....the lion

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Dec 30 23:31:46 UTC 2002

At 5:35 PM -0500 12/30/02, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>Maybe I missed something:  Were the NPR people really talking rhymes or
>games, or was the name used seriously??

Hi, Beverly,

No, the idea of the limerick was from Peter Richardson and me
(independently, although he was the one who actually tried one out--I
had trouble coming up with a third rhyme); evidently the
"an-DROC-uh-leez" pronunciation was seriously uttered on NPR.  My
response here to you was that the schwa insertion may be
phonologically motivated but the stress shift indicates unfamiliarity
with the name.


>At 02:43 PM 12/30/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>>Beverly writes:
>>>Schwa insertion is very normal and generally unnoticed by speakers.  Some
>>>may monitor themselves and "correct" the pronunciation in certain
>>>circumstances, but pronunciation is usually so deeply ingrained it's not a
>>>big deal to the speaker--if a hearer raises eyebrows (as Mark did) or
>>>repeats the word, maybe the user would change it, but probably not.  That's
>>>why I was wondering who used the form, and whether there was a pause or
>>>other reaction on the part of the hearer.
>>>It's most definitely not "substandard" or "illiterate"; it represents a
>>>normal phonological process, much like its opposite, elision, as in
>>>"s'pose" or "gonna."
>>Well, yes to all the above, BUT there's something more going on if
>>"Androcles" is pronounced so as to rhyme (as we've been saying) with
>>"broccolis".  There's also stress shift, suggesting that (unlike
>>schwa insertion in clusters like those in "fil[uh]m" or
>>"jewel[uh]ry", for example) this is in fact the result of someone
>>reading a word/name they've never actually heard pronounced rather
>>than a phonological process per se.

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