Staunton, VA

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Tue Dec 5 12:53:17 UTC 2000


Be careful of the "Midwest" in your "continued unrounding." Many Inland
North areas (MI, IL, WI, etc...) which many would call the Midwest,
preserve the distinction (i.e., otto and auto are quite distinct). The loss
is also very recent in South Midlands areas. I have it +50 but my little
hillbilly relatives -30 don't.


>{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)
>                               home page:

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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