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

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 17 04:24:29 UTC 2015

On Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 11:13 PM, Paul A Johnston, Jr. <
paul.johnston at wmich.edu> wrote:

> 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.

"Strow" lost out to "strew"; "shew" lost out to "show"; and "sew" and "sow"
have the same pronunciation, but different meanings. Not to mention "know,
knew." <sigh!> Language change.


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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