pronuncation of BURY

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Sun Jul 21 23:35:11 UTC 2002

Now, now, I take umbrage at the "hickish and old-fashioned" comment--esp.
since I'm a Norw-American from southern Minnesota!  (And I hope you
recognized my irony when I mentioned "proper" English--or do you think your
English is more proper than mine?)  I doubt that it had anything at all to
do with Norwegian immigrants, any more than with any other immigrants.  In
fact, I'm quite sure that other regions (Northern?) have bury-furry
too--and logically the Philly-Baltimore area has it, since American, Lower
Merian, etc. rhyme with Murray there.  Walt Wolfram, where are you when we
need you?!

Again, I think Craig-as-Kregg is not lexically limited.  Someone else
mentioned "plague" as "plegg"; I've heard that too, besides The Hague as
Hegg.  On the other hand, Lars with a devoiced final consonant is a
holdover from Scandinavian languages, but that too is changing with the
younger generations.  Ditto with Oslo, where the medial fricative is also
devoiced in Norway but not here.

At 05:59 PM 7/21/2002 -0500, you wrote:
> >
> > I don't know about Iowa, but the bury-furry rhyme was common in my
> > generation in Minnesota.  At some point I switched to bury-berry, probably
> > through schooling in "proper" English.
> >
>That must be why I thought that "bury" pronounced like "burry" sounded
>'hick-ish' and old-fashioned.  I have to wonder if it had something to do
>with the many native Norwegians in the Southern Minnesota in the 1850s to
>1920s.  It sounds like something the Norwegian-as-first-language Minnesotans
>I have known would say. (especially those who would now be 70-100 years
>old).  I know I have never said "bury" as anything but "berry".   And on
>this topic, notice that most of the questions we seem to have on this type
>of sounds (besides the classic Merry-Mary-Marry) are questions about names.
>Names are different.  You pronounce a name the way everyone else around you
>pronounces it (unless the bearer tells you differently).  So, I have no
>problem imagining saying "Craig" as "cregg" or "crayg" (like Hague).  Or
>"Gary" like "merry" or "Mary" or "marry", depending on how someone was
>introduced to me.  Naturally, myself, I would say "Gary" like "Mary" (not
>really different from how I say "marry"), and "Craig" like "cregg". I have
>never run into anyone who did not like the way I said their name (anyone
>with either of those two names, anyway).
>My sister, during and since college, has a friend from Saulte St Marie in
>Michigan (I may have spelled that wrong, living in Wisconsin now), who is
>named "Lana".  Not only would she not tell me when I asked whether it was
>[lanna] or [layna], she claimed she could not hear a difference, and
>responded to either one.  I had noticed she did not seem to care, and
>responded to either one; but I was very surprised when she told me she could
>not even hear that I was saying it two different ways.
>Anyway, my point is, that names are always tricky when you start talking
>about pronunciation: especially the new ones (I met a girl named "Solare"
>today, but she and everyone else pronounces it [solar], with no schwa or [E]
>at the end).  The older ones are spelled differently (if you're lucky), and
>pronounced differently according to tradition in that family's speech, in my
>experience.  Just like "Jan" as a man's name being [yahn] or [jan], or how
>you say the [s] on the end of "Lars".  So anyway, there's my two cents:
>names are almost always lexically variant for individuals, and not
>necessarily according to some overall phonemic rule.
>-- Millie

Beverly Olson Flanigan
Associate Professor of Linguistics
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701

More information about the Ads-l mailing list