Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Feb 25 15:49:37 UTC 2008

Now wait a minute -- is there any evidence that Braintree was
anything else than named (and spelled) after Braintree, Suffolk --
from which, IIRC, many early eastern Massachusetts settlers came --
or that "Brantry" was anything else than some people's phonetic
spelling?  I'm sure I can find similar peculiarities in 17th and 18th
c. documents, although it would require some searching.  Braintree
was, of course, the site of Thomas Morton's "Merry Mount."  The site
says "The area was resettled and incorporated as the town of
Braintree, named after the English town of Braintree in 1640."


At 2/25/2008 10:12 AM, Damien Hall wrote:
>There's a town in Suffolk, England, called Braintree.  Is it possible that at
>some point someone thought that people saying 'Brantry' /braentri:/
>were merely
>mispronouncing 'Braintree', and that person hypercorrected the spelling, which
>then stuck?  That would presumably be by analogy with so many other English
>placenames that reappear multiple times in the different states of New, ahem,
>I'd like there to be a satisfying phonological explanation too, but maybe the
>idea of a false equivalence with the English name goes part of the way.
>And, yes, whenever I see 'Braintree' on either side of the Atlantic,
>I think of
>'brain stem' and the appearance of human brains in general too.
>Damien Hall
>University of Pennsylvania
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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