Re: [tied] Re: OT American dialects

From: Miguel Carrasquer
Message: 30577
Date: 2004-02-03

On Tue, 03 Feb 2004 12:01:16 +0000, tgpedersen <tgpedersen@...>

>I was pointing to a possible Dutch
>connection, because it seemed to me that American dialectologists
>wouldn't have been aware of that particularity of Dutch dialects

20/21st century Dutch dialects...

>worse, would have reacted like Miguel: this dialect is insignificant,
>since no one has written about it,

I don't care if anyone has written about it. I used to live in and around
Leiden (1964-1984), so I know what I'm talking about.

To summarize the argument thus far, you said:
>That's interesting, since the American War of Independence was in
>that period, and since the Americans (at least in the standard (low,
>Dutch-influenced?) dialect that spread from New York) didn't
>drop /r/'s.

But New York _does_ drop /r/'s.

And you said:
>New York was the
>noveau riche immigrant port in the middle, originally with a Dutch
>substrate. Amsterdam and Rotterdam Dutch has retroflex r's, as does
>Standard American, un[like] New England and Southern.

But Amsterdam Dutch doesn't have retroflex /r/'s. The "Gooise /r/" is not
retroflex, but an alveolar continuant (like British RP /r/). Leiden, and
to a minor extent, Rotterdam, do have retroflex /r/, but, as mentioned in
the text I quoted earlier, retroflex /r/ is very recent there. A special
pronunciation of /r/ in Leiden is first mentioned in the 19th. century (and
it wasn't retroflex then[*]), so it has no bearing on 17th. century Dutch,
which is perhaps best preserved in Afrikaans, which has rolled/flapped r's.

[*] I'll translate the relevant passage:

"I find the question of the origin of the "Gooise r" very intriguing.
My first thought was towards the city dialects in Holland, specifically
Leiden. The "Leidse r" also seems to be an approximant realisation, but it
sounds more prominent than the r that I hear in Standard Dutch and perhaps
it's more retroflex in nature. A very significant difference in any case
is that the Gooise r can only occur postvocalically (in words like "bord"
and "hoor"), while the Leidse r can also occur prevocalically. This is
illustrated for instance by the answer to the question: ‘Do you know a
Leids word with four w's? Woowowewal (roofoverval)’. According to Dick
Wortel (pers. comm.) the real Leidse r, which was already observed in the
19th century, has special properties that also involve pitch. This r is now
practically non-existant and has been replaced by a variant that Wortel
calls the ‘Texan r’.

In other words, Leiden developed an approximant /r/ (in all positions) at
least by the 19th century, which has now (and already in the 60's) further
developed into a retroflex /r/ (Wortel's "Texaanse 'r'"). It is possible
that this "Leidse /r/" (at a stage when it wasn't retroflex yet)
contributed to the late 20-th century spread of the "Gooise /r/", the
pronunciation of post-vocalic /r/ as an alveolar approximant. Pre-vocalic
/r/ is almost always uvular in speakers that have the Gooise /r/. Real
Amsterdams (and Afrikaans) have pre-vocalic rolled /r/ and post-vocalic
tapped/flapped /r"/.

It goes without saying that developments in the USA are much more likely to
be connected to the development of an approximant [R] in England at least
two centuries before it happened in Leiden (and the gradual dropping of
post-vocalic /r/ which ensued, but not in time to affect the first English
settlers of North America), and, secondly, to an independent retroflexion
of [R] to [R.] (or to "bunched /r/") in North America itself (long before
this happened in 20th. century Leiden).

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal