Appalled and Aghast.

David Crystal writes for the Guardian about a phenomenon he’s noticed (and has written a new book about):

When I used to present programmes on English usage on Radio 4, people would write in and complain about the pronunciations they didn’t like. In their hundreds. (Nobody ever wrote in to praise the pronunciations they did like.) It was the extreme nature of the language that always struck me. Listeners didn’t just say they “disliked” something. They used the most emotive words they could think of. They were “horrified”, “appalled”, “dumbfounded”, “aghast”, “outraged”, when they heard something they didn’t like.

Why do people get especially passionate about pronunciation, using language that we might think more appropriate as a reaction to a terrorist attack than to an intruded “r” (as in “law(r) and order”)? One reason is that pronunciation isn’t like the other areas of speech which generate complaints, such as vocabulary and grammar. You may not like the way people use a particular word, such as disinterested, but you’re not going to meet that problem frequently. Similarly, if you don’t like split infinitives, you won’t hear one very often. But every word has to be pronounced, so if you don’t like the sound of an accent, or the way someone drops consonants, stresses words, or intones a sentence with a rising inflection, there’s no escape. Pronunciation is always there, in your ears. […]

My BBC critics were not usually suggesting listeners couldn’t understand what speakers were saying; they were complaining about the way they were saying it. Some criticisms were aesthetic: a pronunciation might be called “ugly” or “sloppy”. Some expressed dislike of an accent. Indeed there was the occasional comment about unintelligibility, such as when presenters emphasised a word ambiguously or dropped their voice at a critical moment. But typically, when people talked about unacceptable pronunciation, they weren’t thinking of the content but the delivery.

I usually think of peevery in connection with grammar and word usage, but it stands to reason that people get just as wrought up about pronunciation. I continue to be bemused by the emotional investment people have in how other people use language, and the topic never ceases to interest me. Thanks, Eric!

Comments

  1. I wonder how this varies by language community. I sometimes get the impression that rageful peevery is an Anglophone speciality, but I might be off base there.

  2. One is well-advised not to mess with group identifiers.
    It is often noticed, for example, when a Canadian says “zee” instead of “zed” in a group of fellow Canadians, because it is an offhand form of shorthand that addresses a separateness from our American friends that many wish to maintain.

  3. It could be that there are places and times where rageful peevery (RP) exists, or has existed, independently of a media platform for it. In any case, in GB and the USA this RP appears in letters to the editor of a newspaper, tv or radio program. David Crystal in the quote names that conglomerate of all three known as the BBC.

    Does France, Tunisia, China have newspapers, tv or radio programs that publicize letters to the editor ? If not, why not ? Are there not enough “educated” citizens who bother to write such letters ? If there are, are there enough editors who think that their public is interested enough to want these letters made known to them ? Are there enough meta-“educated” citizens to investigate all this and write a book about it, or a comment in a LH thread ?

    Outside Anglophonia there may be RP which is not familiar to educated or meta-educated citizens, simply because there is no BBC-like medium to make it familiar. If, on the contrary, a country has a BBC-like medium, but not enough RPs who write letters, it may seem that there is no RP.

    So the idea of “being off-base” is hard to entertain seriously, since it’s not clear where the bases might be, or even whether baseball is being played.

  4. What bugs me most as a Russian speaker is the wrong placement of stress. It seems that the current generation is mostly nonreaders, and when I hear something like kaBArga (in NatGeoWild, eg.) it rubs me the wrong way.
    I intensely dislike the pronunciation energiya with a palatilised n, as was widespread in the 1980s, as well as marKEting.
    As an English phonetician – I forget his name – writes in his memoirs, the BBC has a unit whose responsibility is to check foregn proncunciations and make suggestions for the newsreaders, which is mostly ignored, and so is Russian-media practice. I would expect the Costa-Rican Sámara to be stressed differently from the Russian Samára, but it is not. Basically, in difficult cases, Russian newsreaders revert to the default Russian stress pattern, which is on the penult. As a result, it is SinTAgma (<- Σύνταγμα)(as it is by Alicia Vikander in Jason Bourne), KopiApo (<- Copiapó), or EREbru (<- ÖreBRO).

    Another personal pet bugbear is the palatilized consonants in Tatar, as pronounced by (some of) my relatives. It's wrong, no matter what you might say but, surprisingly, my maternal aunts say words like äti (=father) with a palatilized t. I can’t imagine where it came from, but, incredibly, they say it that way.

  5. @ juha
    The BBC pronunciation adviser was Graham Pointon.

    I believe he’s retired now but he still blogs occasionally at http://www.linguism.co.uk/

  6. David Marjanović says:

    Rageful peevery does exist elsewhere. There’s less of it outside the Anglosphere, though, especially less about pronunciation, because the spelling systems aren’t as easily compatible with different ones, so fewer different pronunciations are actually encountered in the wild (apart from phenomena like the several different Standard accents in German, whose differences are almost entirely exempt from peevery).

    What bugs me most as a Russian speaker is the wrong placement of stress. It seems that the current generation is mostly nonreaders

    But you can’t learn stress placement from reading anyway…?

    I can’t imagine where it came from

    The same Russian spelling convention that palatalizes energiya?

  7. There is an Anglophone tradition of aggressive mispronunciation of foreign words. Remember Churchill’s pronunciation of Nazi? Sometimes I think the BBC still upholds it.

  8. David Marjanović says:

    I don’t know about “aggressive”, but there is a tradition of not trying to stretch the English sound system to accommodate foreign words (apart from one particular layer of French ones, which tend to keep their nasal vowels and final stress). That, for various levels of “trying”, is a difference from German practice.

  9. The same Russian spelling convention that palatalizes energiya?
    I don’t think so, since it was (almost) certainly spoken language; at least, it was so with me.

  10. “I wonder how this varies by language community”

    In Croatian, I find the pronunciation of words in the colloquial Zagreb dialect really awful. Just about every word is incorrectly accented. The reason is that the Zagreb dialect does not conform to the standard orthoepy of 4 accents, which is natural in my ikavian štokavian dialect.

    The closest English parallel would be the controversy caused by Michael Crawford’s character pronouncing ha’rass instead of ‘harass in the UK comedy series “Some Mothers Do Ave Em”.

  11. marie-lucie says:

    ha’rass instead of ‘harass

    I don’t know where I first heard this word in English (French has harasser) but I thought that ha’rass was the normal pronunciation and ‘harass a case of stress moving leftward as in many other English words. Similarly for harassment.

