The magistrate said "Merry", the defendant said "Mary"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Jun 10 11:37:07 UTC 2010

I wonder if there wasn't another influence in the 18th century
towards making accents more uniform across the American colonies --
that the elite emulated the British ("Anglicization").  And the
middling classes emulated the upper.  There was much contact with
Britain among the upper classes of the port cities -- Boston, New
York, Charleston.

At 6/10/2010 02:03 AM, Paul Johnston wrote:
>Cultivated British English in Revolutionary times was definitely
>rhotic (shown in Sheridan and Walker), though not all vernaculars
>were.  Besides the North of England (read central and western
>Yorkshire and surrounding areas to the north and south;
>Northumberland and Cumberland were probably rhotic), East Anglia
>might have been non-rhotic by 1750, and maybe Cockney too.  So
>Bostonians (where East Anglians settled) might have been non-rhotic

I suspect most of the East Anglians who settled Boston had arrived by
1700.  But this is just a guess; the only immigration to the colonies
I know a bit about is Palatine and Irish.

>and maybe New Yorkers (Cockneys); not sure if anyone in the
>South was, although I--anachronistically--think of Washington as a
>Tidewater speaker, and therefore non-rhotic.  Probably totally wrong.


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