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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 3:52 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
But the speech is rhotic in a way that's identical to that of most Left Ponders

You know Scots English is rhotic too? But sounds neither Devonian nor American.

Yes, but not the point, Peter; I said "... rhotic in a way that's identical to ...". I realize that there's not just one Scots accent, and I've heard from them a diverse array (and to my disappointment, from the upper crust even a lack) of rhoticity. But the Left Pond's type is flatter in general, closer to what we might think of as stereotypically "pirate"-like. Arrr.

As far as I can tell, the only natural burr in my Rs seems to be in the "thr" combination: three, through, Mothra, what have you. I didn't even realize I was doing it until some wag pointed it out in an attempt to make me feel self-conscious. And that got me to listening for it: turned out the putz does it, too, and boy, did I jump on that in triumph. And it's not just him and me, but lot of Yanks do it. It's by no means universal, but pretty darned close. Try as I might, I can't not do it.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 4:49 pm 
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oleorezinator wrote:
Rhotic indeed and if you think of it
that was the way that people from
england who came to america probably
spoke prior to when the german interlopers
took power in england after the american
colonies were established. Dropping the
rhotic r in england happened when
upper class in england started imitating
their new masters.

That's the story as I have it, too. Try Googling OP (Original Pronunciation, a reconstructed form of early Modern English). Of course it's just an educated estimate, but it's the work of linguists, and it's all we've got. It makes the speaker sound a bit sly and dangerous. Puts a whole new spin on Shakespeare; rather than the lofty, reverential locution and tones we're accustomed to, it sounds more like you're in a brothel where leaving might just be a good idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 9:43 pm 
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There is an amusing tale of a parson, sitting under a tree, reading aloud from Chaucer to get the ´music´ of the poetry. This was in the Barony of Forth. Two nearby ploughmen, taking a break in the shade, offered corrections to his pronunciation.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFl9ptuxd8s

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 11:12 pm 
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Here we have Eleanor McEvoy taking on a little Yola in this Century: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QolFMmZGDbs

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 12:11 am 
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oleorezinator wrote:
Rhotic indeed and if you think of it
that was the way that people from
england who came to america probably
spoke prior to when the german interlopers
took power in england after the american
colonies were established. Dropping the
rhotic r in england happened when
upper class in england started imitating
their new masters.

What "German interlopers"? Actually, it strikes me that it's the other way round, because the English language itself is Germanic. While it was close in time to its Germanic origins, the language retained its rhotic 'r'. The loss of the rhotic 'r' happened as the early German influence became less and less over time. Also, interestingly, in relation to the influence on American accents, according to Wikipedia,

Quote:
The loss of postvocalic /r/ in the British prestige standard in the late 18th and early 19th centuries influenced American port cities with close connections to Britain, and caused upper-class pronunciation in many eastern and southern port cities such as New York City, Boston, Alexandria, Charleston, and Savannah to become non-rhotic.[8] Like regional dialects in England, the accents of other areas in America remained rhotic in a display of linguistic "lag" that preserved the original pronunciation of /r/.[8]

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 4:29 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
What "German interlopers"?

Quote:
The loss of postvocalic /r/ in the British prestige standard in the late 18th and early 19th centuries influenced American port cities with close connections to Britain, and caused upper-class pronunciation in many eastern and southern port cities such as New York City, Boston, Alexandria, Charleston, and Savannah to become non-rhotic.[8] Like regional dialects in England, the accents of other areas in America remained rhotic in a display of linguistic "lag" that preserved the original pronunciation of /r/.[8]

I was referring to the gang from hanover.
The 2nd quote confirms what I said before
and adds credence to why the devon accent
sounds so familiar here.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 5:48 am 
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oleorezinator wrote:
The 2nd quote confirms what I said beforeand adds credence to why the devon accentsounds so familiar here.

You're really confusing me here. The Devon accent is rhotic. But the second quote from the Wikipedia article is saying that port cities in the States were influenced by non-rhotic British accents. :-?

I don't think the loss of the rhotic 'r' is to do with Hanoverian influence - unless I've missed something. As I say, if anything, British English has moved further away from its Germanic origins, not the other way round.

I'm not a linguist, mind ...

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 1:44 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
The Devon accent is rhotic. But the second quote from the Wikipedia article is saying that port cities in the States were influenced by non-rhotic British accents. :-?

That would be later, Hanoverian-influenced accents. Or so goes the hypothesis. Colonial populations far away from the ports would naturally have had little if any such contact, thus retaining the earlier rhoticity that they brought with them. And some would have proudly resisted such influences as a point of identity.

benhall.1 wrote:
I don't think the loss of the rhotic 'r' is to do with Hanoverian influence - unless I've missed something.

But that is the general hypothesis nonetheless. It's widely accepted that early Modern English was indeed rhotic, but somewhere along the line a big shift away from rhoticity happened over a period of one or two centuries - that's pretty fast - and it seems to coincide with the advent of Hanoverian rule, beginning among the upper crust of London and inexorably expanding from there.

