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

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Sun Nov 2 15:23:46 UTC 2014

Check out "MacPherson Is Rehearsin' To Swing", a record from the mid-late
1930s, by the Chick Webb band, with Ella Fitzgerald.  The band achieves
bag-pipey sounds, and Ella sings in a more or less Scots accent.

The lyrics include "Now the bonnie, bonnie lassies

With the kilties on their chassis
Have forgotten all about the highland fling

Young and old folks get together
And there's trucking in the heather

When McPherson is rehearsing to swing" (from a transcription found throught
he services of Mr. Google.


On Sun, Nov 2, 2014 at 10:02 AM, Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at nb.net> wrote:

> 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

George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998..

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

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