Date: Mon, 24 Jul 1995 16:34:18 -0400

From: "William A. Kretzschmar, Jr." billk[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ATLAS.UGA.EDU

Subject: Re: idear

It is well-established that some r-less dialects (Eastern New England, RP

in England) also have "linking r". This is a shibboleth in RP, decried as

awful by purists but occuring in the speech of a great many. "Linking r"

occurs intervocalically. People used to say that JFK said "Cubar"; he

only said that when the word following Cuba began with a vowel, as in

"Cuba and the USSR", so that the r actually belongs to the environment

(intervocalic juncture) rather than to particular words. The classic test

for the word by dialectologists is the phrase "the idea of it", somewhat

passe now but formerly a common phrase, i.e., "linking r" users would put

an r sound between "idea" and "of".

"Linking r" is different from "excrescent r", which is the insertion of a

non-etymological r sound within a syllable, as when the words "wash" or

"Washington" are pronounced as "warsh" and "Warshington". In Linguistic

Atlas files (mid-century, not current), "excrescent r" seems most frequent

in the Midland (esp. West Virginia and western PA) but scattered

occurrences are found also in the North. My own grandma, from central

Michigan, was a decided "excrescent r" user.

Regards, Bill


Bill Kretzschmar Phone: 706-542-2246

Dept. of English (Park 317) FAX: 706-542-2181

University of Georgia Internet: billk[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Athens, GA 30602-6205 Atlas Web Page: