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Why the 'r' between vowels?

michaelr 21 Oct 11 - 02:17 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Oct 11 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,Don Wise 21 Oct 11 - 02:29 PM
Barb'ry 21 Oct 11 - 02:31 PM
Don Firth 21 Oct 11 - 02:51 PM
BobKnight 21 Oct 11 - 02:53 PM
Bert 21 Oct 11 - 03:30 PM
Gurney 21 Oct 11 - 03:32 PM
Bert 21 Oct 11 - 03:33 PM
Nigel Parsons 21 Oct 11 - 03:53 PM
meself 21 Oct 11 - 04:06 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Oct 11 - 05:09 PM
Barb'ry 21 Oct 11 - 06:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Oct 11 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Oct 11 - 06:58 PM
JohnInKansas 21 Oct 11 - 07:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Oct 11 - 07:27 PM
michaelr 21 Oct 11 - 07:33 PM
Spleen Cringe 21 Oct 11 - 07:46 PM
JohnInKansas 21 Oct 11 - 07:48 PM
Bernard 21 Oct 11 - 07:54 PM
meself 21 Oct 11 - 08:13 PM
BanjoRay 21 Oct 11 - 08:21 PM
Gurney 21 Oct 11 - 08:34 PM
BobKnight 21 Oct 11 - 10:31 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Oct 11 - 12:24 AM
JohnInKansas 22 Oct 11 - 01:02 AM
Don Firth 22 Oct 11 - 01:11 AM
gnomad 22 Oct 11 - 04:05 AM
John MacKenzie 22 Oct 11 - 04:19 AM
BobKnight 22 Oct 11 - 04:53 AM
Nigel Parsons 22 Oct 11 - 05:10 AM
Paul Burke 22 Oct 11 - 06:10 AM
MGM·Lion 22 Oct 11 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,loki 22 Oct 11 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,j-the-l 22 Oct 11 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 22 Oct 11 - 08:52 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 22 Oct 11 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 22 Oct 11 - 08:55 AM
Nancy King 22 Oct 11 - 10:24 AM
Stilly River Sage 22 Oct 11 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 22 Oct 11 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Oct 11 - 12:25 PM
Bert 22 Oct 11 - 12:30 PM
Marje 22 Oct 11 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,blogward 22 Oct 11 - 02:10 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Oct 11 - 02:31 PM
michaelr 22 Oct 11 - 05:13 PM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 22 Oct 11 - 05:51 PM
Joe_F 22 Oct 11 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,Guest TF 22 Oct 11 - 07:26 PM
Dave Hanson 23 Oct 11 - 04:10 AM
Marje 23 Oct 11 - 04:22 AM
MGM·Lion 23 Oct 11 - 04:24 AM
Spleen Cringe 23 Oct 11 - 04:32 AM
Dazbo 23 Oct 11 - 04:53 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 23 Oct 11 - 05:06 AM
GUEST,Grishka 23 Oct 11 - 05:13 AM
MGM·Lion 23 Oct 11 - 05:32 AM
Doug Chadwick 23 Oct 11 - 05:50 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 23 Oct 11 - 06:03 AM
Rebecca Fox 23 Oct 11 - 08:16 AM
BobKnight 23 Oct 11 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,George Colorado 23 Oct 11 - 11:56 AM
Bert 23 Oct 11 - 12:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Oct 11 - 12:58 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Oct 11 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Don Wise 23 Oct 11 - 01:34 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Oct 11 - 01:47 PM
Bert 23 Oct 11 - 01:51 PM
The Sandman 23 Oct 11 - 02:00 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Oct 11 - 02:04 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Oct 11 - 02:08 PM
Bert 23 Oct 11 - 02:20 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Oct 11 - 02:28 PM
Bert 23 Oct 11 - 02:37 PM
Tootler 23 Oct 11 - 04:43 PM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 23 Oct 11 - 05:27 PM
michaelr 23 Oct 11 - 09:25 PM
Bert 24 Oct 11 - 04:19 AM
melodeonboy 24 Oct 11 - 05:01 AM
Marje 24 Oct 11 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 24 Oct 11 - 05:51 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 24 Oct 11 - 09:50 AM
Bert 24 Oct 11 - 10:34 AM
Tootler 24 Oct 11 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,Tinker from Chicago 24 Oct 11 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,Seonaid 24 Oct 11 - 07:08 PM
Dave MacKenzie 24 Oct 11 - 08:07 PM
melodeonboy 24 Oct 11 - 08:50 PM
Bert 24 Oct 11 - 10:08 PM
Marje 25 Oct 11 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 25 Oct 11 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,Grishka 25 Oct 11 - 06:07 AM
matt milton 25 Oct 11 - 06:48 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 25 Oct 11 - 06:51 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Oct 11 - 07:16 AM
matt milton 25 Oct 11 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 25 Oct 11 - 07:33 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Oct 11 - 07:36 AM
matt milton 25 Oct 11 - 08:11 AM
matt milton 25 Oct 11 - 08:14 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 25 Oct 11 - 08:30 AM
Marje 25 Oct 11 - 11:34 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 25 Oct 11 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 26 Oct 11 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,Dazbo at work 26 Oct 11 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,leeneia 26 Oct 11 - 11:30 AM
Marje 26 Oct 11 - 11:53 AM
michaelr 26 Oct 11 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Oct 11 - 01:53 PM
MGM·Lion 27 Oct 11 - 02:06 PM
MGM·Lion 27 Oct 11 - 02:13 PM
Bill D 27 Oct 11 - 04:12 PM
Bert 27 Oct 11 - 04:41 PM
Bill D 27 Oct 11 - 05:26 PM
Bert 27 Oct 11 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Oct 11 - 06:38 PM
Bill D 27 Oct 11 - 07:04 PM
Tattie Bogle 27 Oct 11 - 07:05 PM
MGM·Lion 28 Oct 11 - 12:48 AM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Oct 11 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 28 Oct 11 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 28 Oct 11 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Richard in Manchester 28 Oct 11 - 02:07 PM
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Subject: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: michaelr
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 02:17 PM

God knows why, but there are currently a lot of British accents being heard in U.S. radio and TV advertising (e.g. the Geico gekko). A number of these speakers insert a 'r' sound between consecutive vowels, which to the American ear can be confusing.

For example, one of these announcers was advertising a business in Napa at First Street, but what he said was "in Napperat First Street." Now, in everyday speech I regard this as an interesting quirk, but in song it can be downright annoying.

One poster recently asked us to critique his new website featuring his wife's singing. Imagine my dismay when I heard in She Moved through the Fair the line "and that was the last I sore of my dear." Not attractive at all!

Is this a regional thing in England? What do you think when encountering it in song?


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 02:22 PM

You obviously haven't made the aquaintance of Laura Norder.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 02:29 PM

Wearing my 'Voice-over Artist' hat, I find it simply sloppy and inexcusable. Then again, given the price dumping going on in the V-O business these days it doesn't surprise me.("Any housewife with a laptop can dash off a v-o in a spare moment.......") Makes you wonder whether these people ever listen to a playback of their takes. At the same time, it doesn't say much for the quality demanded by their clients either.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Barb'ry
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 02:31 PM

It's called intrusive r. It is quite common, particularly in normal 'fast' speech'. I've been trying to say 'Napa at' without an intrusive r and it sounds like I'm saying 'Napat' if I say it quickly without r! Would you leave a pause between the two words to define the word boundaries? As for 'sore of my dear' I agree, it does sound unpleasant!


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 02:51 PM

"Defining word boundaries." Good way to put it.

The word boundary between two vowels can be (should be) defined by a "glottal stop." This is when you stop the flow of air coming out of your lungs by closing your vocal cords for a split second. This avoids the usually unconscious step of inserting an extraneous consonant, such as an "r," between the vowels. Most people do this glottal stop naturally—and unconsciously.

Kind of depends on what you grow up hearing, I think.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: BobKnight
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 02:53 PM

It's a feature of English speech - you won't find Scots using it. As Barb'ry said - it's actually called a rhotic intrusion, or a post vowelic intrusion as it always comes after a vowel sound - such as draw-r-ing, for drawing.

The Scots have other ones like "fill-um," instead of film.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bert
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 03:30 PM

Why blame the English. Take a look at The New Yankee Workshop and listen to Our Norm make DRORERS.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Gurney
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 03:32 PM

Here in Godzone, they are starting to use an intrusive vowel.
Known becomes 'no-wen.' Never noticed it until a couple of years ago.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bert
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 03:33 PM

What is worse though is people who leave out the r's altogether.

Like John Denver singing "Countwee Woads"


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 03:53 PM

My wife listens to Radio 2 (Chris Evans) in the mornings. And as I'm in the same car, I can't avoid it.
The one thing which makes the programme bearable is the presence of Moira Stewart, one of the very few newsreaders who pronounces both 'n's in 'government!


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: meself
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 04:06 PM

We have in English something called - wait for it - "accents". People with different accents have some different pronunciations. Many people, even right here on Mudcat, seem to feel that their accent is superior to other accents. Some even seem to feel that having the superior accent makes them superior human beings. They wax indignant at the realization that some of those with inferior accents are not even making an effort to speak like them, to 'improve themselves', as it were. Their opinion of their inferiors slips even lower.

And there may even be those who feel that the collective accents of their nation(s) are superior to those of other nations ....


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 05:09 PM

There's a world of difference between accented speech, and sloppy speech.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Barb'ry
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 06:11 PM

Speaking as a linguist, speech just is - it's neither good nor bad - but that doesn't mean that I find all its varieties pleasant to listen to! Intrusive r is here to stay and it is by no means only 'sloppy speakers' who use it.

When we speak, particularly when we speak quickly, parts of words get elided - merged or omitted completely - that's just what happens naturally. Don mentions that a glottal stop 'should' come at the end of words, but think of 'lie in', 'tied up' - in UK English they would almost certainly be run together.

There are as many variations in language as people on the earth.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 06:34 PM

In my group at work, we had a recent graduate from Sheffield Univ., England and one from Boston, Mass. Both inserted ar 'R' after 'a'.
Alabama became Alabamer, and the example at the top of the thread 'Napar at', would certainly have been used. It eems to be a regional characteristic of a region of central England, and is persent in New England and part of eastern Canada. Some Irish also use the 'r'. This 'r' seems to have been lost to most in other areas of the U.S.

I was taught to either pause, or sometimes use a glottal stop.

Barb'ry mentions lie in and tied up- the first is usually run together in N. Am. English, but tied up has a pause (tie up does).

People do have regional accents- I don't know why they should bother anyone. I'm with meself on this- and accents don't mean sloppy, as John MacKenzie points out.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 06:58 PM

R has got to be the most magical letter in English. Without it, we wouldn't be able to tell where people are from.

Around the English-speaking world, a P is just a P and a K is just a K, but R changes sound, changes location, and changes in strength. It is the poltergeist of the English language.

Q, we were recently listening to a recording of a PG Wodehouse novel and were bemused to note that Bertie Wooster's awful aunt (the one who eats broken bottles) was called Agather. The favorite aunt, Dahlia, had an R that came and went.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 07:05 PM

One from Boston isn't really a fair example, since the characteristic is quite common there among "educated" speakers, and is sometimes called "a Harvard accent."

It was common in the speech of the Kennedys, both the President and Senators. The extra "r"s are taken from places where they should be, so that Harvard is actually pronounced Hawvud, providing two of 'em in just one word - that is used with excessive frequency by those affecting that accent.

The particular affectation is uncommon among "working class" New Englanders, whose patois most resembles a cage full of guinea pigs under some sort of moderate stress, and would be almost completely unintelligible to the general public in broader regions of the US.

The "Harvard Accent" is sufficiently close to what many in the US accept as "cultured British" to have some intermingling of abberations, and is adopted by some public speakers, notably news broadcasters, on the ridiculous presumption that "sounding British" implies some unknown quality of being "socially cultured" and/or the equally preposterous presumption that sounding like one "educated at Harvard" makes them appear "intellectually cultured."

The two deviances are sufficiently similar that most who make a pretense of them don't really know which they're affecting, although they tend to be quite smug about the ability to pretend to either - or often to a mixture of both.

John (not educated at Hawvud, but a little down the road where "those kind" of twits are quite frequently observable)


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 07:27 PM

Hmmm. The news and business broadcasters, and many of the guests on BBC, don't have the accent J in K talks about- they speak excellent English for the most part (except for collective nouns, 'army are' rather than the correct American 'army is').
Some have a little accent, but only those from Scotland or Scotland via Canada (Doucet) have enough to be clearly identifiable. Most are certainly 'cultured English' and they speak good OED English.

Travelling around in England, I heard some barely understandable stuff from some rurals, but I have had the same problem in parts of the U.S.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: michaelr
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 07:33 PM

Barb'ry -- yes, I make what I just learned is called a glottal stop (thank you, Don Firth!) when I say something like "Napa at", the same way I would when saying "be easy". It's automatic to me.

John MacKenzie -- who is Laura Norder?


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 07:46 PM

Personally I find glottal stops far more intrusive than so-called intrusive Rs - and am mildly irritated by their current overuse amongst English pop singers. Then again, I come from the English Midlands, where the intrusive R is a normal part of speech and the glottal stop is unheard of. And as a Midlander I've know-ern about all this since I worrat schoo-erl.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 07:48 PM

The majority of US broadcasters apply what here is commonly called a "midwestern" (lack of) accent, simply because it's best understood by the broadest majority of (US) listeners/viewers.

Hard core right wingers tend more toward "Texican" or simple "southern red neck," often in obvously pretentious and phony exaggeration.

The announced subject of the thread was the "deviant few" who affect something different in a specific way.

John


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bernard
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 07:54 PM

Laura Norder? She's the woman who policemen are supposed to keep...!

Round California the word 'mere' is a name for a looking glass... in Glasgow 'wurruld' refers to Planet Earth...

The British 'standard business accent' (sort of East London, but not quite) blurs a lot of words by turning the letter 'l' into a vowel... for example, 'bull', 'ball' and 'bowl' are homogenised into the same sound... boow (approximately!).

The glottal stop at its worst (thank you, Lily Allen! Too be fair, she does it deliberately for effect) can be demostrated with the word 'glottal' itself - simply miss out the double 't' and replace them with a glo'al stop!

One of my pet hates is traffic announcers who blame hold-ups on 'an earlier accident'... when else could it have been, then?


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: meself
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:13 PM

'The announced subject of the thread was the "deviant few" who affect something different in a specific way.'

It was?


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:21 PM

The Laura Norder syndrome doesn't happen among people with a Welsh accent either. It used to drive my Welsh mother bananas when she heard people who should know better, like BBC news readers, suffering from it.

Ray


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Gurney
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 08:34 PM

Spleen, you must be from a different generation to mine. Raised in Nuneaton, I've never known 'known' to be pronounced that way until recently.