  12. I thought that ha’rass was the normal pronunciation

    That’s why I brought this up as an example – because of the controversy it caused in the 1970s in England. Apparently, ‘harass was the normal pronunciation in the UK, but ha’rass was first brought to TV screens by this TV series. In Australia, the only pronunciation I was exposed to is ha’rass. Although occasionally you might hear ‘harass by the newsreaders on ABC. The Macquarie Dictionary has both pronunciations listed, with ha’rass being listed first.

    Speaking of “controversy” – there is controversy about its pronunciation too: con’troversy vs ‘controversy. The Macquarie Dictionary has both pronunciations listed, with ‘controversy being listed first.

  13. Well, as we can see from this thread, it’s not just an Anglophone thing!

  14. zyxt: Wow. I imagined it the other way round: the literary Neo-Štokavian accentuation must be stigmatized as boorish or Serbian, or both boorish and Serbian.

  15. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    The thing about lawr-and-order (which does sound awful to me) is that it tends to be said by the same kinds of people who would stigmatise various elements of educated Scottish pronunciation – which makes it horribly tempting to disapprove as revenge!

  16. you can’t learn stress placement from reading anyway
    But one tends to look troublesome words up in a good dictionary (or used to, which is not the case nowadays, apparently).

  17. I am appalled and aghast at the brassy voices of many of those women announcers on CNN — so there!

  18. NPR announcers tend to drop the t in “dot.com.” “Made possible by Sponsor, Inc., at Sponsor Dock Com.”

  19. Unrelated, but I had a friend who worked at the U.S. Department of Transportation, who loved reading his e-mail address out phonetically to confuse people.

  20. J.W. Brewer says:

    I tend to have first-syllable stress in “harass” as a small legacy of the prescriptivism of my otherwise-wonderful 10th-grade English teacher. She had fallen into the common trap of confusing a Br v. Am difference with a “correct” v. “incorrect” difference.

  21. @Bloix: Yeah, /t/ and /k/ can be effectively indistinguishable in that position. It would probably be a lost cause trying to get people to say an audible [t] before another stop.

    @J.W. Brewer: I have haráss, which certainly seems predominant here in the US – but I’ve heard a good number of Americans use hárass too, especially in media. And I do have the occasional Britticism in my speech owing to my mother and grandmother, like [woʊnt] for wont, or advértisement.

  22. David Marjanović says:

    Wow. I imagined it the other way round: the literary Neo-Štokavian accentuation must be stigmatized as boorish or Serbian, or both boorish and Serbian.

    Literary is literary and therefore prestigious; and it doesn’t come from Serbia but from Hercegovina. A literary pronunciation could only be stigmatized as Serbian if it’s ekavian, as far as I can tell, and that probably never happens because the isogloss for that is in western Serbia in the first place.

    I had a friend who worked at the U.S. Department of Transportation, who loved reading his e-mail address out phonetically to confuse people

    Usdot-dot-com?

  23. “at Volpe dot dot dot gov”

  24. January First-of-May says:

    Supposedly, Slashdot was named to maximize the confusion potential in phonetically reading the URL, way back when the “http://” part was still important and not just something your browser would add automatically.

    Don’t recall where I’ve read that, however.

  25. Lazar- if you put your tongue behind your teeth at the end of dot, and then transition to raising the back of the tongue to the roof of the mouth for the beginning of com, there’s an audible t. The NPR announcers say dock. They raise their tongues to the roof of the mouth, stop their breath, and move right along to com. It’s a peeve, but it’s my peeve.

  26. Jen in Edinburgh: There are otherwise-normally-rhotic Scots who have intrusive /r/ in a few words: Jim Scobbie, the Scottish and rhotic phonologist, reports that he says Chicargo, inaurgural, unaurthorised, idear with full Scottish /r/. Evidently this is because as a child he heard English speople saying Chicago and interpreted the English /ɑː/ as Scottish /ar/.

    Similarly, warsh and Warshington show up in some American varieties, and some individual Americans say idear, including at least two politicians who have spoken of new idears quite consistently. Conversely, /r/ in the second consecutive syllable is often lost by Americans: I say libary and Febyuary, but not seckatary, but other Yanks don’t (Americans don’t say libry, laboratry, medcine or the like).

  27. ” I imagined it the other way round: the literary Neo-Štokavian accentuation must be stigmatized”

    I believe some research has been done on the perceptions of people from different types of Croatia to the different Croatian accents. This research seems to bear out the notion that the inhabitants of Zagreb regard the standard 4 accent accentuation as rural and backward. I believe the reason behind this is that they associate such a pronunciation with the ‘hordes of unsophisticated Hercegovinians’ that have come to Zagreb since the 1990s.

    For what it’s worth, the national TV service HRT has an orthoepy unit to teach the standard 4 accent accentuation to the news speakers – with more or less success.

  28. Lazar- if you put your tongue behind your teeth at the end of dot, and then transition to raising the back of the tongue to the roof of the mouth for the beginning of com, there’s an audible t. The NPR announcers say dock. They raise their tongues to the roof of the mouth, stop their breath, and move right along to com.

    I would disagree with that articulatory account: your first alternative describes an alveolar stop, not necessarily with any release, and your second alternative describes… an alveolar stop with no release. A released [t] in “dot com” isn’t normal in almost any non-affected variety of English.

    @JC: See also “kharki” for “khaki” in Canadian English, as heard from British comrades. (Or even the infamous “Sharday”.)

    Here in New England we pretty often have “idear” and “libary”, though not “warsh” or “Warshington”.

  29. Of course the t isn’t released. I didn’t say it was. I said that the transition from t to k is audibly different from just a k. What you’re telling me is that I can’t possibly hear what I do hear. That wouldn’t bother me if first you’d turned on your radio and listened to NPR for a few minutes. But you’re saying that I’m hallucinating because what i hear simply can’t be there without first checking to see if it is or isn’t.

  30. The original post, meanwhile, is a great example of selection bias. Why do people get especially passionate about pronunciation? They don’t. Most of them don’t care and almost all the rest get vaguely irritated. But no one writes to the BBC saying “Sir, I notice that your continuity announcer on Saturday at 5.34pm said ‘garahge’ rather than ‘garridge’. My wife and I feel very strongly that either pronunciation is acceptable. Yours etc, Equable (Tunbridge Wells).”

