A nursery rhyme

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Wed Jul 21 19:33:20 UTC 2004

On Jul 21, 2004, at 1:30 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> ---------------------- 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: A nursery rhyme
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> --------
>> Now that's a first for me!
> I also (NYC, born 1945) grew up saying [ar at gan], with primary on the
> first and secondary on the last syllable.  I too was ridiculed out of
> it, along with my [a] vowel in "forest", "corridor", "moral", etc.
> (when I was an undergraduate in Rochester, NY).  And I also natively
> rhymed "forehead" and "horrid" as C[ar at d] in that particular rhyme
> (which my mother was quite fond of), but I later spelling-corrected
> "forehead" to the compound stress version (as in "car-head"), before
> all those [a]s mutated into open o's.  So now I'm a
> forehead-as-in-whorehead speaker, even though I know it's "supposed
> to be" [for at d] as in "horrid" (with an open-o).  And I've switched to
> [or at g@n]--still can't get that [i] for the middle vowel ("Orygun").
> larry

Larry, the description of your former pronunciation of "forest," etc.
sounds like a description of one of the features of St. Louis English.
As a child, did you consider it hilarious if you could con someone into
saying a number between 39 and 50, because "fort(y)" had fallen
together with "fart(y)"? I remember a teacher who was a native of Omaha
specifically using "forest" - our FARRist v. his FOURist - as his
example in a fruitless attempt to demonstrate ("What? YOU're the one
who talks funny!) that we St. Louisans spoke with a distinctive local


>> The classic pronunciation of those who don't hail from the state is
>> [origa:n], and I've also heard [ar at g@n] (both in contrast to the
>> native
>> [orig at n]).  But this is the first I've heard of the variant you report
>> using, which sounds like a blend of the two "furriner" pronunciations
>> cited
>> above.
>> Peter Mc.
>> --On Tuesday, July 20, 2004 2:32 PM -0700 Jonathan Lighter
>> <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
>>> Exactly.  And I used to say /a/ reg /a/ n  {Oregon) too till I was
>>> ridiculed out of it.
>> *****************************************************************
>> Peter A. McGraw       Linfield College        McMinnville, Oregon
>> ******************* pmcgraw at linfield.edu ************************

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