What do pros do ...?

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Thu Apr 17 20:47:34 UTC 2008

When I have taught the novel _The Color Purple_, my students evince disturbance at my pronunciation of the name of the character Sophia as [so fai @]; they insist on [so fi @] (perhaps thus in the Spielberg movie, which I haven't seen?). Last year, Sophia was one of the 3 or 4 most popular names being given to girl babies in the U.S., many of them (I assume) Hispanic--hence [so fi a].

Has Americans' pervasive awareness of Spanish (even if only from _Westside Story_) or Italian influenced the shift of Maria from [m@ rai @] to [m@ ri @]? Do the Brits still say [m@ rai @]?


---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 12:18:13 -0700
>From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
>Did he call the wind "Muh rye uh"?
>  JL
>Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>When they find different pronunciations in, for all practical
>purposed, exactly the same dialectological environment? For example:
>I have a cousin named "Marie," who is the niece of my grandparents. My
>grandfather, a native of Marshall, Texas, pronounced this name as
>you'd expect: "muh REE" [m@ 'ri]. However, my grandmother, a native of
>Longview, Texas, who moved to Marshall about five years after marrying
>my grandfather, always referred to Marie as "muh RYE" [m@ 'raI]. If
>you stand on your tiptoes, you can see Longview from Marshall. (The
>term, "mother tongue" having a basis in reality, my brother and I knew
>Marie as "cudn muh RYE," ignoring our grandfather's pronunciation.)
>Another example is the pronunciation of the late, great bluesman,
>Floyd Dixon, whose only recorded compilation is entitled, "Marshall,
>Texas, Is My Home." In his most famous work, "Dallas Blues, he
>pronounces Dallas only as [dae at l@s], close to the sE pronunciation.
>Yet, the Marshall - and probably general Deep-Southern - pronunciation
>of Dallas is [daeLIs], with the second syllable sounding the same as
>the first syllable of "listen" ['LIs n] as though the name of the city
>were spelled "Dall_i_s."
>All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
>come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>-Sam'l Clemens
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile.  Try it now.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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