Samuel Johnson, a contemporary of those times, supposedly* wrote, "In English the 'R' is always pronounced." Now, I don't recall if that was a rebuke against this new tendency for dropping Rs, or simply an observation of pronunciation among the greater population of his time. But it sounds as if the first was his intent, otherwise why mention it, and so uncompromisingly? In any case, the very fact that he would have even brought it up at all points to change in the British air.

In his English Dictionary, Johnson also wrote, "R is called the canine letter, because it is uttered with some resemblance to the growl or snarl of a cur ...". Not the most glowing of recommendations, I should think. Maybe it's Jonson's fault that England became more non-rhotic. :wink:

benhall.1 wrote:
As I say, if anything, British English has moved further away from its Germanic origins, not the other way round.

Indeed it has, and will probably continue to do so, for English as a whole is a wild offshoot sport with a life of its own. But origins, and occasional outside influences introduced upon this region or that, are different things. At that point in English, German couldn't have been a more outside influence; whatever our languages might have had in common back in the mists of time, it was now so transformed and divergent as to be utterly unapparent to the average speaker. It's funny; I know that English is technically a Germanic language, but deep in my bones it doesn't feel that way. Maybe it's because English is such a hybrid.



*Instead of "supposedly", I earlier had it as "famously", because while I've seen it before - and in a reputable source (or so I recall) - I can't find it now except uncorroborated, which makes it no better than hearsay and even maybe a misappropriation, so it must be treated with some caution for now.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 2:25 pm 
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Thanks Nano.

Still ... I've been trying to come at this from a different angle - whether German used to be rhotic. And, although I can't come up with anything terribly well referenced, it does look from various discussions online, including by Germans, as if the rhotic 'r' in what is now Germany started to disappear more rapidly (or mostly to disappear - apparently there are German dialects which have also maintained the rhotic 'r') around the same time as its disappearance accelerated in England. Which influenced which? Also, before that, in England, from the 15c onwards, the rhotic 'r' was already starting to decline. Or so various online sources tell me ...

At which point, I just tend to leave it there, and walk away, shaking my head in a sadly bemused sort of way ... I really don't know or understand enough about this ...

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 2:51 pm 
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Well, it must be admitted that one linguist's hypothesis is another's bunkum. I only know about what's most widely accepted, other hypotheses being considered outliers, even if in the end one of them may prove right after all. But regardless of the cause, if there is a case to be made for a time of substantial rhotic change in British English, for me the possible smoking gun is Samuel Johnson.

benhall.1 wrote:
... apparently there are German dialects which have also maintained the rhotic 'r' ...

It would be tempting to surmise from this that all Germanic languages were once rhotic. But I'm no linguist either, so I'll stop short of that; what can be said with certainty is that rhoticity does prove variable in a lot of languages.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 4:02 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
oleorezinator wrote:
The 2nd quote confirms what I said beforeand adds credence to why the devon accentsounds so familiar here.

You're really confusing me here. The Devon accent is rhotic. But the second quote from the Wikipedia article is saying that port cities in the States were influenced by non-rhotic British accents. :-?

I don't think the loss of the rhotic 'r' is to do with Hanoverian influence - unless I've missed something. As I say, if anything, British English has moved further away from its Germanic origins, not the other way round.

I'm not a linguist, mind ...

My previous statement having not read the wiki link.
oleorezinator wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
Gosh! Do you really think so? I can't hear a trace of anything except a good old-fashioned British accent. It's not quite the Devon accent that I'm used to, I would say, by the way. I'm more used to the north and west Devon accents. The fella in that film has quite a soft accent.

Yes absolutely I think so.
There’s a whole lot of American
sounding speech in there.
Nothing from the south and
nothing from the northern
east coast cities but certainly
farther inland.

This is something that I noticed decades ago.
It could be part of having a musical ear or
perhaps not.
The online articles on this subject suggest
that americans outside of the east coast cities
and the south in general, are the conservators
of some parts of the former accent in england.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 4:05 pm 
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Some parts of the German-speaking world still use the rolled R and pronounce it everywhere like we do as Scots. Others (and this is the prevalent method taught by textbooks etc.) use the guttural R and drop it in endings etc. But the rolled R is typically used for clarity in both theatre and song, as I'm well aware from listening to even native-speaking opera singers trilling their Rs like Italians! As a Scottish musician learning German, I'm comfortable (with the approval of native-speaking friends) with my rolled R and a more fully rhotic pronunciation, but sometimes also enjoy practising the initial guttural R and dropped endings (guttural R really being neither suited to nor used for endings).

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 5:16 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
But the rolled R is typically used for clarity in both [German] theatre and song ...

Your mention of theater and song reminds me: Japanese is notable for its R, which is an indistinct flap that can be realized in speech as an R, an L, or even occasionally a D. But in certain instances they also have two other Rs that I know of: One, a growling, rolled R that's associated with rough Yakuza speech, and all Japanese are familiar with it thanks to popular culture; the other is interesting because it's very much like the North American rhotic R (!), but you generally only hear it in traditional theater or recitations of epics; there the R is voiced in the course of singing or chanting. It's also somewhat conventional to the spoken word on the Kabuki stage. I've never heard it anywhere else - just in traditional performance. I pointed this out to a Japanese friend, but - probably because it was too close to home for him to see it - he simply couldn't grasp what I was talking about, and insisted I was wrong. Any North American would catch it, though. You won't likely hear it in popular song, however.

oleorezinator wrote:
The online articles on this subject suggest
that americans outside of the east coast cities
and the south in general, are the conservators
of some parts of the former accent in england.