  31. A certain James Hutchinson in Delaware has had the domain dotcomat.com registered since 1996, and if I remember rightly the mail address atdotcom@dotcomat.com used to be live. (Mail to the domain is currently blackholed in a very efficient way).

    (EDIT: Remarkable that the very link-aversive moderation system here allows an unobfuscated email address that is then presented as a live link by a higher layer…)

  32. I think the pronunciation “warsh” arises from combining the articulation of the /w/ and /ʃ/.

  33. There’s an Irish guy from Kilkenny whose podcast I listen to regularly, and he always says ‘awkward’ with an extra /r/ before /k/.

  34. I am appalled and aghast at the brassy voices of many of those women announcers on CNN — so there!

    This is, of course, a common reaction, but I’m pretty sure it boils down to being used to men’s voices and wanting things to stay comfortably the same. If we want women to have equal opportunity in broadcasting as elsewhere (as I’m sure we all do), then it behooves us to get over that reaction and get used to a wider range of voices.

  35. @Bloix: If you mean that they say [dɑʔˈkʰɑm] with a simple glottal stop and no alveolar contact at all, that’s still a very typical realization in English and not quite the same as “dock com”, [dɑkˈkʰɑm]. I’ve listened to NPR and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard them mention websites; it just seems to me that you’re in a quixotic opposition to English phonology on this point.

  36. January First-of-May says:

    A certain James Hutchinson in Delaware has had the domain dotcomat.com registered since 1996, and if I remember rightly the mail address atdotcom@dotcomat.com used to be live. (Mail to the domain is currently blackholed in a very efficient way).

    Similarly, Tony Finch of Cambridge University registered dotat.at in 1997, and his email dot@dotat.at is said to still be live today.

  37. I think having a brassy voice is an equal-opportunity disorder among radio announcers. But then my sentiment towards all such is “But let him be soon over, that we may hear the great striding fugue again.”

  38. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    John Cowan: I don’t *think* I have any specific intrusive rs, although I could be wrong, but I definitely say ‘resevoir’ as a hypercorrection.

    It is confusing, though – I was well into adulthood before I realised that ‘eeyore’ was supposed to be the same sound as ‘heehaw’, or that people don’t actually say ‘er’, and I’m sure there are still examples of that kind that I haven’t caught.

    And then you get -r for long vowels or ‘er’ for a schwa in things like phonetic spellings of foreign words, even in textbooks, and while I’m quite aware that I have a chip on my shoulder, I think they could find a way of doing that which didn’t exclude 10%+ of the population if they were only willing to stop and think!

    (Library (or libriry, maybe) but febyury, for me.)

  39. And then you get -r for long vowels or ‘er’ for a schwa in things like phonetic spellings of foreign words, even in textbooks, and while I’m quite aware that I have a chip on my shoulder, I think they could find a way of doing that which didn’t exclude 10%+ of the population if they were only willing to stop and think!

    I have the same chip.

  40. I was well into adulthood before I realised that ‘eeyore’ was supposed to be the same sound as ‘heehaw’

    Likewise. I’m pretty sure most Americans never do figure it out. In the Scots translation of the Pooh books, which I read a few years back with delight (Winnie-the-Pooh review, Hoose at Pooh’s Neuk review), he is properly named Heehaw, and shares the books with Wee Grumphie, Hoolet, and Teeger in addition to the bilingually named characters.

    exclude 10%+ of the population

    And 90% of the American population to boot.

  41. And then you get -r for long vowels or ‘er’ for a schwa in things like phonetic spellings of foreign words, even in textbooks, and while I’m quite aware that I have a chip on my shoulder, I think they could find a way of doing that which didn’t exclude 10%+ of the population if they were only willing to stop and think!

    I remember this being a feature of Berlitz phrasebooks back in the day, baffling and misleading to those of us who speak a rhotic dialect. (Which, surely, is far, far more than 10%, as the vast majority of American and Canadian English speakers speak rhotic dialects. I’d be amazed, in fact, if rhotic English speakers didn’t represent at least half of native English speakers worldwide.)

    A classic example of the confusion produced is when the powers-that-be rechristened Burma as Myanmar. The terminal ‘r’ was never intended to be pronounced, but how many English speakers realize that? In any event, on American news broadcasts it is inevitably pronounced as “mee-an-marrr.”

  42. David Marjanović says:

    This research seems to bear out the notion that the inhabitants of Zagreb regard the standard 4 accent accentuation as rural and backward. I believe the reason behind this is that they associate such a pronunciation with the ‘hordes of unsophisticated Hercegovinians’ that have come to Zagreb since the 1990s.

    Oh, fascinating.

    -r for long vowels or ‘er’ for a schwa in things like phonetic spellings of foreign words, even in textbooks

    Ah yes. All those works in German, textbooks included, that explain [z] as “like s in Rose“… I encountered this phenomenon years before I figured out that people north of the White-Sausage Equator actually have a [z] in that word, so to most readers the explanation gives an exact equivalent instead of – as so often happens – passing off a vague approximation as the real thing and really teaching you to speak with a heavy foreign accent.

    A classic example of the confusion produced is when the powers-that-be rechristened Burma as Myanmar. The terminal ‘r’ was never intended to be pronounced, but how many English speakers realize that?

    The r in Burma was never intended to be pronounced either. The place is /bəˈma/ (stressed syllable in some register I’m too lazy to look up).

  43. “Chicargo” is common in Ireland too, alongside “sarcrfice” and “sarcrament”; “Palmolive” soap is often “Parmolive”. My START vowel is similar to RP, but my PALM vowel is very different (fronter; just a long TRAP) so RP PALM is easily misinterpreted as START.

  44. Ah, the sins of us non-rhotics!

    Textbooks that explain the pronunciation of foreign languages always run that risk. I could explain to an Australian that Tōkyō is pronounced exactly the same as ‘talk your’ in English, or that Ōsaka is pronounced exactly the same as ‘oar-sucker’ or ‘ore-sucker’, but it wouldn’t work for the majority of English speakers in the world, not even for getting the vowel right.

    For that reason I’m usually leery of texts that try to explain pronunciation in terms of English sounds. Unless you know what variety of English they’re talking about and are intimately familiar with that variety, they are next to useless.

  45. I’d be amazed, in fact, if rhotic English speakers didn’t represent at least half of native English speakers worldwide.

