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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jun 11 13:31:38 UTC 2010

At 1:39 AM -0400 6/11/10, Wilson Gray wrote:
>On Wed, Jun 9, 2010 at 8:02 PM, David Wake <dwake at> wrote:
>>  many speakers in the East Coast and in the South do not have the
>>  complete merger.
>In the Southern BE of Marshall, TX, It's
>Mary [merI], merry [mErI], marry [m&rI]

Pretty much the same for my NYC dialect, except that
(i) my final unstressed vowel is [i], and
(ii) I've never been quite sure how to represent that first one;
"Mary" is distinct from "merry" and "marry", which are pretty clearly
as Wilson transcribes them, but she isn't really "May-ree" either (as
in "maybe" with an r), given the r-coloring of the /e/ vowel.


>But, in Saint BE, it's
>Mary, merry [mEri], marry [m&ri]

The American Dialect Society -

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