Bernard, I once had a Shop-Steward who persisted in using the redundancy 'At the present moment in time....' It made me grit my teeth, too. Good guy, though.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: BobKnight
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 10:31 PM

My pet hate is "sick-th" for sixth.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 12:24 AM

The intrusive 'r', which I do try to avoid in my own speech, could nevertheless perhaps be defended as a natural way of avoiding an awkward caesura or hiatus.

In some languages this is an accepted device. Think of French ~~

il est ~ the t is silent. But, when the words are reversed into the interrogative form, est-il?, the t is pronounced.

Aha! you cry; but the t is there in the word, so it may be pronounced in that interrogatively reversed form.

Yes, OK. But then consider

il y a ~~ no t. But in the interrogative, it becomes y a-t-il?

doesn't it ~ by the authority of the Académie française, no less!


Thus, perhaps, by analogy, the intrusive r, for the same purpose of o'erleaping the awkward caesura or hiatus, might on occasion be regarded as an acceptable device? Might not some take comfort from "draw-r-ing" on the model of "roaring"?

Just a suggestion, rather than any attempt to state a rule. I just think it might help with articulacy, or with articulation, sometimes.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 01:02 AM

As Hemingway said, "lets go catch a ghoti."

John


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Don Firth
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 01:11 AM

Sounds a bit ghotiy to me. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: gnomad
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 04:05 AM

Hemingway said that? I'm Shaw that I heard it was Bern, before Ern.

But to return to the subject, I don't get to view the adverts from US TV, but would guess that the voice-overs are largely done by your own citizens using what they believe to be 'the British accent', rather than by actual Britons.
Their problem (if there is one) is that accents here are many and various, changing noticeably over as little as a mile distance. Some are decidedly unpleasing, others quite musical. A further problem is that after years of attempting a degree of consistency (BBC English, received pronunciation, educated accent or whatever) our broadcast media have attempted to get wiv it by promoting the use of regional accents without distinguishing them from mere lazy speech patterns affected by the yoof element.

Mind you I get a giggle out of hearing toffs who wish to gain credibility among the unwashed masses they despise, catching themselves about to pronounce a T, and hurriedly gulping-in a glottal stop. Politicians (no names) are particularly prone to this one.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 04:19 AM

Weel, the ither day ah wis gaun tae tak ma libary book back, and it stairtit teemin' doon o' rain. Jings, an' therr ah wis, wi'oot ma umbarella. So ah thocht tae masel, ah'll jist gang intae the flicks, tae see a fillum, an mebbes when ah come oot the rain will hae stopped.
Crivens, it wis Febuary in Glescae, whit else wid ye expect?

Glasgow joke
Man in phone box having failed to get through, called the operator to ask for help.
"Ah cannae get through tae speak tae ma mammy." he said.
The operator replied, "Is there money in the box?"
"Naw ah'm in here oan ma ain" he replied.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: BobKnight
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 04:53 AM

Nice one John. :)


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 05:10 AM

Scotsman has just finished a dinner in a small restaurant, and the waitres asks:
"Would you like a cake, or a meringue?

He replied:
"Yer no rang, I'll have the cake!"


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 06:10 AM

The French do it- y a-t-il
The Irish do it - na hEireann
The Germans drop in a little hesitation when vowels run together.
So why not in English? As has been pointed out, we have the glo''al stop, or the r, sometimes a w (I went to wa party). I think michaels's misapprehension is that he thinks the spelling is the word.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 06:27 AM

Which 'Michael', Paul? -- I take it you mean OP michaelr, and not me.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,loki
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 08:38 AM

what about the never-pronounced "t" our Yankee cousins favour?
As in "I hate going to the dennis"

but this thread has been a lorra lorra fun.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,j-the-l
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 08:39 AM

...it's cold in the winner-time...


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 08:52 AM

@Gnomad et al:

A lot of people commissioning voice-overs demand a mysterious form of english known either as 'Neutral' or 'Mid-Atlantic'. I'm not alone in being baffled as to what this could be. Somewhere on Youtube there are a couple of vids purporting to demonstrate 'neutral english'- the speakers are unmistakeably from North America.....Even if someone manages to speak accent-free, pronunciation will always betray them. Just think of that Fred Astaire song,"You say tomato and I say tomato..."
I think many people here have somewhat missed the point. Everyday speech patterns- 'R' between vowels,obtrusive glottal stops,dialect pronunciations etc.- are all fine and good but do not necessarily belong in commercials,newsreels, documentaries etc. Using a 'british' accent in the USA is something out of the ordinary and therefore it's noticeable when things like 'inter-vowel 'Rs' are present. There comes a point where attention has to be paid to enunciation- and this is where I feel some people are either careless or haven't realised just how they speak.
Then again, proper recording studio facilities are no longer essential, a halfways decent mike, 'garage band' and 'music taxi', a fairly pleasant voice and a willingness to work for peanuts are, combined with customers whose only interest is in quick,dirt-cheap v-os, all that's required in too many cases.
As a UK english native speaker voice artist and musician working in Germany I have a perhaps more critical professional ethos when it comes to enunciation. I try to make sure my enunciation ist clear without overdoing it. However, I'm not perfect! Whilst I'm reasonably certain that my v-os are free from 'inter-vowel Rs', I wouldn't necessarily say that about my singing. If I'm talking to another native speaker then my speech is almost certainly littered with 'inter-vowel Rs', glottal stops etc etc.- in other words,boringly normal.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 08:54 AM

Tom be honest talking about 'correct' pronunciation is as erroneous as talking about 'correct' language, and when you say you dislike a certain accent, dialect, or language you are only betraying your roots and values.

In fact drawing a line between accents and dialects is fairly pointless; it sounds how it sounds and if the pother person understands good, and if not one or both parties will have to try something else.

R's between vowels? What about the Bristol 'L?' The very name of the is is in fact Bristow (Bright Harbour), and that's just how they talk in that areal.

I do personally find some accents harder to understand than others, but they are all as completely valid as each-other, and if people put values on them (one way or another) well, that's what happens. (That said, sometimes I catch myself thinking people are putting it on for effect, and have to remind myself that's just how they talk).

If an accent seems ugly to you, remember that the people who talk that way use it to sing their kids to sleep and whisper endearments.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 08:55 AM

Oh and I both commission and do voice overs myself.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Nancy King
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 10:24 AM

In the northeastern US, the "r" sound that gets dropped in one place is often inserted elsewhere, so that an up-to-date parent becomes a "morden fartha."

This compensation sometimes shows up with other sounds as well. My friend Lois says that a teacher she had as a kid insisted on pronouncing her name as "Loyce," and the name of her classmate Joyce as "Jo-iss." Go figure.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 10:42 AM

GUEST,loki, said what about the never-pronounced "t" our Yankee cousins favour?
As in "I hate going to the dennis"


I don't know what "Yankees" you're listening to - are you referring to the entire US or the population that lives in the east, north of the Mason-Dixon line? Either way, I've never heard American native-speakers drop the "t" in words like "dentist."

SRS


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 12:10 PM

With accents (as with language generally) it's vital to understand they change over time. We're all familiar with hearing cockney or middle class accents on old British films. They were not putting it on, that's actually how everyone in their neck of the wood spoke at the time.

In modern times the 'r' is disappearing from words like 'brought' - I'd suggest that a majority in the UK now routinely say 'bought,' which used to mean quite a different thing. This is not 'wrong' it's just what happens. Witness the words 'walk' and 'talk' which used to have an audible 'l'. 'Vulnerable' is currently interchangeable between both pronunciations. (Mater still says 'goff' for the scottish game, and sodder for that melty metal).