    Yeah, I’d guesstimate that non-rhotics probably aren’t more than 20% within the US today, which would give the rhotics a majority within the Anglosphere Classic™ before you even count Canada and other areas. Native English speakers in the rest of the world would probably be a wash, with Indian English tending to be rhotic, African English tending to be non-rhotic, and West Indian English being, as far as I know, somewhat mixed.

    @Bathrobe: I’ve mentioned here before the chaos that resulted when a Brit on an online forum asked why Americans say parmesan as “parmejarn”. I knew exactly what he was asking about, but sadly no one else did.

  46. I once read a story by the always-witty Ralph Steadman, about an older Southern lady haranguing a drunkard, sitting on a New York street, to “get up and get a jarb”. At the time I really didn’t get it.

  47. > “get up and get a jarb”. At the time I really didn’t get it.

    I have to say I’m not completely sure I get it. Is this supposed to imitate Southern speech or New York speech? Is this Steadman making fun of the Southern lady’s accent, Steadman making fun of American English in general, or maybe the Southern lady making fun of New York English? I assume ‘ar’ is supposed to denote British START, [ɑː] or possibly [aː]. But whether this is used to imitate Southern American LOT ([ɑ:]?) or New York LOT ([ɑ ~ ä?]) is not clear to me.

    > Ōsaka is pronounced exactly the same as [Australian] ‘oar-sucker’ or ‘ore-sucker’

    Do Australians perceive the two vowels in ‘sucker’ (STRUT and LETTER) to be the same? If I’m not mistaken these are approximately [ɐ] and [ə] in Australian English. [ə] seems a bit far from Japanese /a/ (although /a:/ is in fact how Japanese tends to imitate LETTER).

  48. English /ǝ/ tends to be lowered in final position, approximating the quality of /ʌ/ in a given accent – so something like [ɐ] or [a] in Australia and southern England. The actual use of a vowel like [ǝ] in final position is one of the subtler distinguishing traits of Northern accents that lack the FOOT-STRUT split.

  49. This is most of the dialog, from Steadman’s America (whatever I could get out of Google snippet view. I don’t have the book with me). This occurred in the 1970s:

    Overheard. Ageing southern lady to helpless wino on sidewalk on East 36th between 3rd and 4th (approximately).
    —”Why don’t you get up and get a jarb? You ought to be ashamed of yo’selv. Aincha got no pride? A man got to have pride in himselv. Come on now. You ought to get up and get a jarb. You ain’t a pretty sight, lyin’ thar. You get up now. You get up and go clean up. You oughta have pride. People ain’t got no respect if they see ya down thar. You ain’t got no respect, ya hear. Get a jarb. A man oughta have a jarb. You know what arm saying. Let go that hydrant. Stand up. Take pride in ya’self.”
    —”Oh leave me alone, lady.”
    […]
    —”Oh no, please lady, please leave me. You ain’t helping. You just making things woise. I ain’t going no place, I’m staying here.”
    —”You ain’t a man. You’s a bum and I ain’t said that to no one before. You take a pride. You get up and get a jarb.”
    —”Lady, please. Just go. I’ll get up. Just go. Please. Please. Leave me alone.”
    —”I wanna see you get up.”
    —”No, I don’t wanna see me get up. Later, but not now. Just leave me.”
    —”You take a pride. You get up and you go find a jarb. A man oughta have a jarb. D’ya hear? You get up now. Come on. You get up, you just gotta…”

    Steadman isn’t being very precise. I suppose what struck him was that the vowel in job was a long unrounded vowel, in contrast to his own British one (I saw him talk once. I don’t remember his accent, but I don’t think it was Welsh or I’d have noted that.)
    He noticed enough of the accents to recognize her as Southern (“arm” for I’m) and him as a New Yorker (“woise”). Part of the comedy is that she is out of her element. A New Yorker would have ignored the drunk, certainly wouldn’t have tried to shame him into being a sober and productive member of society.

  50. “Do Australians perceive the two vowels in ‘sucker’ (STRUT and LETTER) to be the same?”

    The vowel represented by U in “sucker” and “strut” is the same. According to Wikipedia, this is /ɐ/ or /ʌ/ (depending on the researcher who is describing the sound). My own view is that the U in “strut” is slightly different than the one in “sucker” because it is in a closed syllable.

    The vowel represented by E in “sucker” and the second E in “letter” is the same. This is /ə/

    The vowel represented by the first E in “letter” is /e/ or /ɛ/ (again, depending on the researcher who is describing the sound).

  51. @Lazar, thanks, that makes sense.

    @Y, thanks for the dialog. I understand now that Steadman’s not necessarily distinguishing between GenAm, NY and Southern features. Southern LOT doesn’t really strike me as something that stands out compared to GenAm, which is why I thought maybe “jarb” was supposed to mock New York LOT, which strikes me as particularly middle or fronted compared to other American dialects.

  52. David Marjanović says:

    New York LOT strikes me as particularly closed, rounded (endolabially) and diphthongized; at least that’s how Bernie Sanders says strong. It has switched places with THOUGHT!

    LOT elsewhere in the US is very often [ɑː], which in New York as in England is START and PALM but not LOT. (It’s also BATH in England, but not in New York.)

  53. @DM: Strong is in the CLOTH (=THOUGHT) set in North America, rather than LOT. LOT, PALM and START are all fully low in New York, with varying degrees of frontness and merger among the three. (Some New Yorkers even have LOT fronter than PALM/START.)

  54. Lazar is correct.

    The two vowels in ‘sucker’ are virtually identical in Australian English (at least in my variety), so the pronunciation of ‘sucker’ is virtually the same as ‘saka’. If someone deliberately and clearly pronounced ‘sucker’ as /sʌkə/ it would sound a bit strange.

    The second vowel in ‘letter’ is slightly different, maybe not quite as open as the vowel in ‘sucker’, ranging between /ə/ and /ʌ/, depending on the accent. /ʌ/ would be the sign of a broader accent, I think.

  55. David Marjanović says:

    Strong is in the CLOTH (=THOUGHT) set in North America

    Oh, that explains a few things.

  56. The two vowels, represented by u and e, in sucker are not the same in australian. The second vowel is a shwa – according to the Macquarie dictionary, and in my own experience. That is not to say that there are some realisations where the 2 vowels would be the roughly the same, eg. If you were insulting someone by calling them a “suckaaaaa”. There is an audible contrast in the vowels of “sucker” and “sakata” (a brand name of rice crackers). In Sakata, the first two vowels are identical.

