chantey, shanty: pronun. query

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Mon Mar 8 18:18:00 UTC 2010

The Caribbean creoles I have seen work on all have a /tS/-/S/
contrast, at least, isolatively, as do the African ones.  Both sounds
are fairly common in African languages, too.  There are Scots
dialects with fishing/maritime connections like Caithnesian,
Shetlandic and Orcadian (and not all varieties of the latter two)
that merge /tS/ and /S/ under the latter, but this is perhaps too far
afield/obscure.  I don't know of any English English dialects that do

Paul Johnston
On Mar 8, 2010, at 12:17 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      chantey, shanty: pronun. query
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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> The etymology of English _chantey, shanty_, 'sailors' work song,' is
> notoriously vexed and has been alluded to here in past years.
> Does anyone know of a variety of English, possibly a creole in the
> Gulf or
> Caribbean area, where SE  /tS/ (as in "chant") might routinely have
> been
> replaced with /S/ (as in "shan't") ?
> I'm floating an important SWAG here (that _chantey_ got its form from
> _chant_ and its "preferred" /S/ pronunciation from some creole
> form) so I
> would appreciate comments. (Including the appropriate, "Don't you know
> *anything* about Caribbean English creole phonology?")
> A bitter and perhaps no more likely alternative for some of us
> would be that
> _chantey_ was *always* pronouncved with /tS/ until word went out
> erroneously
> that it *must* derive from French _chanter, -ez_  (This derivation
> too seems
> unlikely, and OED is noncommittal.)
> JL
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> truth."
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