This has been going on for as long as folk have spoke. Listen to Pete Morton doing Chaucer, and remember that the New England accent has changed less since the Pilgrim Fathers' time than has plain English.

So there is no such thing as 'correct' pronunciation - only pedantic (literally) decisions to impose one random accent on the users of another to imply a social standing.

It's slightly different with TV and radio, because here we are trying to reflect a carefully-derived consensus, but in normal speech - and in song - there are no rules, only better or worse understanding (and projected values).

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 12:25 PM

Good for you, SRS!


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bert
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 12:30 PM

Tom,

I don't know how many times I have to say this. Cockney is not an accent. Cockney is definitive English in the same way that Parisian French is definitive French. The language spoken in the capital city defines the language, so Cockney is correct English. Everyone else has the accent;-)


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Marje
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 01:27 PM

The question from the OP was a valid query, as it was causing genuine puzzlement. The answer - that the intrusive R is a feature of some English accents, but not those in Scotland, Ireland or Wales - was still worth noting.

As a speaker who neither uses or likes the intrusive R (on the grounds that it is ugly, unnecessary and sometimes confusing) I'll just add that it is not a parallel to the French "est-il" etc ,as the R is not there in either word in the first place, it's just an extraneous sound with no business being there.

A hint of a glottal stop will do the job of splitting up words nicely.
It's quite different from using the glottal stop instead of a T sound (as in "glottal"). Those who think they never use one, though, should check how they say "Gatwick" before they get superior about it!

Marje


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,blogward
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 02:10 PM

Ex-wife used to pronounce 'Ireland' "Ire-er-land". Doesn't drive me nuts anymore, I can tell you.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 02:31 PM

Marje ~~ You failed completely to take my point above, 1224 AM. The t is not there in 'il y a', but it is there in 'y a-t-il?'; explicitly introduced to avoid the awkward hiatus. So the r, e.g. in 'draw-r-ing' on analogy of 'roaring', is a close parallel.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: michaelr
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 05:13 PM

I've read with interest all the varied responses. Thanks to all for your contributions!

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 05:51 PM

"it's just an extraneous sound with no business being there"

Aha - well might I venture a contrary argument?

Marge, you can't have failed to notice that the way the English language is spelled is chock-a-block with extraneous sounds that have 'no business being there', (not to mention extraneous letters that are equally bereaved).

The reason, as you know well, is that written english is a random ossification of the many spoken versions, which evolved over the past thousand years or so. Spelling is based on all manner of temporal and regional variants, many of which display only tenuous connection with 'RP' (and may never have done so - being an attempt at rendering quite a different set of sounds) and even less with other accents and dialects.

The 'r' sound referred to in the OP is one such variant. It's not represented in the spelling and not perhaps a very common one, but it's a valid pronunciation none-the-less.

It's not really fair to call it bad English or ugly. It's just the way some people talk.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Joe_F
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 06:21 PM

The very idear of it!


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Guest TF
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 07:26 PM

In Glasgow there is a tendency towards that idear. Not long ago there was an ad for a couch retailer in Scotland; the voice over referred to them as "sofars". However we have not reached the Scandinavian level where there is an attempt to disregard all consonants. A town in Denmark called Sonderberg is known all over the country as Suawa.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 04:10 AM

Strange, if you don't pronounce it, ' forty farzend fevvers in a frushes froat ' you are speaking in some kind of accent Bert ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Marje
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 04:22 AM

Michael: OK, point taken, although in fact both inversions and liaisons are beconming rarer in French.

And Tom: English abounds with letters that no longer contribute to the sounds of the spoken word, but it's very rare to have a sound that isn't represented by any letter (even if the letter sems to be the wrong one, as in "cough"). The intrusive R is out on its own, as far as I know, and it's quite a recent feature of spoken English.

And yes, it's just the way some people speak, and I can't insist that it's wrong just because that's not how I speak. That doesn't mean I have to like or endorse it.

But another thing I notice about this, for what it's worth, is that speakers who use the "intrusive R" are generally among those who don't use the "rhotic R" - that's the R that can be heard (or not?) in words like car, bird, sort, in most areas of the English-speaking world. It's almost as if some speakers are getting so muddled or careless that they have only the vaguest idea whether the word they want is "saw" or soar", so when they need to add "-ing" they just say "soaring" for both. It's this aspect of apparent carelessness that makes it sound lazy and unpleasant to my ears, quite apart from the fact that two unrelated words can end up sounding the same when they needn't.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 04:24 AM

No, Bert is mistaken. Cockney is the dialect of the artisan and banausic areas of East London. Essex & S Middlesex are variants of it from parts of Outer London. The standard London accent is a form of what is called RP [Received Pronunciation] or BBC English ~~ the neutral usage of the educated throughout Southern England.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 04:32 AM

"Muddled, careless, lazy, unpleasant"? Where's my time machine? I think we've gone back to the 50s! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Dazbo
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 04:53 AM

Being born and raised in Middlesex I'm used to being mocked for drawring (and after thirty odd years of it I still don't think I put an R in it) but to me, in my ignorance, Napa and Napper are homophones. It's just the long Ahhh sound of the letter A (like Bahhth, which foriegners (i.e. not NW Londoners and surroundings) seem to add an R at the end when it's really an H.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 05:06 AM

I hear what you're saying Marge, but I'd dispute that the 'r' sound is new. It may be increasing in use perhaps, but that often happens to a pronunciation. The 'r' has been long present in many accents, specially to the west of England. I often quote the lovely Lancastrian waitress who asked us if we wanted 'pepperrrrr on out pizzerrrr.' And I've already mentioned the Bristol 'l' which arrived in much the same way (though has yet to catch on elsewhere).

As for your 'muddled and careless' point, this again is no more than linguistic evolution. Once 'wright' and 'rite' were pronounced very differently, but no-one calls this conflation careless now. I'm personally saddened by the loss of 'brought,' but I accept why it's happening.

RP was evolved for social reasons. BBC English was born out of it, but it's adoption was for a different reason. When you are broadcasting to a poly-accented nation, they felt a need to settle on a from of speech that most would understand - and to an extent that is still true. If you want to be understood by those who do not share you 'natural' accent, it makes sense to make conscious compromises. But that does not mean that the adopted accent - which will itself evolve over time - is any more 'right' than one's own.

It's not even a class thing, necessarily. Note the silent 'h's of 'an hotel' (in Bayswater) and 'an 'otel' (in Essex). And also untin shootin fishin and shoppin.

Tom

(~M~ I think Bert was joking).


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 05:13 AM

Is this a regional thing in England?
Not that I am anything like an expert, but I think the phenomenon may have been originated by non-rhotic speakers of little literacy who assumed "r"s where there were none. Like so many fashions, this one may have moved upwards on the social ladder. -

What strikes me with some American accents, is the usage of "r" to include the preceding vowel. "At rprts thr r two kinds of frnrs: trsts and trrrsts."


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 05:32 AM

My first wife was a native of the Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire on the borders of S Wales; and retained some of her native accent throughout life. She did not insert r's where they do not exist, but would always pronounce them where they do: so that she would pronounced 'board' and 'bored' identically, but 'bawd' differently from either; whereas those brought up to London-style RP like me would pronounce all three in the same way.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 05:50 AM

........and accents don't mean sloppy


That may depend on your point of view. I remember listening to some plummy voices, on BBC Radio 4, waxing lyrical about rich rural dialects while, at the same time, condemning, out of hand, "sloppy" urban accents.

I suspect that the speakers would have had displayed the same bias if they had been discussing the 'traditional' terms used by those of more senior years versus newer, and thus 'sloppy', words used by modern youth.

