[Ads-l] "Strew" as [stroU]

Paul A Johnston, Jr. paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Fri Jul 17 03:13:43 UTC 2015


Just looked strew up in the OED, and you're right; strow/strew are doublets.  I'm not sure what British dialects use it as a verb (SW? W Midlands?), but I've heard strow n. meaning "a mess" in Northumberland.  It's somewhat parallel to other Eu/ou doublets like ewe/yow(e), shrew/shrow (cf. the two pronunciations of Shrewsbury) and shew/show, going back to alternations between OE diphthongs stressed on the first element and stress-shifted ones, helped along by the preceding consonants.  Show, of course, usually has [-ou] here (pace Ed Sullivan), and I've only heard "yow" in the phrase "yow-tits" = "blackcaps" from my WV-born mother-in-law.  It has /o/, as in the southwest of England, not Scottish /^u/, which would presumably come out as /au/ or the like.


----- Original Message -----
> From: "Wilson Gray" <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 10:19:53 PM
> Subject: "Strew" as [stroU]
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      "Strew" as [stroU]
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Back in the day, I mentioned that I was reared to pronounce "strew"
> to
> rhyme with "no" and not with "new." It has occurred to me that there
> may
> once have been a doublet: a word spelled "strow" with the same
> meaning as
> the word spelled "strew," reflecting a dialect/spelling split.
> The Works: Of Shakespear. In Eight Volumes.
> https://books.google.com/books?id=3DrQwUAAAAQAAJ
> William Shakespeare - 1726 - =E2=80=8ERead. Page 76.
> "The herbs that have on them cold dew o' th' night
> Are
> _strewings_
> fitt'st for graves. -- Upon their faces --
> You were as flow'rs, now wither'd ; even so
> These herbelets shall, which we upon you
> _strow_.
> Come on, away, apart upon our knees --
> The ground that gave them first, has them again :
> Their pleasure here is past, so is their pain.
> --=20
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
> to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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