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what R you saying?

A forum for discussing US dialects (accents).

what R you saying?

Postby sluggo » Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:46 pm

I was reminded of this oldie-but-goodie today upon hearing some radio talking head refer to "Scalia and Thomas"; due to his native speech patterns (which I presume to be New York or southern New England), it came out "ska-leer-an-tom-as", inserting R as a sort of liaison between the two vowels.

Also heard in (some? which?) UK speech, e.g. John Lennon singing "I sawr a film today o boy" in A Day in the Life.

To me, inserting R between vowel ends would seem an extra conscious analytical step, as it's not part of either surrounding word, yet native speakers seem unaware of it when pointed out. Wonder if anyone has an idea how this came about? Why R?
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Postby Stargzer » Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:40 pm

Hmm. In pronouncing "I saw a" and "I sawr a" (both with the 'a' pronounced as a schwa (ə)) I can detect that in speaking, adding the "r" smooths out the stop between "saw" and "a." In singing this can be smoothed out by changing pitch without inserting a full stop.
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Postby sluggo » Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:03 am

Stargzer wrote:In singing this can be smoothed out by changing pitch without inserting a full stop.


-and indeed in speech we do usually change pitch between such words, whether the R is used or not. Occasionally I hear someone use a glottal stop but I perceive that as individual rather than regional.
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Postby bnjtokyo » Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:09 am

We're talking about an intrusive r.
See this link. ( I hope it works this time)

It gives several examples that explain the three linked traits:
r-dropping, r-retaining and r-inserting from various Beetles songs.

It is also a feature of Cockney and several other English dialects.

Cheers,
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Postby sluggo » Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:52 am

bnjtokyo wrote:We're talking about an intrusive r.
See this link. ( I hope it works this time)

It gives several examples that explain the three linked traits:
r-dropping, r-retaining and r-inserting from various Beetles songs.

It is also a feature of Cockney and several other English dialects.

Cheers,


w@w, great link and site! Thanks bnj, that's the mix-it-up I was seeking.

I take issue with one of "Ben"'s music samples though- Ray Davies very definitely sang "Par" for Pa, at least my ear has always heard it. Of course analysing pop lyrics is problematic- there are any number of reasons such an affectation might be recorded- Davies may have just been having a joke about failing to rhyme with car, as the writer allows. "Mar" could have followed from its successor.

Then there's Lennon's "What's the New Mary Jane" (too bizarre to be released in Beatle days but on Anthology 3), where he goes out of his way to Americanise the R in party... probably only he knew why, if there was a why.

-all of which led me to an unusually didactic Wiki entry on rhotic vs not rhotic speech. Ain't the internets grand!
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Postby scw1217 » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:13 am

Just the other day at the grocery store I remarked that I was buying a "ruterbegger" (rutabega - which incidentally was labeled a "turnip" and I do know in the UK they are labeled as such but honestly this is Florida). If this behavior is listed as a UK habit then why do all my older relatives do it?
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Postby Bailey » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:22 am

a rutabega is a turnip, rather it started as a turnip crossed with a brassica [cabbage].

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Postby Bailey » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:30 am

Ah the R drift; there where it's not supposed to be, missing where it should be. It seems to happen in isolated, whether by ecomomics or locale, communities. I hear an R at the end of No, in Austrailian, and then there's the great mid-west wa[r]sh.

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Postby scw1217 » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:19 am

Bailey wrote:a rutabega is a turnip, rather it started as a turnip crossed with a brassica [cabbage].

mark the-confuson-is-logical Bailey


But if you order a turnip here you will not get a rutabega. In fact, they will look at you funny because turnips always come with the greens. However, rutabegas do not. I should also say that when ordering turnips here, most think of the greens themselves and not the root. In fact, often the greens have no turnip root in them.
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Postby Bailey » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:48 am

that's cuz you are in the South. All those greens that are good for you but....

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Postby sluggo » Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:02 pm

Meanwhile, in New Orleans you go to a stupormarket and look for scallions (a/k/a green onions) and they're labeled "shallots". Never did find out what they do when actual shallots arrive. But there's no R there, so this is offtopic...
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Postby Perry » Fri Mar 23, 2007 2:42 pm

And in the scallions' eponymous Ashkelon, they are simply called green onions (betzal yarok i.e. בצל ירוק ).
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Postby Stargzer » Fri Mar 23, 2007 7:42 pm

Perry wrote:And in the scallions' eponymous Ashkelon, they are simply called green onions (betzal yarok i.e. בצל ירוק ).


A betzal pretzel? Sounds delish! :)
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