The important thing with any communication is:
Is it understandable?
Is there any possible ambiguity?

Of course, elegance in grammar and pronunciation is a goal that should be strived for but, if it meets the two criteria above, then rules are for guidance. A good understanding of the rules is required so that you know which of them may be bent or broken.


DC


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 06:03 AM

I agree entirely Doug.

Grishka, I don't think we can be sure that anyone 'assumed "r"s where there were none.' It's perfectly possible that this sound (it's not an 'r' actually, just sound like an 'r') predates spelling, and could for all we know have been a majority pronunciation in England at some time - it's just that it's not reflected in the way scholars decided to represent spoken English using the Alphabet.

Another change seems to be senior politicians deliberately (or it is?) dropping their aitches and glottle-stopping their tees. It may have begun with a ploy to unplum, but if enough people in the Westminster Village do it, it may become the norm. And TV may spread it wide, so that in time it will become 'common' (or rather 'uncommon') to use an 'h' or 't' altogether.

Just a thought

Tom


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Rebecca Fox
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 08:16 AM

OK, well I am the singer in question who inadvertently sparked off this debate, which I have to say is quite fascinating and I have enjoyed reading.

I believe that the added 'r' is entirely a result of my accent and comes about due to a combination of two reasons. Firstly, when I say 'saw' in isolation the 'w' is silent, i.e. I do not put any degree of 'wa' on the end of the word. This means that for me the word effectively ends in a vowel. Secondly the words 'saw' and 'of' run into each other without any break. The 'r' sound, which is in fact not a true 'r' at all since my teeth are nowhere near where they would be for a deliberate 'r', is what ends up being produced in the transition between the two vowels. I accept that could sound ugly to some people's ears, but I don't think it is anything to do with laziness or sloppiness, it's simply a feature of the way my accent works (Worcester, West Midlands btw).

To me, one of the wonderful things about most of the folk singers I know is that they do sing in their own unadulterated accents. If I was singing something classical (as I used to) I would put in a glottal stop to alleviate the 'r' sound. However, my own personal view is that when I am singing folk songs I should freely use my own natural accent and voice as far as possible. Oh well, at least I am not using a fake American accent like most British pop singers! :-P


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: BobKnight
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 08:27 AM

No body has mentioned aspirating the wh sound. Whales had become wales, wheels becomes weels, whether is now wether. This leads to a lot of spelling mistakes where people are spelling as they speak.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,George Colorado
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 11:56 AM

I'm from New York originally. Jamaica Avenue is always pronounced Jamaiceravenue.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bert
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 12:12 PM

MtheGM

Nah.BBC English is quite modern. Before steam radio, Cockney is what was spoken by Londoners;-)

Oh and don't miss the ;-) this time.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 12:58 PM

Why the 'r' between vowels?

Why not?


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 01:16 PM

Sorry Bert: tend not to notice emoticons, just regard them as a bit of Mudcat landscape.☺☺☺

Just a NW-Londoner of very little brain, that's me, me ole cock-sparrer!

〠〠〠〠


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 01:34 PM

To be a little bit pedantic- surely Cockney is actually an Argot- a special slang created and used by thieves and the like to keep the forces of lornorder in the dark.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 01:47 PM

That's Cockney rhyming slang, I think you mean, Don.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bert
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 01:51 PM

Don, I think that you are thinking of Rhyming Slang which was mostly used in the building trades. Another London Slang used by Butchers and Grocers is Back Slang.

Cockney is more like MtheGM says "that's me, me ole cock-sparrer!"


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 02:00 PM

No, Bert is mistaken. Cockney is the dialect of the artisan and banausic areas of East London. Essex & S Middlesex are variants of it from parts of Outer London. The standard London accent is a form of what is called RP [Received Pronunciation] or BBC English ~~ the neutral usage of the educated throughout Southern England.
To be a cockney one has to be born within the sound of Bow bells


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 02:04 PM

That was the original condition indeed, Dick; tho the category has been extended up to a point [see wikipedia]. It is also not entirely clear whether the bells of Bow Church, a bit further east than Mile End from Aldgate, or those of St Mary-atte-Bowe in the city constitute the qualifying peal.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 02:08 PM

Either way, I doubt if their sound would quite carry to 38 Compayne Gardens NW6, South Hampstead near Finchley Road Station and a fraction N of Swiss Cottage, where I was born ~~ but, just perhaps, if all the traffic stopped and the wind was in the right direction!?...


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bert
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 02:20 PM

'As I explained to you all before' BBC English is that NEW STUFF that came along when Aunty had to speak in a style that would be understood by a wide audience. It is sometimes called "Educated Southern English".

Cockney is (and was, long before the BBC)spoken by the people of London. That is, in or around the City.

Essex has a dialect all of it's own. Remember that old invoice for taking care of a horse "A fetchinonim, a feedinonim, and abringinonimomeagain."

I don't know about S. Middlesex but most people in the Greater London area now speak some version of Cockney and can be recognized as Londoners.

Each of the Home Counties used to have it's own accent, which can still be heard in some villages.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 02:28 PM

Well, I suppose 'most people' is accurate, in that the working & lower-middle classes still predominate numerically. But it is not the dialect of middle/upper-middle/upper-class Londoners; whether in the City or the more innner or outer suburbs.

Or did you forget your :) this time? Tssk! Write out 50 times, "The emoticon is an essential attribute to irony".

☺☺〠〠☺☺


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bert
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 02:37 PM

I would have thought that most readers would have guessed by now that I am having fun. But just because the wealthy few speak with an accent, that doesn't mean that Cockneys do!


☺☺〠〠☺☺


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Tootler
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 04:43 PM

You might be having fun Bert, but I remember one public school educated person I met some years ago who was adamant he didn't have an accent.

In fact he had a real "hooray henry" accent. He just couldn't get hold of the idea that his mode of speech was as much an accent as anyone else's.

Oh and Cockneys definitely have an accent. Ask any Northerner ;-)


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 05:27 PM

Does being Free of the City of London make me a cockney?


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: michaelr
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 09:25 PM

Y'all are just fucking with me now... ;-(


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bert
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 04:19 AM

Ask any Northerner.

Wye eye Man!


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 05:01 AM

What about the "intrusive" y then? I'd pronounce "he only" as eeyoanlee. (Sorry, I can't get IPA script on my computer!)

As for "l" being pronounced as "w", this happens because pre-vocalic and inter-vocalic "l" (e.g. list, taller) is a light "l" and is, to the best of my knowledge, always pronounced as what we would recognise as "l", whereas post-vocalic "l" (e.g. wall) is a dark "l". They are two different sounds phonetically, and many British English speakers (especially southerners like me!) don't naturally have the dark "l" in our "phonetic set", so we'd substitute a "w" sound (e.g. baw for ball).


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Marje
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 05:38 AM

I'm sitting here muttering sounds to myself: *he only... heeyonly.." (wouldn't it be good if we could hear each other!) I think the "intrusive y" is simply a transitional sound that emerges when the mouth moves from ee to oh. (There is probably a proper term for this but I can't remmber what it is.) The only way to avoid it would be to use a slight glottal stop, and this is what some speakers do. The intrusive r is a bit different, as many speakers manage perfectly well without using either the R or the glottal stop in, say, "I saw a .."

The L is another interesting case. Scottish speakers, for instance, make little or no distinction between the light and the dark L, so a word like "little" has two very similar sounds, and "call" has the same L as "calling". What interests me about this is that there was once a corresponding sound-shift in French, so words like "beau" and "belle" were once the same or at least much closer, and "chateau" is related to "castle" (the French dropped the s sound and we dropped the T); and nowadays, a Londoner might well lose the L sound when saying "castle", pronouncing it "cassow"". It makes me wonder whether this sound-shift in south-eastern England in in some way connected to the French one, since they're geographically so close?

