Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 09:06:51 -0800
From: Peter McGraw pmcgraw[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]LINFIELD.EDU
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.
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 http://www.ling.ed.ac.uk/~aaron
Ph.D. Candidate +44 (0)131 650-3485
The University of Edinburgh fax: +44 (0)131 650-3962
Departments of Linguistics and English Language