Raleigh, N.C. -- awesome or aw-dropping?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Feb 13 01:47:48 UTC 2014

I suspect I've gone back and forth on Raleigh (North Carolina, Sir Walter, cigarettes, whatever), between Rollie (which I pronounce with an [a], or really script a, vowel as in the first name of the ex-A's/Brewers' relief pitcher Fingers) and Rawley.  I think I might be more likely to use the open-o for Sir Walter Raleigh because of the rounding in his first name, more so than in the snow- and ice-bound N.C. city.   It's hard for me to be sure exactly how I tend to pronounce these unselfconsciously, though. (

(No danger of "awe"-extinction for me, though--I would never merge the pronunciation of "Cawley" (as in the late Jim McCawley) and "collie", for example.)


On Feb 12, 2014, at 7:10 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> Raleigh, North Carolina, is much in the news this moment for its
> proximity to North Carolinians of stupidity (to paraphrase its
> governor).  I hear announcers saying "Rollie" (almost "Rah-lee", but
> not quite?).  I learned "Raw-lee".  Is that because I'm an effete
> (North-)* Easterner?  Or did I learn it from hearing pre-modern announcers?
> * South-Easterners' methods may differ.
> Joel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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