Minstrel's Dialect

Matthew Gordon GordonMJ at MISSOURI.EDU
Tue Nov 11 19:31:45 UTC 2003

As an explanation for "yeller" "feller" (also "winder" and "holler"),
spelling pronunciation seems unlikely to me, considering the forms are
traditionally associated with the rural Upper South/ South Midlands -
not exactly the literacy capital of America. Of course, I mean no offense.

A clearer case is the common r-ful rendering of Joel Chandler Harris's
characters Brer Rabbit et al. It seems clear that Harris intended to
represent a schwa here; i.e. "Bruh".

Is the common (in American English) r-ful pronunciation of the Korean
name "Park" related as well? Isn't the name r-less with a central or
back vowel as "park" would be in Std. British English?

Laurence Horn wrote:

> That's my guess too--much like the pronunciation of "Ye olde sweete
> shoppe" with the determiner pronounced as if it were the second
> person pronoun, although in that case it's because of unfamiliarity
> with the archaic spelling of the dental fricative, or (I assume) the
> r-ful pronunciation of "yeller" (for the color), "feller", etc.,
> which (as I understand, although I could be wrong) were originally
> designed to represent a schwa here for r-less dialects but now are
> widely pronounced like the agentive ending (= 'one who yells', etc.)
> larry

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