Marje


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 05:51 AM

What about the 'foklksinger's 'n''

Le(n)t, Tou(n)ght, Tou(n)ch and all that


I remember someone saying while listening to Tim Dennehy sing 'Keep in Tounch' that he wouldn't recommend him singing that Cat Stevens song because it would come out really odd.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 09:50 AM

"He just couldn't get hold of the idea that his mode of speech was as much an accent as anyone else's." My wife one time said that what annoyed her about Star Trek was that all the aliens had American accents - which wasn't believable. I asked her what kind of accents aliens should have! She reckoned that they should speak like her because she doesn't have an accent! She comes from Norfolk though doesn't have a Norfolk or other regional accent but anyone would know straight away that she was English because of her accent. yet she insists she doesn't have one! :-)


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bert
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 10:34 AM

What about the intrusive W As in schoowel


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Tootler
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 04:36 PM

"Wye Eye"

or if you're of a mathematical bent

Yi


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Tinker from Chicago
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 05:10 PM

The disappearing T is what bothers me most in American radio and TV, especially with sports writers. Routinely they'll talk about an inneresting trade at the winner meetings (do losers have their own meetings?), perhaps between Toronno and Atlanna.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Seonaid
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 07:08 PM

You can argue for English or French all you want.
But for unpronounced letters, the best ever is Gaelic.
One of my favorite examples is "bhitheadh," pronounced "via".
(BTW, the extra "R" that started this discussion was obviously inserted by pirates.)


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 08:07 PM

"One of my favorite examples is "bhitheadh," pronounced "via"."

All the letters are pronounced, or at least contribute to the final pronunciation!


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 08:50 PM

"My wife one time said that what annoyed her about Star Trek was that all the aliens had American accents - which wasn't believable. I asked her what kind of accents aliens should have!"

Yes, I think it was my first wife that commented, while watching "Morons from Outer Space", on how funny it was that an alien (in this case Jimmy Nail) should have a Geordie accent. I think I asked her a similar question to yours, Allan!

"What about the intrusive W As in schoowel"

Well, is that an intrusive "r" or an intrusive "e"?


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bert
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 10:08 PM

Or the J in schedjewel


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Marje
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 04:46 AM

That "j" is another of those transitional sounds that are difficult to avoid, because the mouth passes through the shape of that sound between two other sounds. You get in words like "duty" (juty), "dubious" (jubious) etc, because the speaker keeps the tip of the tongue on the palate just a bit too long. It can be avoided but it's easily done if you're speaking hurriedly or carelessly.

I can't quite hear what the "folksinger's N" is in my head, but it may be a feature of the nasal "Mummerset" style of delivery that is favoured by some singers - not so much an extra consonant as a nasalisation of the vowel.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 05:26 AM

The folksingers 'n':

Keep in Touch

Examples in the lines:

Don't le(*)t pained indifference occupy the heart @ 1.08

..our thou(*)ghts they are as one... @1.22

..keep in tou(*)ch.. @ 1.30


And I use this example only because I am reasonably familiar with Tim's singing so it was easy to lift an example. It's something I hear a good few singers do, Christy Moore for example but others could be heard doing this as well. It's not something I mind or dislike but it is something I notice.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 06:07 AM

Singers' or speakers' own regional accents and dialects are of course exempt from any criticism.

The "folksingers' n", which I had not noticed before reading this thread, is quite a different phenomenon. Judging from the examples mentioned by Peter, I guess that it is used to avoid "unnaturally" long vowels. Whenever a vowel is followed by m, n, or r, Tim Dennehy spends the rest of the note with it, after a very short vowel. Thus, the n is a "liquidisation" of the t-sound following it. This effect is well known, normally very short, and so is the corresponding short m before p or b. (BTW: since the original Greek b is now pronounced v, the Greek use "mp" for the b sound in foreign words.)

In my personal opinion, some singer-songwriter's idea of sounding "heartfelt" rather than "artificial" (= vowels of full length etc.) is of questionable taste. A song will always be art, good or bad.

The "opera singers' m and n", equally questionable, are applied at the beginning of notes, usually high ones, to test the intonation and to reach the correct pitch by a glissando. The idea is that a consonant need not be in pitch - not all listeners agree.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: matt milton
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 06:48 AM

Must admit, while I have to be pedantic about the meanings and spellings of words for my job (sub-editing/proofreading), it never occurs to me to be similarly pedantic about how people speak.

I can't see that one can possibly cordon off "sloppiness" from accent: "sloppiness" is what dialects and accents are predicated upon. "Sloppiness" in this context is simply an ideologically charged synonym for "variance".

Like most discussions concerning rectitude or etiquette (of anything at all), this one revolves around class. When I do my weekly volunteer reading session with local primary school kids, I'm well aware that the Afro-Caribbean (in the main) pronunciation of "asked" as "axed" that a lot of the kids use would count against them in a job interview in the industry that I work in.

You've got to know, for strategic reasons, what other people consider to be right and wrong. But you've also got to know that those people are pedants whose pedantry is a mask for protecting their own kind against meritocratic incursions (such as improving A-level results from state schools).


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 06:51 AM

Good post, Matt.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 07:16 AM

No. 'Sloppiness' in no way = 'variance'. 'Sloppiness' is the failure to communicate articulately within whatever variance one might be working within. There are those who speak with clarity, and those who fail to do so, among speakers of any accent.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: matt milton
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 07:32 AM

I would agree with you that it's sloppy if you fail "to communicate articulately within whatever variance one might be working within".

But that's not what happens if you insert an "r" between vowels: you are still communicating articulately.

Describing this kind of thing as "sloppiness" (or a "barbarism" or an "aberrance") is overkill, and ultimately unenforceable anyway: it's everyday use by people. You can moan about it all you like but at the end of the day, once enough people do it, it becomes correct by default.

I suspect most dialects and accents owe something to "sloppiness". What is elision, after all? Whenever I'm in France, I'm struck by how many English words clearly came into being by simply being "sloppy" mispronunciations of French words.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 07:33 AM

But that assumes that accents are absolute in some definable way.

You cannot draw boundaries round accents. They are affected by many things, some learned in the cradle, some changed deliberately, some as a result of the way one's head is constructed, or what one watches on TV, or how a partner speaks, or where one moves to.

Some people do speak 'sloppily,' but that 'sloppiness' may be common to a community, making the 'sloppy' accent a small but valid subset of what you might accept as a 'proper' accent. Furthermore, as I said earlier, like language, accents are constantly evolving and developing over time. This 'sloppiness' part of that process.

Matt is so right. If you want to avoid being thought of as 'sloppy,' and/or you want to be understood, you may need to change how you speak for certain listeners, but that doesn't mean that your natural accent is 'sloppy.' Just that someone else may not be able to understand it, or may put you into a box that you'd rather not be put in. It's up to you.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 07:36 AM

I don't moan about anything, Matt. I simply dispute your equation of the sloppy with the variant; an analogy which just will not hold up. They are entirely discrete entities.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: matt milton
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 08:11 AM

I was very careful to say "in this context": the context of pronunciation in spoken English. If you regard accents or dialects as legitimate ("not sloppy"), I don't see how you can regard sizeable amounts of people speaking a certain way within those accents as "sloppy"/improper.

