r --> z

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 10 20:21:50 UTC 2006

As Ron hints, this change, r > z, and its mirror-image, z > r, are
common, historically. But, here, it seems that someone has, on
purpose, started to use an extended version of this shift and it
caught on among his/her friends, then spread like wildfire across the
country. Normally, of course, no one is consciously aware of any such
change. E.g., I doubt that there are many American BE speakers
consciously aware that the formal pronunciation of "Jesus" used in
preaching and during prayer at services is [jiD at s], in which [D]
represents a /z/ that has become such a strongly-flapped /r/ that it
approaches the sound of /d/. If I wasn't trying to be all phonetic and
shit, I'd transcribe the pronunciation simply as "Jerus" or even


On 7/10/06, RonButters at aol.com <RonButters at aol.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       RonButters at AOL.COM
> Subject:      Re: r --> z
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> In a message dated 7/10/06 11:08:13 AM, m.l.murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK writes:
> > Is it common for /r/ to change to [z]?
> >
> Isn't this why we have "was" vs. "were" and "lost" vs. "forlorn"? Well, true,
> in these cases z > r, but at least in principle the two are close enough that
> the alternation is not uinlikely.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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