Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Thu Dec 14 16:10:54 UTC 2006

Anyhow, my point about "Wooster" and "Doster" was not the reduction of "-chester" to "-ster" but the loss of /r/ in the initial syllables of a few of those place names (probably "reduction" is not the best term for that development). I wondered if there's some historical process still functioning.  The present is also a part of history . . . .

(OK, call me an unrepentant Marxist!)


---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 10:33:41 -0500
>From: Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OHIO.EDU>
>Subject: Re: "Fo'ward"

>And they were all reduced in England before colonization, as far as I know.  We have Wooster and Glouster in Ohio too, founded, I believe, by early settlers from Old and New England for whom these were already reduced in speech, and respelling followed pronunciation.  As I understand it, our concern now is with recent, seemingly unexplainable, r-lessness in normally r-ful speakers.
>At 10:19 AM 12/14/2006, you wrote:
>>At 9:40 AM -0500 12/14/06, Charles Doyle wrote:

>>>Of course, strange and irregular things can happen in the phonological evolution of proper names, but I'm thinking of "Worchester,"
>>Worcester.  Then there's Leicester ("Lester"), Gloucester ("Gloster"), and so on.  (All involving "-cester" = 'castle'.  These don't involve r-lessness in any obvious way, although of course non-rhotic speakers will get "Lesta" (or the like) rather than "Lester".
>>>  often pronounced and spelled "Wooster."  "Doster" is a common surname in north Georgia.  I assume the surname "Foster" comes from "forester" ("forester" sometimes appears disyllabically in 16th-century verse).  Perhaps these changes correlate with r-lessness in various stages or dialects of the language--I don't know.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list