Dueling dialects

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Fri Aug 20 15:08:37 UTC 2004

Larry (/lEri/ for me),

Of course it won't work. Imagine trying to get tin-eared northerners
to make wh/w or long-o/open o (before /r/) distinctions, weather
they're in your name or not. My colleague Yen-Hwei Lin, who is
impressed with my pronunciation of her second syllable, has always
been disappointed by my treatment of her first (obviously /yin/).


PS: She's never cared very much for my tones, however.

>At 9:21 AM -0400 8/20/04, Mark A. Mandel wrote:
>>Wilson Gray writes:
>>  While chatting with the locals down home in Texas, my brother mentioned
>>that the star of a certain movie was Gary Cooper. He pronounced the
>>name in the St. Louis dialect, so that it rhymed with "merry souper."
>>Said locals immediately burst into peals of laughter and kept asking
>>him to repeat the name so that they could laugh some more. [...]
>>After I had related this story to a European-American friend who wasn't
>>a St. Louisan, he commented, "Well, no wonder they laughed at him.
>>Everybody knows that the proper pronunciation is [gaeri]!"
>>  <<<<<<
>>If anyone cares about it, of course, the proper solution is "Well, how did
>>*he* pronounce it?"
>I don't think that works.   I'd have a hard time convincing
>neutralizers to pronounce my name as [laeri] just because *I*
>pronounce it that way.

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic,
        Asian and African Languages
Wells Hall A-740
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office: (517) 353-0740
Fax: (517) 432-2736

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