Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Mar 24 18:00:58 UTC 2012

At 3/24/2012 12:19 PM, Herb Stahlke wrote:
>Most r-ful American speakers miss the onomatopoeia of Christopher
>Robin's young donkey friend Eeyore.

Those who read Martin Gardner's "Annotated Winnie-the-Pooh"
presumably won't -- he surely would be thorough enough to explain
this. ... What? There isn't one yet?  By anyone?  Not even an edition
that has footnotes?

Or those who read Wikipedia on "Eeyore", which gives a similar
explanation as Herb: "His name is an onomatopoeic representation of
the braying sound made by a normal donkey"  Although Eeyore is not
"normal" -- he is definitely clinically depressed.

P.S.  Wikipedia says Eeyore is "a pessimistic, gloomy, depressed,
anhedonic, *old* grey stuffed donkey" (emphasis added).  Or is he
rather suffering from teen-age triste?


>In r-less British English <or> or
><ore> represents a low or mid back rounded vowel, open o or turned
>script a.
>Watching English Premier League soccer this morning, Chelsea vs.
>Tottenham, I noticed a Tottenham forward with the name "Adebayor."
>African players are not uncommon in the EPL, and Adebayo is a common
>Yoruba name from Nigeria.  The final <r> is the puzzle.  Some southern
>Nigerian languages and some Ghanaian languages use <or>
>orthographically for a mid back tongue-root retracted rounded vowel,
>usually transcribed with an open o.  Yoruba does not do this but
>rather uses a subscript dot under <e> and <o> for the tongue-root
>retracted sounds, similar to English sounds in "bet" and "for."  So
>where did the <r> come from in Adebayor?  Most typewriters and
>computer keyboards are not equipped for subscript dots or bars, and so
>the letters are often seen without them, as in this posting.  I did
>some checking on Adebayor, who is one of Tottenham's stars, and found
>that he's from Togo but that his parents moved there from Nigeria.
>I'm guessing that sometime in that non-Yoruba speaking region, also a
>region where <or> is used for the sound, the spelling acculturated and
>his parents went along with it.
>For me the oddity was that the English announcer was pronouncing the
>final <r> and stressing the final syllable.
>Is Eeyore doomed to lose its onomatopoeia even in England?
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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