Pronunciation

Karen M Frederickson frede005 at tc.umn.edu
Wed Jan 19 12:41:51 EST 2000



On Mon, 17 Jan 2000, Melissa Proffitt wrote:

> On Mon, 17 Jan 2000 18:13:01 +0000, Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk wrote:
> 
> >My boss caught me reading the list today.  Ouch.
> 
> Uhoh!  How much trouble did you catch (if any)?  :)
> 
> >* Walk ends in -ork (Dogsbody)
> >
> >Someone said that Americans don't put the r into Walk.  Nor do we!  We British
> >drop our Rs in words like Fork and Cork, so they are all pronounced -awk in
> >British.  ORK is the most natural way for a Brit to write that sound, even
> >though we (well, some of us) know words like Auk.


I think what is going on here is a spelling convention when a word is
spelled (so-called) phonetically.  I ran across this in a pronunciation
guide to Dorothy Dunnett's work.  The names "Claes" was shown as being
pronounced "clars"...by the Scottish author.

The "r" here isn't pronounced in British English, but its appearance shows
how the "a" is pronounced - it changes the quality of the vowel.  The
pronunciation hint doesn't make sense to speakers of American English,
because we'd try to put the consonsnant r in the word instead of fiddling
with the vowel!

In the end, it was decided it made sense to American Dunnett-readers if
you explained that "clars" was the same as "claus" as in Santa
Claus.  That same "awk" sound.

Karen


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