Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 13 05:36:15 UTC 2006

Come on, you-all! It's at least one dialect of English in which the
shift of "ash" to [ej] in the environment before /n/ or /N/ -
depending upon whether one considers /N/ to be underlying or derived -
is quite regular. An example is David Chappelle's pronunciation of T.
rex as "tyRAYnnosaurus rex." Perhaps Ms. Morales is a speaker of one
such  dialect. :-)


On 12/12/06, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Mispronunciation
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >Natalie Morales on NBC's Today reported on a recent article in the "Annals of
> >Neurology."  [ae]>[ej] in "annals" (ae=ash)
> >
> >"Uranus" is in the middle of a fight between prudish and bold
> >pronunciations--the OED listing the prudish pronunciation first: stress on the
> >first syllable and reduction of the [ej] vowel to a schwa.
> >
> >Is 'annals' so similar to 'anal' that the [ae] doesn't occur to a
> >first-time  or
> >nervous reader?  It seems so many other forms would work better on
> >analogy with
> >the spelling of other pre-'nn' A's. cf channel, flannel, annual, annotate,
> >canned, planner etc.
> >
> >Is this some sort of forbidden-fruit/Freudian slip that makes annals so
> >resistant to these analogies?
> >
> >
> Maybe just infection by familiarity, the other side of the taboo
> avoidance coin.  "annal(s)" looks like "anal", which is a more
> salient word and can't resist the gravitational pull of the latter
> (does "Uranus" have a lot of gravity?).  That would, I suppose, be a
> kind of Freudian slip--no temptation to do the same with "channel",
> "flannel", and the others, which in any case have the -el and so are
> orthographically quite distinct from "anal", or "canal", which is
> orthographically close but phonetically entirely distinct.
> "Annal(s)" is just close enough phonetically, besides the fact that
> maintaining or poring through all those persnickety records is, well,
> kinda anal.  (I'm sure those "Annalistes", the French historians who
> base their work on minute inspection of, say, the diaries of 18th
> century rural baptism records and death certificates, are more than
> used to puns based on the connection.)
> LH
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