Overcorrection in BE

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 31 06:36:37 UTC 2005

While grooving to the oldies, I heard a singer sing,

It was _er [@r]_ lovely dream of hol'in' you tight

instead of

It was _ at _ lovely dream ...

I have a cousin who speaks this way, i.e. unstressed 'a, the' go to
[@r]  [D at r]. This cousin is about my mother's age - ninety-ish - and
was born and reared in Marshall, Texas, though she now lives in St.
Louis. She didn't begin to use this pronunciation till after she had
moved there, when she was in her late 20's. This _er_ and _ther_
pronunciation of 'a' and 'the' gives a weird psychological impact to
her speech, rather like listening to a West Indian. Her speech sounds
somehow like a foreign language. Yet, when you really listen to it,
it's just English, if you know what I'm getting at.

This is an extremely rare phenomenon, in my experience. The only
person that I've ever heard use this particular overcorrection in real
life is this one cousin.
-Wilson Gray

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