[Ads-l] The name, "M(a)cPherson"

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Nov 2 15:02:51 UTC 2014

On 11/2/2014 2:09 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      The name, "M(a)cPherson"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> In general, I pronounce this name as "MacFURson," despite the fact that the
> "standard" BE pronunciation is "MacFEERson." (In StL, a local street that
> Redd Foxx once lived on is named "ManPherson.") However, with the passage
> of decades, it began to seem to me that *everybody* used MacFEERson" and
> not merely the boyz in the 'hood. Elle MacPherson comes to mind. I began to
> wonder how I ever got the impression that "MacFURson" was "proper."
> The other night, AMC re-ran the 1944 movie, Laura, in which "MacPherson,"
> pronounced throughout the movie as "MacFURson," is the name of a major
> character. As it happens, I saw this movie, back in that day. So, I assume
> that this is the source of my long-time impression that the "correct"
> pronunciation has -FUR-, in line with the spelling.

As I recall, my relatives with this name were always called 
"M[a]cFURson" within the family.

The Scots pronunciation usually sounds like "M[a]cFAIRson" to me.

-- Doug Wilson

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

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