  57. > The second vowel in ‘letter’ is slightly different.

    Not phonemic split, but allophonic variation, I presume. Because of the first vowel? Dare I say it…. vowel harmony?

    @Lazar:
    >Strong is in the CLOTH (=THOUGHT) set in North America, rather than LOT

    I swear I’m not trying to nitpick, I just want to check if my understanding is correct. CLOTH and THOUGHT use the same vowel in GenAm and CLOTH and LOT use the same vowel in RP, but “strong” is in CLOTH in both dialects, right?

  58. Oh, and then of course there are the cot-caught-merged Americans for which they’re all the same. When I hear an American speak, I can’t always tell if they’re cot-caught merged. But for the traditional NY accent it’s very clear that they’re not, because of the clearly fronted LOT and clearly diphthongized THOUGHT/CLOTH (as David Marjanović points out).

  59. The second vowel is a shwa

    Yes, phonologically a schwa, but not all schwa’s are pronounced the same. It depends on the vowel in the previous syllable.

  60. I swear I’m not trying to nitpick, I just want to check if my understanding is correct. CLOTH and THOUGHT use the same vowel in GenAm and CLOTH and LOT use the same vowel in RP, but “strong” is in CLOTH in both dialects, right?

    Yes – except that strong is in CLOTH in North America but not in Britain (although it’s now a moot point). The LOT-CLOTH split, which lengthened the latter and then unified it with THOUGHT, took place in Britain and was largely limited to cases with a following voiceless fricative, like cloth and loss. But in ancestral AmEng the split also came to affect words with a following voiced velar, like strong and dog. The “small” L-C split survived in conservative RP into the 20th century but is now basically extinct in Britain; on the other hand, the “large” L-C split is found in nearly all American varieties that still distinguish LOT/THOUGHT.

    When I hear an American speak, I can’t always tell if they’re cot-caught merged.

    Definitely. A lot of Americans maintain the distinction only in a subtle, barely detectable way.

  61. CLOTH and THOUGHT use the same vowel in GenAm and CLOTH and LOT use the same vowel in RP, but “strong” is in CLOTH in both dialects, right?

    Actually, no. In the original 17C split, the subset of LOT words where the stressed vowel was followed by a voiceless fricative in the same syllable, plus the word gone, saw the vowel lengthened and then raised until it merged with THOUGHT. Only in North America did velars trigger the change. So strong belongs to the CLOTH set over here and the LOT set elsewhere. The velar changes are far more sporadic and dialect-dependent. For me, for instance, dog is in CLOTH but hog, log, frog are not.

    This distinction between RP CLOTH and NAm CLOTH is hard to detect today. Essentially all RP speakers except the oldest have undone the split, and probably half of all NAm speakers have merged CLOTH=THOUGHT with LOT=PALM anyway, making the split undetectable. Essentially, CLOTH is required only for us pesky U.S. Easterners, a few British old farts, and some (all?) AAVE speakers.

  62. plus the word gone

    Yeah, that’s a fun side note too. In old-fashioned RP and the American Great Lakes you’ll hear gone=THOUGHT and on=LOT; in the American Midland and South, both are in THOUGHT; and in NYC, both are in LOT. When I heard that Disney earworm “Let it Go”, I knew that the actress had to be a New Yorker when she used different vowels in gone and dawn.

  63. The LOT-CLOTH split was never consistent in mainstream British English. Even within narrowly defined RP many speakers continued to use the same [ɒ] vowel in both. The lexical diffusion of [ɔː] in the CLOTH set of words (plus one or two special cases like gone) was incomplete, with e.g. a lengthened vowel in cross, moth, cloth, officer, cough, off, soft, often but not in Ross, boss, profit etc. — with considerable speaker-to-speaker variation (“I say [mɔːs] and you say [mɒs], I say [kɒfɪ] and you say [kɔːfɪ], but we both rhyme loss with sauce“). The split is still found in some non-standard British accents, and its remnants can be heard in very posh and very old-fashioned RP. HM the Queen remains faithful to a long vowel in off and often, for example.

  64. a lengthened vowel in cross, moth, cloth, officer, cough, off, soft, often but not in Ross, boss, profit

    I have CLOTH=THOUGHT in all of these except profit, which is an open syllable whereas all the others are closed. So the change has gone to completion in my accent at least for the older, fricative cases.

    I have also heard that gone has a unique phoneme in Australia, lengthened but not raised /ɒː/. AusE is unusual among English varieties for its phonemic vowel length: cup and carp have the same quality, roughly /a/, as bid and beard are both /i/, but in both cases the first is short and the second long. As noted earlier, commA is also /a/ but is ultrashort.

    On is another anomalous word in the varieties of AmE without the THOUGHT=LOT merger, being CLOTH above the line separating Northern from Midland AmE, and LOT below that. I grew up just outside the NYC isogloss bundle (I lack, for example, non-rhoticity and the PRICE=CHOICE merger), but otherwise I have the Northern pattern and have CLOTH in gone, LOT in on.

  65. I have also heard that gone has a unique phoneme in Australia, lengthened but not raised /ɒː/.

    I’ve also heard one or two Aussies say that they have that phoneme in God. (That one occasionally takes /ɔː/ in the US, especially as an interjection.) And Australia has another newer length distinction, badlad, shared with some parts of southern England.

  66. David Marjanović says:

    Not phonemic split, but allophonic variation, I presume. Because of the first vowel? Dare I say it…. vowel harmony?

    You betcha. Behold the three American pronunciations of data: [ˈdeɪ̯ɾə], [ˈdæɾɐ], and [ˈdɑɾʌ] or thereabouts.

    The “small” L-C split survived in conservative RP into the 20th century but is now basically extinct in Britain

    Ah, the lorst par of the British Empar…

  67. For the pronunciation of ‘sucker’, note the way that this gentleman, who admittedly speaks with a fairly broad Australian accent, pronounces it at ‘sucker lambs’:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1381&v=SsdimMnNYjY

    Another example is here (‘look at the claws on that sucker’):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=95&v=Og6-iUKiVq0

    There are no doubt environments in which the pronunciation is closer to a classic [ə], especially where the last syllable is unstressed. For example, in this video, the pronunciation of ‘sucker’ is more like [sʌkə] because it is unstressed (‘sucker for wildlife’):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1520&v=8NAyQVT7cL0

    But in a word like ‘sucker’, the drop off to [ə] is arguably less then in words like ‘letter’, ‘driver’, etc. And in citation form, where there is no influence from context, the possibility of [ʌ] is higher.

