David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Wed Apr 1 13:15:15 UTC 2009

From:    RonButters at AOL.COM
> At 12:43 PM -0500 3/31/09, Matthew Gordon wrote:

>> I wanted to add a couple of points to what others have responded:

>> 1. The man's name is Labov, and he pronounces it /l at bov/ (i.e. to rhyme
>> with 'stove').

> This has alwas seemed most unnatural to me. I've always assumed that the -ov
> is a Slavic ending, and as such it would rhyme more with with "Dog" than
> "stove." tNo one would pronounce "Romanov" or "Chekov" and rhyme the last
>  syllable  rhyme with "hove" or the past tense of "dive."

Well, i was one of his grad students, and i worked under him on the
Atlas of North American English project (back before that was its name)
for a year, and i can say that he pronounces it [l at .bov], stress on the
final syllable, with very, very little variation.

And as for the unnaturalness of name pronunciations, consider that i
pronounce *my* last name [bu.i] (initial-syllable stress), not [bo.i].
Since my pronunciation of my last name goes back a good while (that's
the way my great-grandfather pronounced it, i can attest firsthand), and
the other pronunciation is used by other families (and not just the
rather more famous person who changed his name to look like mine), and
i've also heard the pronunciation [baU.i] from people whose name is
spelled that way, who's to say what's "natural"?

In my observation, "natural pronunciation" usually means "the way *i*'d
intuit it".

David Bowie                               University of Central Florida
     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list