Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 09:06:51 -0800


Subject: Re: /er/ /ar/ (was: Merzouri)

With apologies for straying still a bit further from American dialects,

the same development has occurred in some Dutch dialects (e.g. standard

kerk [kErIk] 'church' becomes [karIk]) and in some Low Saxon ("Low

German") dialects in Germany.

Peter McGraw

On Wed, 19 Nov 1997, Robert Ness wrote:

On Berkeley v Barclay: a following /r/ tends to lower vowels. In late ME

through EmnE /er/ was often lowered to /ar/. Sometimes the lowering was

permanent (star,farm), sometimes not(servant,sterling). Occasionally,

doublets survive: Berkeley/Barclay, vermin/varmint, person/parson,

clerk/clark, university/varsity. This lowering continues: girl,her,

early, burr etc.though not in all dialects (eg. Scots, as you noted). On

Wed, 19 Nov

1997, Aaron Drews wrote:

-er- does not always refer to a schwa like sound in British

Englishes. The words _clerk_ and _derby_, eg, are pronounced with modern

realisations of [-a(r)-]. From what I understand, "Barkely" "Barcly"

(etc), and "Berkely" all spring from a common source, and all pronounced

with [-a(r)-]. The poet may have heard an Englishman or Scotsman say

"Berkely" with a back vowel, and "transcribed" his impression.

Nowadays, Berkely (as in U.C.), is pronounced with a schwa (RP) or

an epsilon (Scottish). All the other examples are still -ar-.




Aaron E. Drews

Ph.D. Candidate +44 (0)131 650-3485

The University of Edinburgh fax: +44 (0)131 650-3962

Departments of Linguistics and English Language