blar 'thornbush'

Mark.Mandel at LHSL.COM Mark.Mandel at LHSL.COM
Fri Nov 9 21:06:10 UTC 2001

To my question about Appalachian /blArz/ 'briars',
"Baker, John" <JBaker at STRADLEY.COM> replied:

Unless the 90-mile distance from Columbia to Corbin, Kentucky, is
greater than I think, the word is "brars," meaning briars.

And Steve Hicks <Hixmaddog at AOL.COM> said:

The term I hear is "brar" ("briar"): which
is also a pejorative for West Virginians
and other "hillbillies."  Remember seeing
in Ohio the bumper-sticker "Brar Parr"
("Briar Power").

I am quite certain the first liquid was /l/, not /r/. Dissimilation is not
unreasonable, especially once the two liquids have become tautosyllabic
by... I'd say devocalization of /ur/ and monophthongization of /ay/, which
are both suggested by the spelling "brars".

I don't remember exactly who used the word, and whether it was anyone
outside the family that I stayed with, so I can't be sure that the
dissimilated form was more than a personal or family idiosyncrasy.

-- Mark A. Mandel

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