pronuncation of BURY

RonButters at AOL.COM RonButters at AOL.COM
Sat Jul 20 21:01:31 UTC 2002

In a message dated 7/20/2002 1:59:58 PM, laurence.horn at YALE.EDU writes:

<< At 11:43 AM -0400 7/20/02, sagehen wrote:
>  >Ed Keer said:
>>>Actually, I didn't. I do keep my Marys distinct from
>>>my marries. It's just that I don't distinguish merry
>>>and Murray or ferry and furry.
>  ~~~~~
>Does the pronunciation of /bury/ fit into one of these divisions? I've
>always pronounced it the same as /berry/, but one of my kids says "burry"
>--like /furry/--which I thought she *might* have picked up during the year
>she spent at school in England at age 12, though I don't remember hearing
>that pronunciation there, myself.  One of the NPR news readers (Norah
>Rahm?) also uses this pronunciation.  It always sounds odd to me.
>A. Murie

How about good ol'-fashioned spelling pronuciation as an explanation
for this one?  "bury" doesn't LOOK as though it should be a homonym
of "berry". >>

BURY pronounced to rhyme with FURRY is common in New Jersey and probably
elsewhere. The Midlands pronunciation of BURY in England was (is?) a rhyme
with FURRY also, which I assume accounts for the historical variability in
the US as well. The Old English ancestor of the modern word was BYRGAN, with
a front rounded vowel, which unrounded in various ways in Middle English,
depending on the geography.

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