Would you help me?

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Wed Sep 29 15:24:09 UTC 1999

Chapter 5 of William Downes' excellent 2nd ed. of Language and Society
(Cambridge Univ. Press) is on 'rhoticity," and exactly these questions
(sources of r-full and r-less varieties of US English and related topics)
are fully treated.

I find this book in general, by the way, the best "serious" intro to
sociolinguistics around (not the best intro to language varieities for
lower-level classes, where Wolfram and Schilling-Estes still carries the
day). I find it odd that it seems to get less "press" and use.


>And there's James Hartman's map of "extended" or "weakened" r-lessness
>(diffused throughout much of the West), found in the preface to the
>_Dictionary of American Regional English_, Vol. 1 (1985), and reprinted in
>Wolfram and Schilling-Estes' _American English_ (1998).
>At 10:20 AM 9/29/99 -0400, you wrote:
>>Frank Anshen's dissertation on r-retention in HILLSBOROUGH NC is important.
>>In a message dated 9/29/1999 8:47:09 AM, billk at ATLAS.UGA.EDU writes:
>><< You could look at the standard accounts in Kurath and McDavid's
>>*Pronunciation of English in the Atlantic States* (1961) or Labov's
>>*Sociolinguistic Patterns* (1972), but these are not very
>>enlightening.  The best source is W. R. Van Riper's 1957 Michigan
>>dissertation on the history of postvocalic -r in the Eastern states--but
>>you may not have access to that.  The best article, I think, is by Edward
>>Stephenson, "The Beginnings of the Loss of Postvocalic -r in North
>>Carolina" Journal of English Linguistics 2 (1968):57-77.  That you should
>>be able to find.
>>WAK >>

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at pilot.msu.edu
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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