Question about Scottish

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Wed Feb 18 15:03:09 UTC 2004

Bev writes:

BTW, "schoolmarm" reminded me of the use of written 'r' (or even double
'r') to represent r-less New England speech in the old days; it's in
Marmie of _Little Women_ too, and in Whittier and others.  I suspect
it's confused generations of readers, as it did me as a kid.


"How to say the names in The Jungle Book", at the back of the edition I
had (Kipling, of course), confused me mightily:

        Balu     "BAR-loo"

As did a bit of dialect transcription in, I think, one of Andrew Lang's
<Your Color's Name Here> Fairy Books. The story was a Jack tale, and the
giant was Cornish iirc. In this one Jack does several (probably three)
stunts, using trickery or legerdemain to seem to be doing something that
he really can't do, but that the huge, strong (and stupid) giant can, or
thinks he can. Each time he dares the giant to match his deed, and the
giant says "Hur can do that!"  (In the last stunt Jack stabs himself in
the stomach, where he has hidden something under his shirt to provide
blood, and of course the giant follows suit and kills himself.)

I thought "Hur? Her? Oh well, weird dialect item." But it's just (I now
assume) r-less British English transcription for a schwa-like vowel.

-- Mark A. Mandel
   Linguistic Data Consortium, University of Pennsylvania

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