    Of course, this no doubt also depends on the person, and I would not be surprised if there were speakers like zyxt, who habitually use [ə]. In that case, in order to get the pronunciation of ‘saka’, I would encourage zyxt to pronounce ‘oar-sucker’ as though it were an insult. 🙂

  68. Incidentally, I would suggest youglish.com/ as quick way of finding US, UK, and AUS pronunciations on Youtube. Choose your locale, type in your word, click ‘Say it!’, and you will be taken directly to the place in a whole range of videos where the word is spoken. It’s not perfect but it’s quick and easy.

  69. Very neat, thanks for that!

  70. Thanks bathrobe. I wonder if there has been much research on this. Eg for me, there would be no difference in pronunciation of “chuck ‘er in the boot” and “chucker in the boot”.

  71. American dictionaries show [ˈdɑɾʌ] as a low-frequency variant, but I have never heard it.

  72. Would that be homophonous with Dada for you?

  73. Yeah, I’ve only heard /ˈdɑːtə/ from Aussies. Brent Spiner has suggested that Star Trek: TNG may be responsible for /ˈdeɪtə/ being favored in the US, which… I dunno, maybe.

  74. ‘Chuck ‘er in the boot’ (in the sense of ‘chuck it in the boot’ — featuring a feminine pronoun for an inanimate object in colloquial Australian usage) and ‘Chucker in the boot’ are homophonous for me, due to the dropping of /h/.

    ‘Chuck her in the boot’ is possible in clear, articulate pronunciation, but would normally be used of a female person. Referring to an inanimate object, ‘chuck ‘er in the boot’ is always reduced since it is, by definition, a highly colloquial form.

    I forgot to mention that intrusive ‘r’ is a complicating factor in looking at the pronunciation of words like ‘sucker’. The pronunciation is quite different if there is a vowel in the following syllable. I don’t think many people would pronounce ‘sucker is’ as [sʌkʌriz]. The normal pronunciation would be something like [sʌkəriz].

  75. Brent Spiner has suggested that Star Trek: TNG may be responsible for /ˈdeɪtə/ being favored in the US.

    That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard this week. That was the standard US pronunciation long before Star Trek was dreamed of. In fact, Brent Spiner is older than I am, so he must know that; surely he was joking.

  76. What can I say – I’m just a Millennial.

  77. Everything’s all your fault!

  78. youglish.com is neat…

    …but one of its four examples is “coup de grâce”; and the first four videos it offered me all have /kuː də grɑː/ whereas its own accompanying text gives /kuː də grɑːs/

  79. Bathrobe, is there a minimal pair, where the E in “sucker” differs from a shwa (such as the E in “her”), and it’s not affected by the intrusive R? For example, would “sucker for punishment” be pronounced differently from “suck (h)er for punishment”?

  80. youglish.com seems to rely on text accompanying the videos to search for examples as it is unable to pick words direct from the video. If the transcription is wrong the result will be faulty. It is also unable to pick accents and probably relies on location to deliver results. An American speaking in a British video will be allocated to British English.

    I’m flabbergasted at the results for coup de grâce. Do people really say ‘coup de gra’?

    This from Wiktionary:

    Some English speakers, aware that some final consonants are dropped in French, overcompensate by dropping the final /s/ sound in grâce, making this sound like French coup de gras (“strike of grease”). This mispronunciation is quickly becoming ubiquitous and is being popularized by the media (e.g., it occurs twice in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Volume 2).

  81. For me, “sucker for punishment” is pronounced the same as “suck (h)er for punishment”, whatever the latter might mean.

    I think they are both phonologically schwa, that is, the phoneme /ə/, but schwa is pronounced with different ‘colouring’ in different environments. It might also be the case that different underlying grammatical structures affect pronunciation, but personally I don’t see it here.

    I’m not sure the different ‘colourings’ of /ə/ are traditionally regarded as allophones, unlike the distinction between light l and dark l, for instance, but they seem to be similar phenomenon.

  82. Yes, /kuː də grɑː/ exists. Maybe the pronunciation is affected by coup d’état or Mardi Gras.

  83. Interesting stuff. Incidentally for me, “sucker” and “succour” are prounced the same.

    It sounds like there is a joke or a proverb just waiting to be made, using the 2 words.

  84. David Marjanović says:

    American dictionaries show [ˈdɑɾʌ] as a low-frequency variant, but I have never heard it.

    It’s clearly rare, but I’ve heard all three at the same conference.

  85. Do people really say ‘coup de gra’? and they say Vichysoi for the soup.

    I think [sʌkʌ] was the form used in the traditional “toity-toid and toid”-style New York accent.

  86. They say “fleur de lee” too. (Admittedly, even a basic grasp of French spelling wouldn’t let you know to say the s there.) Then there’s the pronunciation of lingerie as if it were “langeré”, which is nearly universal in the US at least.

  87. In fact, that is the US pronunciation; I find it hard to hard to imagine another. What no non-Yanks say, LIN-jer-ee? lan-je-REE?

  88. I don’t know what non-American practice is – but if I could pick, I’d go with /ˈlæn(d)ʒəɹi/ by analogy with timbre and menagerie.

  89. I’ve heard both /ˈlæn(d)ʒəɹi/ and /ˈlɒn(d)ʒəɹi/ from British speakers, and would use the first one myself as a passable approximation of the French pronunciation (there’s no reason to make the vowel back). /ˌlɒn(d)ʒəˈreɪ/ or /ˈlɒn(d)ʒəˌreɪ/ is absurd but not unheard of.

  90. Maybe the pronunciation is affected by coup d’état or Mardi Gras.

    Or foie gras.

  91. I’ve only ever heard /ˈlɒn(d)ʒəˌreɪ/ in Australia, silly and totally ignorant of actual French it may seem.

  92. Eli Nelson says:

    “repartay” for repartee also exists, although it’s at least more understandable to use /eɪ/ for a French-derived word currently spelled with “ee” than it is to use it for one currently spelled with “ie”

  93. Personal peeve: English speakers, especially snobs, who pronounce noir as [nwɑː] or even [nwɑɑ̠]. [nwʌɹ] sounds much better to me.

