlas people, but one difference may bethat pvc/r/ is

marked or stigmatized and hence less likely to occur in the single-word

LANCS elicitations than the extended reading for Arthur. It does seem

like I hear this feature more often on the streets of rural Illinois

than even my map would suggest. And I think I hear it fairly often on TV.

Like I said in my earlier posting, it seems like many upland southerners

have it. Doesn't Willie Nelson?

The feature may be stigmatized too because it competes everywhere with

the velar allophone, which has the stamp of being Inland Northern.

I don't, for example, think my friend Joan L-W has this feature, even

though she's from the Pittsburgh area, because she has been in academe

for so many years. I have never heard [r] form anyone in a

suit, as far as I can remember.

I should look up the LANCS responses for "thirty," which on the PEASE map.

There the [r] may be entirely conditioned. But my microfilm reader is

out in the garage and it's about 20 below out there tonite.

In any case, [r] is certainly suggestive of both a dialect region and

dialect which is not quite Northern or Southern, and in which Scotch,

Irish, or Scotch-Irish may have played a significant role, cf the

postings on "Midland" regionalisms last month.

Tim Frazer