4.0146 Pronunciation (3/72)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Wed, 30 May 90 17:08:46 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0146. Wednesday, 30 May 1990.

(1) Date: Wed, 30 May 90 11:27:31 EST (35 lines)
From: Richard Giordano <rich@welchlab.welch.jhu.EDU>
Subject: NY-SPEAK

(2) Date: Tue, 29 May 90 22:23 PDT (24 lines)
Subject: Re: 4.0109 Address: Accents, Power, Democracy, Gender

(3) Date: Tue, 29 May 90 22:27 PDT (13 lines)
Subject: Re: 4.0109 Address: Accents, Power, Democracy, Gender

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------50----
Date: Wed, 30 May 90 11:27:31 EST
From: Richard Giordano <rich@welchlab.welch.jhu.EDU>
Subject: NY-SPEAK

Regarding Philip Taylor's comments on 'processors' and 'processes,' you
should keep in mind that the two words sound alike in New York City, not
generally in the United States. In general, final R's are hardly ever
pronounced in New York. As far as I can tell, many folks don't
pronounce *any* R's at all. When I first started graduate school there
(coming from Boston), I went to registration and the secretary asked me
"What's your depAWment?" It took a few seconds before I realized what
she was saying. The general Northeast urban dialect in the US is also
characterized by front dentals. Thus, 'th' is pronounced a lot like
'd'. When you're on the subway, you can be sure to hear the conductor
announce 'Watch da closing daws' as the doors as closing. Anyway, as
soon as I pronounced 'processors' and 'processes' the way Julie
mentioned, I realized that I heard that a thousand times in New York.

I should point out, also, that there are slight dialect differences from
one borough of New York to another. For instance, in Brooklyn you might
pronounce 'cold' to be 'co-old', while in Queens this is elongated to
'co-wold'. I've heard 'milk' in Brooklyn pronounced something like
'meelk' while in northern Manhattan it's 'mulk'. All over the place,
folks there say, 'On line' for 'in line'. Thus, you stand 'awn loin' to
buy a ticket to the movie.

In my hometown of Newark, New Jersey, I grew up hearing 'azz' for 'ass';
(In fact, all 'ss' is pronounced as 'z' there) 'shtrike' for 'strike'
(common for 'st' to be pronounced 'sht'); and 'egg' and 'leg' to be
pronounced 'ayg' and 'layg' (as in hay or lay). I don't know if this
characterizes Newark or just second and third generation Italian
immigrants there.

Richard Giordano
The Johns Hopkins University
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Tue, 29 May 90 22:23 PDT
Subject: Re: 4.0109 Address: Accents, Power, Democracy, Gender (4/79)

Coast Prep schools: but that is snobbery and breaking down even there
over the past 25 years. They knock regions at east coast prep schools,
and especially anything west of Mass or shenandoah, or the Hudson. But
that is all merest nonsense today. As for GB, I must be mixing all my
life with the wrong clahws of pipple. I meant it only that GB is
anomalous in having a royal house and titles, though it has one
person/one vote rough and tumble hustings all right. Democratic it may
be in politics, though one wonders about schooling and schools, etc.

I am sorry if I shot from the lip. Two pounds on the heart, colpo mio,
etc. I do know about snobbery at them places, having been there, and
had the kids there, and all that. But most of it is the usual
derivative pseudo-AngloSaxon, mostly plutocratic racism and snobbery
and foolishness iwth a capital R and S, and A and S. So, okay it went
out afterOrwellridiculed the BBC sound? Or was it sour grapes on his
part too? 2000 apologies. Insularity, perhaps? Every time I had a
choice, instinctively I headed for the Meditteranean countries, where a
bad accent in an acquired tongue costs one nothing in the way of the
unmerited sneer, etc. You know what I mean, I expect. Kessler at UCLA
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------224---
Date: Tue, 29 May 90 22:27 PDT
Subject: Re: 4.0109 Address: Accents, Power, Democracy, Gender (4/79)

I mean, to continue, the very term, "one's social standing" is my point.
In a democracy there isnt anything like that, or should I say, in the
pulverized socieites of GB and say the US in the 20th Century. Where
does one stand socially in this world? Where is society? Palm Beach?
San Marino? Clubs? the Lab? Markers of social standing based on accent
are subject to ridicule, as poor GBS, who had no real social standing
tried to explain in PYGMALION, I take it? Etc. Let us not go into
that. I stick with Dame Alisoun's definition: Gentle is as gentle
does. The rest is rather done with cash, laws, and mirrors. Not so?