wheel barrels?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Aug 11 20:36:36 UTC 2004

At 3:14 PM -0500 8/11/04, Sally Donlon wrote:
>Do eels have marrow?

No, they don't.  Not normally, anyway.  That's why I switched to veal marrow.


>Rachel Henderson wrote:
>>Umm....ok....note in advance that my skills are dusty, so I now belong to
>>this list..and have been reading like crazy.  That probably explains my
>>amateur input to, but that's O.K., we all have to start somewhere....no?
>>I would not say 'eel marrow' as 'marrel' either.
>>But I can believe that English speakers would mistake wheelbarrow for
>>wheelbarrel, not just due to natural articulation habits, but, also quite
>>likely, because actual wheelbarrow, in a way, is akin to a barrel with a
>>wheel (but with the top removed).
>>By the way....my 15 year-old son just walked in the room, so I asked him how
>>to spell wheelbarrow.  He spelled it correctly...and chuckled when I told
>>him that I had to do a double-take on the word (it's been a long time since
>>I had pondered the spelling), and he professed immediately that he thinks
>>the spelling was changed from -barrel to -barrow at some point in recent
>>(100) years because of southern accents.....hehe.....
>>Rachel Henderson
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: "Laurence Horn" <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>>Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2004 12:07 PM
>>Subject: Re: wheel barrels?
>>>---------------------- Information from the mail
>>header -----------------------
>>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>>>Subject:      Re: wheel barrels?
>>>At 10:48 AM -0500 8/11/04, Lesa Dill wrote:
>>>>I had always assumed "wheelbarrel" was the simply an example of
>>>>regressive assimilation.  Perhaps all explanations for similar
>>>>language variation are equally multidimensional.
>>>I would still maintain that the prior existence of "barrel" is
>>>crucial here.  Consider the local delicacy of "eel marrow"--would we
>>>expect this to come to be known as "eel marrel" by regressive
>>>assimilation?  Possible, but I would wager unlikely.
>>>Or "oil tarrow" (something to do with burning candles) > oil tarrel?
>>>Google turns up a Bill Tarrow (spokesman for Washington State
>>>Employment Security); we could ask him if he's called "Tarrell" more
>>>often than other non-l-final members of his family; ditto for Phil
>>>Farrow (captain of Holderness boys' hockey team) vs. Mia.

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