Local pronunciations

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 27 21:04:38 UTC 2005

On 10/27/05, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> 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: Local pronunciations
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 12:31 PM -0400 10/27/05, Wilson Gray wrote:
> >On 10/26/05, Damien Hall <halldj at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> >  > I can add the following to the growing collection of local
> >pronunciations of
> >>  placenames which differ from that of the ur-placename:
> >>
> >>  - berLIN, Germany, but BERlin, CT and NH (cf also the
> >>stress-placement in the
> >>  phrases 'berLIN' (the city in Germany) but 'BERlin WALL')
> >>  - Newark, NJ = NEWark, like the English town, but Newark, DE =
> >>newARK, with two
> >>  primary stresses, as if it were still two words
> >>  - all the Welsh place-names in Greater Philadelphia, which are pronounced as
> >>  they would be if they were of English-language origin:  here the
> >>difference is
> >>  not one of stress but one of segment, so 'Gwynedd' has a /d/ at
> >>the end in PA
> >>  but an /eth/ (voiced interdental fricative) at the end in Wales;
> >>Bala Cynwyd
> >>  has completely different vowels in PA from those it has in Wales;  and of
> >>  course the famous Bryn Mawr, PA = /brIn ma:r/, but Bryn Mawr in
> >>Welsh = /brUn
> >>  maeUr/ or similar, I think.
> >>
> >>  Damien Hall
> >>  University of Pennsylvania
> >>
> >
> >There's also a BERlin in Massachusetts. Perhaps, if not for the wars,
> >BERlin would have  become the standard U.S. English pronunciation of
> >the name of the capital of Germany, since the BERlin WALL rule also
> >applies to yield BERlin, GERmany.
> >
> >-Wilson Gray
> I think there's a difference.  "BERlin GERmany"/"BERlin WALL" is an
> instance of the rhythm rule, but the city's name in isolation is
> still BerLIN.  But the Connecticut suburb of Hartford (and I assume
> the other U.S. Berlins) is BERlin in isolation, not just in the
> context of the BERlin TURNpike.  (Similarly for fourTEEN vs. FOURteen
> KIDS.)
> larry

Yes, Larrry, I understand that. I simply made the perhaps unwarranted
assumption that the American BERlins are named after the German BerLIN
and, therefore, at one time, had the stress pattern BerLIN. Hence, if
history had left Germany as an area of no interest to the average Joe,
the original German stress pattern might have been lost and the
capital of Germany might itself have become BERlin. Or not. ;-)


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