[Ads-l] Latent anti-Semitism [Was: Provenance of /Or/ > [ar] / __@ ?]

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Fri Oct 7 08:44:15 EDT 2016

This of course is not a criticism of Neal.

I find a latent and repellent anti-Semitism in the Atlas Obscura article, in it's characterizations of "the American Jewish Accent" --



Ladino as a "mashup"  -- what is "standard" English but a mashup of other languages?

The use of "-ish", in "Germanicish" and Yeshivish", as though these dialects are somehow substandard versions of German or of the speech of Jews educated in "the schools for the organized study of Jewish holy texts".

The use of Yoda-like" has a similarly-disparaging undertone.

The first sentence of the last paragraph seems to extend the disdain to all minorities, as though their speech of English too is substandard.

Finally, the article concludes "It's messy and confusing and pulls elements from all over the world. But it’s pretty great for telling jokes." More slurs.  "Great for telling jokes"!  As if that's all it's good for.  Is (stereotypical) Italian, or Irish, or Indian, or ... accent great for telling jokes, and not much else, such as being understood in one's community?


      From: Neal Whitman <nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET>
 Sent: Thursday, October 6, 2016 11:38 PM
 Subject: Re: [ADS-L] Provenance of /Or/ > [ar] / __@ ?
Relevant to this thread from 2012 (hat tip to LSA for sharing on Facebook):


On 11/17/2012 3:02 PM, Paul Johnston wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:      American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:      Paul Johnston <paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Provenance of /Or/ > [ar] / __@ ?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I'm not sure what my original pattern was, though my parents (NYC born) had [a] in nearly all or all words in this set intervocalically.  I, however, have [O] in them all, despite living a good deal of my childhood in the NY/NJ suburbs.  I could have picked it up in Chicago, where I lived from 6-14.  However, my high school years were in Morristown, in Morris County, NJ, not far from the Oranges, and my birthplace was a stone's throw from Florida,NY (not the state)in Orange County, so there's plenty of words there in the classthat would come up all the time.  My memory may be playing tricks on me but my impression was that local Morristonians had [O] like me, but the incomers from NY
> and farther toward the Hudson had [a] (in my day, distributing very much like rhoticity).  Monroe, NY was also in the [a] area.  But if Philadelphia also has [a], shouldn't all New Jersey have it too?  Am I projecting my Illinois pronunciation on others?
> What I remember, too, is Morristonians using [O] and contrasting it strongly with southern NJ's Moorestown [mu:rztaUn], which was always being confused with our place.  We'd never use [O] in the latter.
> Throughout, NORTH =FORCE for all areas that I've lived in in this country.
> By the way, what's the Eastern New England pattern for <orV>, [a] or [É’]?  The last one would equal NORTH in many places there, with NORTH and FORCE being different.  Would Boston and Providence be different?
> Paul Johnston
> On Nov 17, 2012, at 12:49 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:      American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:      "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>> Subject:      Re: Provenance of /Or/ > [ar] / __@ ?
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> At 11/17/2012 01:36 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>> On Nov 16, 2012, at 6:24 PM, Neal Whitman wrote:
>>>> I'm sure this has been analyzed somewhere at some point, but I
>>> don't know where.
>>>> What is the dialect that has /O/ lowering to [a] in a stressed
>>> vowel preceding
>>>> /r/ and an unstressed vowel? In other words, the dialect that pronounces
>>>> "forest" as "farrest," "Florida" as "Flarrida", "Oregon" as "Ahregun,"
>>>> "horrible" etc. as "harrible" etc., "authority" as "autharity",
>>> but still has
>>>> [O] in "fort", "lore," etc.? What is this realization called?
>>> It's what I grew up with in NYC,
>> Me too.
>>> although I've shifted over to [O] most of the time for these; I
>>> suspect I go back and forth (on "Florida", "orange", "forest") even
>>> though I think of myself as an open-o employer for these (the first
>>> group, that is; I've never varied on [O] for "fort" or "lore").  I
>>> think of "AH-rinj" as the locus classicus, but as I recall it was
>>> getting mocked for my [a] in "corridor" as a freshman in Rochester
>>> that led to my abandoning my native vowels in this frame.  I'm sure
>>> I never say "flarrist", but I probably did before the fall of 1961.
>> Except my vacillations and shifts are different from
>> Larry's.  (Perhaps because he stayed close, in New Haven, while I
>> moved further (farther?), to Boston.)  For example, I'm sure I seldom
>> say "florist" but mostly "flarrist".  But I say "floral", not "flarral".
>> Joel
>>> LH
>>>> I've been vaguely aware of it for many years, but have begun to
>>> notice it more,
>>>> especially among certain NPR speakers. I even heard one guy on
>>> Planet Money talk
>>>> about a "flarrist" (florist), which is right in line with the phonetic
>>>> environment I described, but was still a new pronunciation to me.
>>>> Neal
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Dr. Neal Whitman
Lecturer, ESL Composition
School of Teaching and Learning
College of Education and Human Ecology
Arps Hall
1945 North High Street
whitman.11 at osu.edu
(614) 260-1622

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


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list