----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, April 23, 2000 6:28
Subject: [phoNet] English by the
Spelling-pronunciations seem to be more common in the USA
than elsewhere in the English-speaking world, and this reflects the Americans'
respect for the written word as well as being typical of an "adoptive"
language. When people feel linguistically insecure (as immigrants often do),
they tend to rely on the spelling of difficult words whenever in
Here are a few characteristic examples:
Marlboro(ugh) US ['mαɹlbɝoʊ], UK
St James US [seɪnt'ʤeɪmz], UK
clerk US ['klɝk], UK ['klα:k]
Berkeley, CA [bɝkli], Berkeley,
['ænθəni], UK ['æntənɪ]
Thames, CT [θeɪmz], Thames, UK
There is no real parallel for this phenomenon in any other language. We
are speaking of how the *written* representation of a
language fundamentally influences the speech patterns of its
speakers. The nearest parallel might be what is happening in North
Africa, where Arabic is replacing the Berber languages, but this is a long
term process, not the single generation language-switch found in the
If you tilt your head just so, it's possible to say that American
English can be described as 'native-speaker E2L'.