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

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 12 22:50:59 UTC 2010

If memory serves me right, Alexis de Tocqueville reported on American democracy in the colonies and was greatly impressed that one language, English, could be used over the great expanse of such a country.  Also, he was impressed by American ideals of equality.

Alexis de Tocqueville quotes:
Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.
So much for "registers".

"Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-59) came to America in 1831 to see what a great republic was like."

He apparently predicted the Civil War.
Alexis de Tocqueville quotes:
If there ever are great revolutions there, they will be caused by the presence of the blacks upon American soil. That is to say, it will not be the equality of social conditions but rather their inequality which may give rise thereto.

Alexis de Tocqueville quotes (False):
America is great because America is good. If America ever ceases to be good it will cease to be great.

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL7+
see phonetic spelling

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Barbara Need
> Subject: Re: The magistrate said "Merry", the defendant said "Mary"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I don't remember the source (possibly Pyles and Algeo), but I do
> remember reading that English visitors to the American Colonies and
> the US early on were struck by the fairly uniform speech of Americans
> of all classes (probably white Americans, but I could be wrong). I
> have always thought it had to do with the limited number of regions
> that colonists came from in England. That is, fewer dialects came over
> than were present in Great Britain at the time.
> Barbara
> Barbara Need
> On 10 Jun 2010, at 6:37 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>> 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
>>> too,
>> 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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