[Ads-l] Pronunciation

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Feb 27 20:17:24 EST 2017


Just checked with my wife, who moved from NYC to Greenwich, CT at age 3; for her it’s “FOUR-head” (despite the Longfellow verse) and “sled” (never “sleigh”).  


> On Feb 27, 2017, at 5:14 PM, Joel Berson <berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
> 
> Larry, isn't something missing in the second line of your transcription -- what did the little girl have right in the middle of her fahrid?  A hole?  Which is my faint memory, but but doesn't rhyme well enough for my taste.  Or a curl?  Which rhymes a bit better.  Or ...?
> 
> Joel
> 
> 
>      From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU 
> Sent: Monday, February 27, 2017 3:30 PM
> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Pronunciation
> 
> I grew up saying “far-head”, which I later realized was a spelling pronunciation (sort of like “victuals” as VIK-chewals or “waistcoat” as…waist-coat).  Probably a key factor in this realization was the rhyme (from the Child’s Garden of Verses?):
> 
> There was a little girl
> Who had a little [curl/pearl/burl/squirrel]
> Right in the middle of her forehead
> When she was good 
> She was very very good
> But when she bad she was horrid
> 
> (Not “...she was hoar-head”, or worse)
> 
> So then I relearned it as /'far at d/ (i.e. “fahrid" like Jon) and then again (when I switched the vowels in the relevant class of <or> words--“corridor”, “forest”, “orange”, “moral”, “horrid", etc.--from /a/ to /O/) relearned it as /‘fOr at d/ with open o. Now I’m not sure what I say—fahrid, fourid, or fore-head, or any and all of them randomly.    
> 
> LH 
> 
> 
>> On Feb 27, 2017, at 3:18 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> 
>> LIke my NYC grandparents, I say "fahrid."
>> 
>> JL
>> 
>> On Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 1:29 PM, Salikoko S. Mufwene <s-mufwene at uchicago.edu
>>> wrote:
>> 
>>> Merriam Webster, 11th Collegiate edition, gives both pronunciations,
>>> although, like you, I have always heard that with "four." May this be
>>> related to the fact that in colonial English words such as /gone,
>>> going/,/oil, daughter/, and /lord/ were apparently (also) pronounced with
>>> the "far" vowel. Atlantic English creoles have been conservative in this
>>> regard.
>>> 
>>> Sali.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On 2/27/2017 11:41 AM, Shawnee Moon wrote:
>>> 
>>>> I love both the nuances and the profound differences in pronunciation of
>>>> words, and I try to guess where people are from. I can tell bad faked
>>>> southern accents by actors, etc.
>>>> 
>>>> There's a couple dialect pinpointing pages on the web that ask how you
>>>> pronounce words, and they have gotten my region and dialect influences
>>>> quite accurately, which was impressive to me.
>>>> 
>>>> However, there's one word that I pronounce differently than anyone I know
>>>> other than immediate family:
>>>> Forehead.
>>>> 
>>>> My family always pronounced it "far head" instead of "four head."
>>>> Recently I read that the pronunciation is Irish but very old.
>>>> 
>>>> From Bill Bryson's "Mother Tongue:"
>>>> "Often, however, the process has worked the other way around, with
>>>> pronunciation following spelling. We will see how the changes of spelling
>>>> in words like descrive/describe and parfet/perfect resulted in changes in
>>>> pronunciation, but many other words have been similarly influenced. Atone
>>>> was once pronounced “at one” (the term from which it sprang), while
>>>> atonement was “at one-ment.” Many people today pronounce the t in often
>>>> because it’s there (even though they would never think to do it with
>>>> soften, fasten, or hasten) and I suspect that a majority of people would be
>>>> surprised to learn that the correct (or at least historic) pronunciation of
>>>> waistcoat is “wess-kit,” of victuals is “vittles,” of forehead is “forrid,”
>>>> and of comptroller is “controller” (the one is simply a fancified spelling
>>>> of the other). In all of these the sway of spelling is gradually proving
>>>> irresistible."
>>>> 
>>>> Has anyone ever heard anyone else pronounce forehead another way? I'm 55
>>>> and never have, and I've lived or been to nearly every state in the country.
>>>> 
>>>> Thanks.
>>>> 
>>>> Mailed from the Moon 🌜
>>>> 
>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> --
>>> **********************************************************
>>> Salikoko S. Mufwene                    s-mufwene at uchicago.edu
>>> The Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics and
>>> the College
>>> Professor, Committee on Evolutionary Biology
>>> Professor, Committee on the Conceptual & Historical Studies of Science
>>> University of Chicago                  773-702-8531; FAX 773-834-0924
>>> Department of Linguistics
>>> 1115 East 58th Street
>>> Chicago, IL 60637, USA
>>> http://mufwene.uchicago.edu/
>>> **********************************************************
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> -- 
>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 
> 
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


More information about the Ads-l mailing list