Conservaytors? Conservaytors?? I ain't no conservaytor of nuthin'. We fought those SOBs, so I'll be damned if I'm gonna let some other busybody SOB tell me I'm gonna do anything for their mint sauce-eating hides. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 12:50 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
I pointed this out to a Japanese friend, but - probably because it was too close to home for him to see it - he simply couldn't grasp what I was talking about, and insisted I was wrong.

I would like to suggest that you both were wrong, and weren't wrong. What follows is not a new idea, and I probably won't express it very well, but it used to be an intensely studied area amongst linguists, philosophers and students of literature, in the late 70s. As I recall, it formed part of the arguments of the structuralists.

From all of this discussion of various accents and what we are each hearing, it is becoming apparent to me that, whilst we each think that we are hearing things very clearly, we are hearing very different things. I think that there are things that Americans are hearing in Devon speech that, to us, very clearly are not there. We are hearing something completely different, that appears to be missing in what Americans are hearing. (Specifically, by the way, this seems to apply to vowel sounds, which are critical to the enormous variety of accents in Britain and Ireland.) Also, there appear to be things in some of the examples of American speech that we are hearing which, to American ears, clearly are not there. What I am suggesting is that all of these things may be right - that what we actually hear is in part determined by our own upbringing, background and culture; that there are things that one set of people can hear, which, from an objective point of view, are simply not present in what a separate group of people hear.

Something like the above is the only explanation I can come up with for some of the jarringly discordant ideas on this subject between one side of the pond and the other.

By the way, I've looked at many, many pages discussing the loss of rhotic 'r' in England now. Literally, the only people who theorise that it was anything to do with Hanoverian monarchs are Americans. All British commentators, that I have found, point out, sometimes forcefully, that it was a gradual process, starting even before the 15c, and that the influence of monarchs, whom the vast majority of the population would never even hear, is likely to have been minimal. It's certainly illogical to argue that it was to do with the Hanoverians, since, at the time of the first Hanoverian ascendant to the throne, George I, the German language itself was still rhotic. George I never spoke English at all; George II spoke English only fairly badly, it being his second language; George III was the first Hanoverian monarch to be born in England. By then the loss of rhotic 'r' was already well advanced in large parts of the east of England, particularly, of course, the south east. But, strangely, over this period of time, people didn't start speaking German.

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 Post subject: Re: Irish Speak
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 1:09 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
I pointed this out to a Japanese friend, but - probably because it was too close to home for him to see it - he simply couldn't grasp what I was talking about, and insisted I was wrong.

I would like to suggest that you both were wrong, and weren't wrong. ... it is becoming apparent to me that, whilst we each think that we are hearing things very clearly, we are hearing very different things.

That is indeed the case; it's like the story of the Blind Men and the Elephant. Without the benefit of greater exposure, we can't help but experience things from any perspective other than what our own backgrounds have given us up to that point. When I say that traditional, classic Japanese vocal performance employs an alveolar/retroflex R (not exclusively, mind you), of course I am measuring what I hear from my own perspective. But that alone doesn't make what I hear wrong. You can hear very clear examples in the following video after 7:30, and they come repeatedly so that you can hear how it's done:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5j87foiwY0

Sounds pretty alveolar/retroflex to me. Certainly such performers must be aware of it, because they would have to have learned and practiced how to do something so utterly different from the normal Japanese R. What fascinates me, though, is how an average Japanese wouldn't hear it.

benhall.1 wrote:
I think that there are things that Americans are hearing in Devon speech that, to us, very clearly are not there. We are hearing something completely different, that appears to be missing in what Americans are hearing. (Specifically, by the way, this seems to apply to vowel sounds, which are critical to the enormous variety of accents in Britain and Ireland.) Also, there appear to be things in some of the examples of American speech that we are hearing which, to American ears, clearly are not there. What I am suggesting is that all of these things may be right - that what we actually hear is in part determined by our own upbringing, background and culture; that there are things that one set of people can hear, which, from an objective point of view, are simply not present in what a separate group of people hear.

I think that this is essentially the core of the matter. Something is only "clearly" there/not there if our perspective makes it so; none of us even sees color in exactly the same way. No Earthly perspective can be given the final say, except as works within the context from which it arose; there is always another context to see it differently. To me that should be a point of interest, rather than only one of contention.

benhall.1 wrote:
By the way, I've looked at many, many pages discussing the loss of rhotic 'r' in England now. Literally, the only people who theorise that it was anything to do with Hanoverian monarchs are Americans. ... It's certainly illogical to argue that it was to do with the Hanoverians, since, at the time of the first Hanoverian ascendant to the throne, George I, the German language itself was still rhotic.

This is good to know. It puts perspective on the usual line of thought I've been given, and I'm perfectly willing to have the room to change my assumptions.

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