  94. I assume you are talking about rhotics who drop the ‘r’ because it sounds more sophisticated to do so, when in fact they should be making gargling noises.

  95. Yes, I mean rhotic speakers. I think part of it is that they hear a weakly fricated [ʁ] as akin to an [h], rather than a rhotic segment.

  96. I share that peeve about rhotic speakers dropping /r/, but it’s most often triggered by people saying “mem-WAH”.

  97. Should be …[ɑ̠ɑ], not …[ɑɑ̠], now that I think about it.

  98. John Malkovich loved to talk about his “memwah” in Burn After Reading, in keeping with the insufferable character he was playing.

  99. In contrast, no one says “reservwah”.

  100. I say “vwar” all right, but my sister-in-law says “vore”; we are both rhotic.

  101. “Reservwah” is standard in Britain, as is “memwah”, but the latter is stressed on the first syllable.

  102. Perhaps the notion that the final “ce” of “coup de grâce” is silent comes from not just “foie gras” or “Mardi Gras” but also the mistaken notion that “coup de grâce” has the same last word.

    Some chessplayers are unsure of whether the final “se” of “en prise” is pronounced or not. Perhaps phrases such as Grand Prix enable the doubt to arise.

  103. If the spelling Burma is bad because it misleadingly suggests to rhotics that there’s an /r/ sound, what spelling should’ve been used instead?

  104. I believe the burmese say something like /bama/. So maybe a spelling like Bahma would have been more appropriate for rhotics. Of course, the whole mess and confusion stems from the state of english spelling. Would we have had these issues if it was the Italians, with their more phonetic spelling, colonized the East Indies?

  105. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    In contrast, no one says “reservwah”

    Every non-rhotic person does in England, in my experience, if we take “er” to be a schwa.

  106. I think Y meant that no rhotic person does, in the way that some do with memoir.

  107. For Scandinavian hyperpreciosity, see http://languagehat.com/das-empire/. I will just note that Danish natively has the requisite gargling noises for a very precious reservoir but since they would come at the wrong end of syllables we don’t. No front rounded either because spelling. Also [leŋʃə’ʁɪ].

  108. Myself, by the way, I say [ˈɹɛzəˌvwɑːɹ] – with an elided non-final r like in surprise, governor, southerner, caterpillar, etc.

  109. David Marjanović says:

    Personal peeve: English speakers, especially snobs, who pronounce noir as [nwɑː]

    Cpt. Jean-Louc Picâde.

    So maybe a spelling like Bahma would have been more appropriate for rhotics.

    That would imply the wrong stress for /bəˈma/; I’d recommend Bamah, maybe.

  110. ə de vivre says:

    Re, Burma: a moment of silence, please, for the generations of American schoolchildren confused by, “sucks to your assmar” in Lord of the Flies.

  111. Wow, out of context I couldn’t even understand it!

    Apparently “assmar” means “asthma” (according to Dr Google), but I certainly wouldn’t have known that, even though I pronounce “asthma” with an /s/.

  112. Yeah, I keep forgetting what that means even though I’ve seen it explained a number of times over the years. Completely counterintuitive to a rhotic.

  113. The French comedian Louis de Funès [lwi də fynɛs] has been mentioned on LH in connection with Ma biche. Despite his popularity in Poland many of my compatriots don’t know what to do with the final s‘s in his first name and surname, and they call him [luˌiz dɛ fiˈnɛ]. Polish radio newsreaders almost routinely drop the final [d] when they mention Le Monde (otherwise with good French vowels; I suppose the masculine article is to blame). On the other hand, bon appetit may acquire a final [t].

  114. David Eddyshaw says:

    We had a discussion a good while back about the pronunciation of Proust’s Baron de Charlus; I discovered from the intertubes that French people incline to pronounce the -s, but that nobody (including the French) really knows. Given Proust’s playing in-universe with the pronunciation of Robert de Saint-Loup’s name (to say nothing of Bloch) there can be little doubt that he would have loved the confusion.

  115. Oh, the eighteen (or so) possible pronunciations of Northanger in one and the same accent!

  116. Is “Norringer” one of them?

  117. On second thoughts, given the variants I considered, I should probably have written “fifteen (or so)”. But I didn’t contemplate Norringer, so perhaps the total count is closer to eighteen after all.

    There is some evidence that the pronunciation intended by Jane Austen was [ˈnɔːθˌhæŋə], but it’s hardly the most common variant in circulation. The hanger in question is ‘a wood on the side of a steep hill or bank’ (OED). Given its history (OE hangra, a weak noun) one might expect it to end up as Mod.E *[ˈhæŋgə] (to rhyme with anger), but it’s been identified formally with hang plus the -er suffix, as in coat-hanger.

  118. “assmar”
    Reminds me of A.A. Milne’s donkey Eeyore, whose name in America would be Hee-haw.

  119. Every non-rhotic person does in England, in my experience, if we take “er” to be a schwa.

    Of course, as Lazar says, I meant rhotic speakers.

    I wonder if a common final -[ɑː] in British accents is part of what makes them sound ‘posh’ to American ears, but unlike New England -[aː].

  120. “That would imply the wrong stress for /bəˈma/; I’d recommend Bamah, maybe.”

    There is no happy solution as “Bamah” might also be mistaken for /bæma/

    The problem is because it is difficult to unambiguously spell out or approximate the short /a/ sound in English. So in English you need to compromise between denoting the correct vowels, versus denoting the correct stress.

    Another option might be the spelling “Bummah” or “Bumah”, with the U as in the English word “but”. But this would inevitably lead to confusion, because U is pronounced differently in the word “put”.

    Case in point is Punjab. According to the Macquarie Dictionary, there are two pronunciations for it – with a /u/ and with an /ʌ/

  121. Yes, it drives me nuts to hear people say “Poon-jab.” And they think they’re being all correct and everything.

  122. Like people who speak of Khacaranda trees.

  123. @Y: On 30 Rock, the narcissistic character Jenna Maroney says camera as [ˈkʰæməɹɑː], I think inspired by the common British pronunciation of cinema as [ˈsɪnəmɑː].

  124. Yes, it drives me nuts to hear people say “Poon-jab.”

    Us people of an internationalist bent are all hoist on the Raj’s petard.