Essentially, I suppose it amounts to this: if one person speaks a certain way different from the norm, you could call it sloppy; but if thousands of people do, it's too late, it's English.

Thousands of working-class British people routinely say "dem" rather than "those". Are they sloppy? Are they wrong? If that's how their parents speak and their friends speak, you really call it inarticulacy.

My boss often describes something as "a bit of damp squid". We all find this highly amusing at work, though we've never corrected him. However, if thousands of people routinely made the same mistake, the phrase "a damp squib" would quickly become archaic, and it would cease to be a mistake, becoming just another of those quirky phrases. I often think these things are a shame. But that's language for you. The changing use of the word "impacted" is a good example.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: matt milton
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 08:14 AM

let me correct some of my own hastily typed sloppinesses:

"the context of pronunciation of English."
"If that's how their parents speak and their friends speak, you can't really call it inarticulacy."


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 08:30 AM

You're right, Matt. The acceptance of both accent and language effectively come down to the number of people using them - but that means the numbers of people within a community.

Two siblings who have a private and unique way of talking, which they both perfectly understand, are speaking a language with an accent. If only one of them does, then they are not.

The danger with the counter argument expressed above is that - because it is impossible to isolate and quantify separate, distinct accents - you can wind up dismissing entire continents as 'sloppy.'

Vis, a majority of speakers on the North American continent (and quite a few elsewhere) routinely pronounce the sound usually represented in 'English' as 't' by using the sound usually represented as 'd.' No-one objects (apart from himself above there), because there are so many people doing it.

But where do you draw a line between this huge population and the siblings with their private language?

Obviously you cannot.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Marje
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 11:34 AM

I think if we say "sloppy", (and I probably did somewhere up there but I'm too sloppy to go and look) we're implying that the speaker is lazy or careless in some way - it's about a mental attitude rather than any particular habit.

If you care enough about speaking clearly and being understood, you'll try to avoid anything that gets in the way of this. If, on the other hand, you think it's up to other people to work a bit harder at deciphering your meaning, and that as long as you say something like what you mean, they'll sort it out, that's sloppiness. It's also misguided, because sloppy enunciation and expression is often more ambiguous or downright misleading than the speaker realises, because they haven't stopped to consider how it sounds.

And - oh heck, I'll confess this but it can't just be me - as you get older and your hearing less acute,you become more aware of sloppy and indistinct speech. So maybe it's an old farts' way of categorising speech habits, but it's still quite valid.

Marje (no, dear, I said Marje, not Mars!)


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 11:51 AM

Yes, I agree with that. And I certainly find a lot of people I know had to understand, specially those of this parish of a teenage flavour. But I think we need to guard against feeling that if someone habitually uses sounds that we personally find harder to understand than, say, RP, this is necessarily sloppiness or laziness on their part. It could be a bona fide local or community accent, and/or part if the 'continuous improvement' process.

It was the statements which seemed to suggest that there were 'acceptable' accents and 'unacceptable' ones which I was disputing - specially as people seemed to be dismissing some forms of speech (such as the 'r' in question) which are certainly not sloppy, just different.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 06:34 AM

In the UK there is also,unfortunately, a class aspect to regional accents. Whilst this may have weakened in the course of recent decades I suspect it still lingers on.
There was, during WWII, an occasion when the BBC, wanting to promote national solidarity, decided to get the Lancashire entertainer Wilfred Pickles to read the 6'o' clock news, Lancashire accent and all. This only happened once. The Beeb was inundated with complaints from the upper middle class denizens of the 'Home Counties' about 'unacceptable, uneducated, unintelligeable regional accents','Not the King's English' and the like, from people who considered that, north of Leighton Buzzard and Welwyn Garden City, the country was the preserve of the great unwashed, uneducated proletariat who were incapable of 'speaking proper' and whose accents were not simply unacceptable but completely beyond the pale. Regional radio and TV comedies have redressed the situation somewhat, but I suspect that, in some circles, this attitude is still present.
On the subject of mutual understandability, there was, long long ago, a TV comedy show in Scotland starring Stanley Baxter. He did a wonderful skit on the then current fashion for foreign language learning programmes on the Beeb entitled 'Parliamo Glasgow'. Totally impenetrable over the top 'Glesga' dialect/accent with subtitles. Hilarious.
To be serious though, this can happen in real life. Not long after I'd moved to Germany I watched a film about a successful anti nuclear power station protest near Freiburg in south-west Germany. The local dialect there is very strong and, for outsiders, scarcely understandable. The film had (high-)german subtitles, something I hadn't reckoned with.
For me ,it's not about acceptable or unacceptable accents, extra consonants or not, it is simply about being aware that there are situations where it is preferable to tone down the accent, play down the extra consonants.
Any body remember Martin Carthy's late 60's vocals.....? And Dave Burland's wonderful parody of them?


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Dazbo at work
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 08:14 AM

Not just "him above" but me too, miss-pronouncing the letter T as a D is really, really annoying.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 11:30 AM

"there are situations where it is preferable to tone down the accent, play down the extra consonants."

Those are good ideas, Don. I'd like to ad that one of the best ways to make yourself understandable to someone with a different dialect is to slow down. You don't have to slow down much, but doing it just a little will be much appreciated.

Slowing down also helps with the elderly. Remember that they have so much wisdom and history stored in their brains already, that when someone younger speaks, they have to shove brain content here and there to make room for the new material.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Marje
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 11:53 AM

At least with singing (which was where this discussion started out), any tendency to rush is corrected by the natural pace of the song.

Our daughter (like me, and my mother before me) has always talked quickly. Once when she was quite young and gabbling away, we said, "Slow down! We can't follow what you're saying, it's too fast!". She frowned and said, "Well, listen faster, then!"

Marje


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: michaelr
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 03:21 PM

I've only ever heard the "folksinger's N" on recordings by Cork balladeer Jimmy Crowley, and assumed it was a regional Cork thing. Is Tim Dennehy from Cork?


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 01:53 PM

Certainly rhere's such a thing as sloppy speech. Listen to a hymn sometime and notice how many people don't put the last consonant on the last word, settling for Lor instead of Lord or Gah instead of God.

We got into trouble over that when singing a song that ended with 'You've been our home." Ahem.

My husband has a form of sloppiness which irritates me. He starts talking and doesn't bother to put any breath support behind his words until several words in. The result is that the critical first words are inaudible.

I call it the Marlboro Man style. "I'm so big and manly I don't HAVE to speak up."


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 02:06 PM

Worth citing here, I think, following from Wikipedia's article on "Linking and Intrusive R"

... recognizable examples are the Beatles singing: "I saw-r-a film today, oh boy" in the song "A Day in the Life", from their 1967 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, or at the Sanctus in the Catholic Mass: "Hosanna-r-in the highest". This is now common enough in parts of England that, by 1997, the linguist John C. Wells considered it objectively part of Received Pronunciation

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 02:13 PM

leeneia ~~ My first wife would do that too; and had a maddening but on the whole amusing habit, when asked to repeat, of repeating loudly only the last words which I had already heard: as, e.g.

---Valerie: "inaudible inaudible inaudible in Cambridge Market this morning"

Michael: "Sorry, I missed the first bit. Could you say it again, please?"

Valerie: "IN CAMBRIDGE MARKET THIS MORNING!"---

Does your husband do that too?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 04:12 PM

A question, trying to get some perspective on who understands what: It is noted that those who speak "The Kings English" are often bother by 'quainter' accents from certain areas...but, do those with the 'unacceptable, uneducated, unintelligible regional accents' understand the 'upper crust' speech... as on the national news? Does "The Kings English" sound odd or confusing to them?
   The Germans DO have what they call 'die Umgangsprache', a basic, general speech that is understood by almost everyone, and which, my German instructor suggested many years ago, 'almost' everyone in Germany could approximate when necessary.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bert
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 04:41 PM

We seem to have come the full circle here.
From Wilfred Pickles reading the news through Educated Southern English to Mid Western American English and back to "The Kings English".

