army ranks [was: assorted comments]

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Mar 31 16:25:42 UTC 2006

On 3/31/06, Dennis R. Preston <preston at> wrote:
> The 'calvary' pronunciaqtion is much less frequent in l-vocalization dialects.
> The principal motivation for 'calvary' is the -lr- coda-onset
> proximity in 'cavalry.' If the /l/ has been vocalized, that proximity
> is no longer an issue and 'cavary' is a good pronunciation for both
> items.

In that case, couldn't the "calvary" pronunciation occur as a
hypercorrection of sorts among l-vocalizers who have lost the "l" and
are unsure of where to reinsert it? (Somewhat like the rhoticization
of "warsh" and "Warshington"?)

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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