Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Sun Oct 30 14:07:58 UTC 2011

On Oct 29, 2011, at 11:10 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> I wonder how that _r_ came to be elided in the contemporary word.:-)
> What I'm really wondering is whether the owner of Spreaker.com simply
> made that up, as I once "made up" _arse_? Or was s/he motivated by the
> knowledge that that's what the word "ought to be" in English?

you're talking about a change that was completed over 800 years ago, so i can't see that there's any "ought to be" about the matter.  from OED2:

  The later Old English _specan_ became common in the 11th cent., and forms with r apparently did not survive in actual use beyond the middle of the 12th cent. A similar elision of the r appears very rarely in Middle Dutch _speken_, Old High German _spehhan_.

the first r in _spreaker_ probaby comes from _radio_, as in "internet radio".

(_spreak_ for _spring break_ is something else again.)


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list