There has to be some definition as to what is English. Which gets back to what I was saying. BBC English was contrived by the BBC so that they sounded educated, and is very new as far as English is concerned.

So what is that "Plain English" that your teacher told you about?

Obviously it is not the "Kings English" 'cos poor ol' George VI had to have a speech therapist, so we can't go by his speech or we'd all be talking with a lisp.

As I said before, standard English, That is English without an accent can only be London English. London is the Capital after all.

And most people in London speak with what others call a Cockney accent. If most people in London speak it, then Cockney is as near as we can get to Plain English.

So it's all you bloody lot that 'ave the accent and NOT ME!!!

Now if we could have a choice, I for one, wouldn't choose Cockney. The nicest accent I have ever heard was in Herefordshire So I propose that we all learn to speak as though we come from Hereford.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 05:26 PM

Bert... whatever the reasons & origin, "BBC English" is a way to create a commonly understood, basic dialect since travel by powered vehicle, then radio, then television, then internet...etc., have made it at least useful and almost necessary for all areas to communicate easily.

My wife told of traveling in England 35 years ago, and having a waitress 'seem' to not understand when asked for a glass of 'water'. Finally, she perked up and asked: "Oh...you mean woah-tah?"
Now that may have been an 'attitude' rather than a real confusion, but it does point at the need for any person in any country to at least be able to approximate a basic accent and vocabulary, no matter what they use at home or in their neighborhood market.

(Years ago, I heard a black woman activist interviewed on the radio about "Black English" - at that time called Ebonics. She insisted that it was a genuine language, and that black children should not be shamed or pressured into not using it...and that it should even be taught in school.
   Fine....except that the woman explained all this in perfect 'regular' English, and made no mention of how African-American kids would compete in job interviews if they spoke ONLY Ebonics! I have no doubt she 'could' drop into Ebonics when necessary, but she seemed to have no concern about others being able to get out of it.)

If it is a matter of being essentially bi-lingual....fine. I have NO objection to anyone, anywhere preserving their childhood language and using it at home or even 80% of the time in their area. But for easy access to all the benefits of complex society, there needs to be a common way of communicating, even if touches of accent remain.

(An American Senator from Alabama, Howell Heflin, had a pronounced southern accent, and was known for using the most extreme, hard to understand, form of it to irritate colleagues when he wanted to bait them.)


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bert
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 05:45 PM

I know Bill, I speak a kinda (kinda, spoken with an American accent) BBC English/Cockney mix, with, I'm sure by now, some American expressions thrown in.

I still haven't got the Colorado "O" pronounced as "U" yet. Culuradu Ruckies is one thing, but when you are talking about Soccer, it just sounds too odd.

I do use American expressions in my songwriting "I really wanna know, how do plastic flowers grow and where do we get them plastic flower seeds". But that is deliberate.

It's just that I have too much fun telling people that "I" don't have an accent.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 06:38 PM

Hello, MtheGM. No, my husband doesn't repeat the last part. For exmaple, if he says:

"mumble mumble mumble the transmission of the blue car"

I have learned to say "What about the blue car?" (not rudely) and he fills me in.

Bill D: I too have noticed the irony of people who defend so-called Black English but don't use it themselves.* Frankly, I think most of Black English is the excited jabber of kids at play. And for various reasons, they are kids who have not had much chance to carry on conversations with interested adults.

I'll tell you a little story. I'm going to volunteer at a local school, and it was the end of our first session together. Nine little black kids were ready for home. They were restless and wouldn't get in line. The boys were joke-kicking and punching each other, and I thought, "Whoo boy, how do we get them to calm down?"

I said "Boys and girls, let's see how many of your names I learned today." It was as if a magic spell had been cast. They froze, whipped around, and nine sets of eyes were riveted upon me. An adult, a nice adult was interested in them, in each one personally! They were eager to tell me their names and their friends' names. Suddenly the mood was changed radically, and we all parted comfortably.

As my friend the educator says, "Any adult who will TALK to them..."

*I have also noticed the irony of academics who write on English usage and defend the split infinitive. Yet you could search the whole book and not find a single infinitive they have split themselves.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 07:04 PM

I guess we have deviated from the 'r' between vowels theme, but when I first saw the thread, the first thing I thought of was John F Kennedy talking about dealing with "Cuber", and wondering why he didn't make some little effort to ease that.


leenia...if you look at my link above, it shows that "Black English" is a bit more than mere jabber. It does have some definable properties, much like any language variant. If they choose to call it a genuine dialect of English, it make little difference to me. I just worry over the kids being unable to switch when needed.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 27 Oct 11 - 07:05 PM

And what about the intrusive NG? As in certain regions S of the Border they say EDINGBURGH and BADMINGTON. (I even had Edingburgh on one of my credit card bills!!)
And in some parts of Scotland those 2 slices of bread with a filling become SANGWICHES?

In East Anglia, where I was brought up you get the extra Y dividing what should be a single vowel into 2, e.g there becomes THEYA, or here becomes HEEYA. (and the r gets lost!


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 12:48 AM

Another E Anglian variant is that a final y turns into the indefinite [ɘ] vowel ~~ so, in some of Peter Bellamy's Norfolk songs you get "Young Jimma with his dog and his gun"; "Because I come from Bunga Town they call I Bunga Roger". {The town is actually Bungay}

~M~

or should I have written Peter Bellama!


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 10:16 AM

Last night I went to a concert where a man from Scotland put an r on the end of 'criteria.' So it's not just John F. Kennedy...


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 10:33 AM

Or as some of the old singers used to sing it:- Diverus and Lazarus......


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 11:01 AM

'I've only ever heard the "folksinger's N" on recordings by Cork balladeer Jimmy Crowley, and assumed it was a regional Cork thing. Is Tim Dennehy from Cork?'

Tim is originally from Kerry, Cahirciveen but landed in the same place as myself, and Jim Carroll for that matter.

I don't think it's a Cork thing, I have heard other people describe it as 'a Northern thing' because they heard Len Graham use it extensively. Christy Moore is no stranger to it either. Or you'll find it in Joe Corcoran's 'Ronks of Bawn' for that matter.


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Subject: RE: Why the 'r' between vowels?
From: GUEST,Richard in Manchester
Date: 28 Oct 11 - 02:07 PM

I'm with Marje. Sloppiness caused by laziness or carelessness is not the same thing as a variation in pronunciation over time and geography.

Tom, case in point: the exaggerated r is a trait of the Lancastrian accent, particularly around Blackburn and Accrington. Ask an Accringtonian to say 'car park' and you'd think you were in New York. But the pronounced r in a Lancastrian's 'pepprr' is not there because of carelessness in the way that BBC - yes, BBC - sports commentators routinely refer to the English athlete Jessica Ennis as 'Jessica Rennis'. That has nothing to do with accent or 'linguistic evolution', it's just plain lazy mispronunciation.

Is it all that important? Well, as my glorious leader Marje says, perhaps it's an attitude of mind? An editor for the print media allowing Jessica Rennis to appear on the page and protesting 'linguistic evolution' wouldn't be an editor for very long.

I'm baffled by your sadness for the "loss of brought". The loss of brought? I'm happy to reassure you, 'brought' is in rude health round here.


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