some reference help needed

FRITZ JUENGLING juengling_fritz at SALKEIZ.K12.OR.US
Tue Apr 26 16:37:10 UTC 2005

Hi Larry,
your student should have a look at
_English Dialect Grammar_ by Joseph Wright.  Although it was published about 1900, Wright collected stuff for quite a while and it probably represents speech of the mid/late 19th C.  Maybe a little late, but should still be consulted.
_On Early English Pronunciation_  by AJ Ellis (6 volumes).  A phenomenal work.  Ellis treats English pronunciation from the Medieval till the modern period (which was the late 19th C when he had it published).  There's more there than your student will want.  The problem with Ellis is that he uses so many phonetic symbols to make minor distinctions that it's difficult to follow him.  One really needs a key to make sense of it.  Fortunately, someone did go thru the work and made a correspondence table of Ellis's symbols with the IPA.  If you have that, you can read and understand Ellis with no trouble. I don't remember who created the key or where it was published, but I have a copy at home and could send info, if you are interested.
Hope this helps.
Fritz J

>>> laurence.horn at YALE.EDU 04/26/05 08:21AM >>>
For a student working on a biography of the 19th century American
lexicographer Joseph Worcester, can anyone suggest sources on early
19th century dialects of English?  What would be relevant in
particular is anything that describes what is known about British and
American patterns of speech relating to rhotic/non-rhotic
pronunciations and other salient variables.  I don't really have any
books that go into detail on this period, although I found Dennis
Baron's discussion (in _Grammar and Good Taste_) helpful on the
rivalry between Worcester and Webster; the former was based in
Cambridge and the latter in Hartford, so that while Noah W (who is
buried in Grove St. Cemetery down the street from where I'm typing)
was the official lexicographic authority at Yale, Harvard students
were required to consult only Worcester and not Webster.  There's
also a curious confound in that (as Dennis notes) Webster was reviled
for his prescriptivism, but Worcester, while maintaining the goal of
recording rather than regulating the language, was more sympathetic
to the British pronunciations as models for American English, while
Webster was composing his self-described "*American* Dictionary of
the English Language".

So anyway, if you have any suggestions for where the student should
look for pointers on dialect variation at this time (or anything else
you think might be relevant to her project), please let me know and
I'll pass the recommendations on to her.


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