British accent stereotypes - 'news'

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Fri Apr 4 22:37:51 UTC 2008

WTF does "zed" (the "word") mean? What consonant letters in the
alphabet (never pronounced "by themselves') would not qualify? Isn't
"b" "bee" and "c" "sea," etc...?


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Doug Harris <cats22 at FRONTIERNET.NET>
>Subject:      Re: British accent stereotypes - 'news'
>Wilson wrote:
>Which reminds me of the time that a Canadian friend had an epiphany when she
>realized that the Alphabet Song rhymes fully, if you use American "zee" and
>not Canadio-British "zed."
>What's with that 'zed', anyway? I remember snickers from a newsagent when I
>said I was in search of an 'A To Z' (street map). He said, "You mean an
>'A To Zed'.
>I've long wondered how the Brit-English alphabet can have a letter that is
>pronounced, and spelled, as a word.
>Anyone know why that is?
>The American Dialect Society -

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society -

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