  125. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    There is some evidence that the pronunciation intended by Jane Austen was [ˈnɔːθˌhæŋə]

    That’s how I’ve always pronounced it. What are the other 17?

  126. No [h], a different stress pattern (north-HANG-er), [ŋg] rather than [ŋ], [nʤ] rather than [ŋ(g)], a reduced vowel in the second syllable.

    At the JASNA meeting in Savannah on October 11, 1985, a speaker raised a minor storm by pronouncing “Northanger” with accent on the first syllable and a soft “g.” I hope we can settle the matter by referring to Cassandra Austen’s note of the date of the composition of her sister’s novels. This note belonged to Alberta H. Burke until she died in 1975. It was bequeathed to the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. The note is reproduced in the Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen Volume VI opposite page 242. Here Cassandra carefully shows the words as “North-hanger.”

    Burke (1985)

  127. Schematically:

    NORTH-hang-er
    NORTH-ang-er
    NORTH-hang-ger
    NORTH-ang-ger
    NORTH-hanj-er
    NORTH-anj-er
    NORTH-ing-er
    NORTH-ing-ger
    NORTH-inj-er
    north-HANG-er
    north-ANG-er
    north-HANG-ger
    north-ANG-ger
    north-HANJ-er
    north-ANJ-er

    Of course some of these are much more likely to be heard than others, and in the phrase Northanger Abbey the difference between primary and secondary stress is neutralised.

  128. Here Cassandra carefully shows the words as “North-hanger.”

    Which makes sense, since “hanger” (pronounced as in coat-hanger, clothes-hanger) is a perfectly cromulent BrE word meaning “a wood on a hill”. So North Hanger becomes Northanger just as North Hampton becomes Northampton. I’d pronounce it with more or less equal stress on the first and second syllables.

  129. north-ANG-ger

    This is how I say it; I’m sure I read somewhere years ago that it was the “correct” way, but I have no idea where or whether there was any basis for it. But I’m too old to change (unless Ms. Austen shows up and tells me clearly how she herself says it).

  130. Clearly the thing to do is to start asserting that it’s nothing to do with “north” and is in fact pronounced “Nort-hanger”.

  131. David Marjanović says:

    See also: Gotham.

  132. Yes, it drives me nuts to hear people say “Poon-jab.”

    I’ve even heard it on Aljazeera, where you’d expect them to know better.

  133. It’ll be the only officially recognized pronunciation before you know it. And then people will tell actual Punjabis that they’re saying it wrong.

  134. ə de vivre says:

    “Poon-jab” is my usual pronunciation—not sure how I acquired it. I say it rarely enough that it might be a spelling pronunciation no one ever corrected me on. And I continue to say it rarely enough that I’d probably still say it wrong in spontaneous speech. I managed to acquire the ɪ-vowel in “Sikh” from a Sikh friend in college, though I guess Punjab never came up enough for me to make the switch…

  135. I managed to acquire the ɪ-vowel in “Sikh” from a Sikh friend in college

    I never know what to do about that. Of course I know the “correct” vowel, but the facts that 1) no English-speakers who don’t have ties to India or Sikhs say anything but “seek” and 2) the “correct” vowel makes it sound like “sick” and therefore creates confusion make it hard to use, at least for me. So I just avoid talking about Sikhs.

  136. You could respect the GVS and say “psych”, as in “to Sikh someone out”.

  137. Literary is literary and therefore prestigious; and it doesn’t come from Serbia but from Hercegovina. A literary pronunciation could only be stigmatized as Serbian if it’s ekavian, as far as I can tell, and that probably never happens because the isogloss for that is in western Serbia in the first place.

    I wouldn’t say the standard accentuation is seen or treated as prestigious by non-Neoshtokavians. Mostly it’s ignored as irrelevant or grudgingly tolerated. There are outliers, of course – people who rail against it in disgust and indignation, or people who actually make an effort to emulate it (which usually just makes the speaker, e.g. the current President, sound unnatural and stilted). But most non-Neoshokavians either aren’t fully aware of what the standard accentuation is, are aware but don’t care about it either way, or are aware and are moderately bothered by it.

    The official status does shield Neoshtokavian accentuation somewhat from the negative associations with poorer regions, but it hasn’t made it prestigious. Part of it, though, is less about which type of accentuation is standard, and more about accentuation not being seen as all that important an aspect of the standard. It would be best if we could just make that official and get rid of any standardization in that area.

    Wow. I imagined it the other way round: the literary Neo-Štokavian accentuation must be stigmatized as boorish or Serbian, or both boorish and Serbian.

    Non-Neoshtokavians usually do dislike Neoshtokavian accentuation (and vice versa), but don’t necessarily associate it with negative characteristics, at least not to the bland, sterile standard kind. If the accent exhibits features specific to some of the various natural Neoshtokavian dialects, that’s when stereotypes (positive and negative) pertaining to different regions are ascribed to it.

    But I wouldn’t call Neoshtokavian (or any Serbocroatian variety, really) stigmatized. It’s just disliked by most non-Neoshtokavians (by some only on an aesthetic basis, some due to stereotypes or regional animosity), and Neoshtokavians dislike non-Neoshtokavian accents right back (again, for some it’s only aesthetic, and for some it’s about how they view the people). Kids do get bullied or at least teased if they have the “wrong” accent, but on a societal level there just isn’t enough of a power imbalance between dialects or their speakers for there to exist much more than mutual annoyance/dislike. And, of course, there’s plenty of that among speakers who aren’t on different sides of that particular divide, too.

    or Serbian

    Half of Croatia uses Neoshtokavian accentuation, and national media largely attempts to do so too, so it’d be difficult for Neoshtokavian to suffer from some kind of association with Serbia. And, while neoshtokavian vs non-Neoshtokavian placing of stress plays a huge role in how aesthetically pleasing people find other accents, people in Croatia (much like in the Serbocroatian language area in general) don’t actually tend to think of accents mainly in those terms. They don’t think of “neoshtokavian varieties”, but of the Dalmatian accent, the Slavonian accent, the Bosnian accent, the Herzegovinian accent, the Serbian accent, etc., all immediately recognizable and all associated with their own very different set of stereotypes (also, all of them concepts that ignore the variety of accents in all these places, of course – e. g. “the Dalmatian accent” = Split, “the Serbian accent” = Belgrade, etc.

  138. Thanks for those details!

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