Staunton, VA

David Bergdahl einstein at FROGNET.NET
Tue Dec 5 02:12:57 UTC 2000

{AU} is a renaissance spelling for "open o" as is {for} as distinct from
{far}.  The development of "short o" in the 17th-century is of
unrounding.  The example of words like {drop} {stop} {strop} &c. which
lost their rounding (the last being respelled > {strap} as well) may
well help us out with Staunton.  If the town's name originally had a
rounded vowel and pronounced STAWN-t'n and the vowel become unround with
other words that sounded like it--despite their different phonetic
histories--then STAHN-t'n is the result.  Compare {Washington},
{orange}, {sorry} or {Florida} with either a round or an unround vowel.

In the US only the east preserves round vowels and only in limited
circumstances, before /r/ or /g/ or {ng} and voiceless fricatives; the
unrounding which began in England continues in the midwest and west, so
that {law} = {la}, {auto} = {otto}, &c
-- db
David Bergdahl                 einstein at     tel: (740)
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