Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIO.EDU
Thu Dec 14 17:21:08 UTC 2006

You're right, and now we're back to the original issue:  Is r-lessness
spreading to r-ful areas, or is it limited to certain lexical items only,
like fo-cas-l and fo-ward?  Hartman wrote of semi-r-lessness (I think that
was his word) in the Southwest years ago; I think the map is reprinted in
Wolfram and Schilling-Estes.  Diane Rehm's "fo-ward" sounds semi to me, but
she lives in Bethesda, MD!

BTW, would you all capitalize "r-lessness" at the beginning of a
sentence??  With phonemic slashes, maybe, but how about if spelled out, as
I've done?

At 11:10 AM 12/14/2006, you wrote:
>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.
> >>
> >>LH
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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