Where in Ireland, if anywhere, at the time of James Joyce, would “hoe” and “whore” sound similar enough to pun?

Where in Ireland, if anywhere, at the time of James Joyce (1882 – 1941), would “hoe” and “whore” sound similar enough to pun? This question pertains to Does Joyce, in Finnegans Wake or Ulysses, link the sound form “hoe” to “whore”? from our sister site for Literature. The first issue is rhoticity. While most of … Read more

Is there a name for this articulate, hyper-enunciated, “upper class” American English accent?

In the television show Frasier, the protagonist’s brother, Niles Crane, is a haughty, snobby, obsessive-compulsive psychiatrist who frequently obsesses about knowing the right people and climbing the social ladder. Unique to him is his accent, which serves to complement his upper-class persona. People often call the stereotypical “upper-class” accent the Mid- or Trans-Atlantic accent, but … Read more

Why don’t people understand me when I speak English with a non-rhotic accent?

My name is Arnau and I’m from Barcelona. Over the last few years, I’ve been exposed to the British culture a lot (I have British friends, I’ve been living in Brighton for a while, I watch British TV shows, etc.) and I’ve kind of ‘developed’ a British accent. Obviously, I don’t speak like a native … Read more

Do non-rhotic (British) English speakers often insert a silent “r” when respelling certain words?

This question on SF&F Stack Exchange asked how a particular name ("Chasch", made up by the author) from a novel would be pronounced. An answer to the question referenced an audiobook of the novel, which was definitely the right approach. The name was uttered a few seconds in. I heard /tʃɑʃ/ , which I would … Read more

I pronounce initial R’s with my upper teeth on the very bottom of my inside lower lip. Not rhotic. What’s the IPA for this?

The Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronunciation_of_English_/r/) doesn’t mention an option for pronouncing R where the upper teeth are really, really at the bottom of the inside lower lip, practically touching the gums by moving the lower lip up over the upper teeth. Not rhotic. Answer It sounds like you’re describing a labiodental approximant [ʋ]. That sound is … Read more

What did post-vocalic r sound like in the UK before it died out?

As far as I understand it most UK dialects became non-rhotic at some point in the 19th century – but was the r sound previously heard in words like park similar to today’s American pronunciation, or if not what did it sound like? Answer For starters, there are still UK dialects today which are rhotic, … Read more

How do you pronounce, “pleurisy”?

According to Wiktionary, pleurisy is pronounced one of two ways: a) /ˈplʊəɹɪsi/ b) /ˈpljʊəɹɪsi/ I don’t hear the /j/ sound when I say the word (in General American) – I hear it like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8V8u6ywxCM Two questions: In General American, do you hear pleurisy with or without the /j/? If you do hear it as … Read more

Pronunciation of Korea and Career

Are the pronunciations of Korea and Career identical? Answer As a speaker of Southern Standard British English (RP), these two words are homophones for me. They are both pronounced /kə’rɪə/. However, SSBE is non-rhotic – we only pronounce /r/ before a vowel sound. For speakers of rhotic Englishes, for example General American, or some regional … Read more