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So that Elmer Fudd thing has a name: rhotacism. From the Greek rho, for R. It broadly describes one kind or another of effed up R, but most commonly substituting W for R.

And then Wikipedia opened its mouth and this came out: Lenition of intervocalic /t/ and /d/ to [d] or [ɾ] is also common in many modern English dialects (e.g. <got a lot of> (phonemically /gotə lotə/) becoming [godə lodə] or [goɾə loɾə]). Contrast is maintained with /ɹ/ because it is never realized as a flap in these dialects of English.

You know, I was following along pretty well that right up to that last bit. Tragically, I was never realized as a flap, either.

Anyway, we were talking a couple of days ago about BBC presenters with rhotacized Rs (about half of them, by my count) and specifically Lucy Worsely. Unlike most of the others, I think a lot of my readers would enjoy her stuff.

Her day job is Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces — Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, the Banqueting House in Whitehall and Kew Palace. She’s currently overseeing major renovations worth major coin, so I guess she can’t be as much of a lightweight as she seems. Her television specialty is daily life, costume and customs of historic Britain, mostly (but not exclusively) the aristocracy.

Reader BJM tipped me off in the comments that much BBC content can be found in its entirely on YouTube (at least until the Corporation plays whack-a-mole with individual programs). And, sure enough, quick search turns up shit-tons of Lucy Worsley programs in all their glory.

I think I’ve watched most of those and +1 would recommend.

September 18, 2013 — 10:47 pm
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