THE FALL AND RISE OF R IN NEW ZEALAND.

An article by linguist Laurie Bauer discusses the strange fate of the phoneme /r/ in New Zealand:

When North America was settled, many of the early settlers came from the west or still pronounced “r”, with the result that standard North American varieties still have an “r” sound in words like “far” and “farm” (such accents are called “r”-ful or, more technically, “rhotic”). By the time Australia and New Zealand were settled, it was a lot clearer that users of the standard form in England did not pronounce an “r” in “far” and “farm”, and so, except in Southland, where there was a huge Scottish influence, a non-rhotic variety became the norm here, too….
There are just two words where most of us who do not come from Southland get it wrong. The letter of the alphabet that comes between Q and S is usually called “arrrr” with a burr, and the name of the country “Ireland” is usually said with a burr in the middle. There may be good reasons for these exceptions, but they are nevertheless rather strange exceptions.
For a while it was not considered cool to sound like a Southlander, and many Southlanders lost their burr, then it became cool once more to be associated with the region, and burrs started to reappear as far north as Dunedin and Queenstown. The interesting thing about these new burred “r”s is that they appear almost exclusively after the vowel [ɜː], that is in words such as word, work, fern, nurse, curse, learn, first, bird. They do not appear in words like finger, farm, scarce, beard and ford, where the “r” in the spelling shows that there once was an “r” in the pronunciation (and where there still is one for standard speakers from the US, Canada, Scotland and Ireland)…
Researchers from Victoria University, as well as those in other centres, are finding traces of this new rhoticity in the speech of school children from Kaitaia in the north, through Auckland, to the volcanic plateau. And it seems to be travelling fast, and to be strongest in the speech of young people who are members of Maori or Pacific Island communities.
The development of the pronunciation of “r” provides a fascinating study, and the way in which different sources seem to be converging to provide a unique New Zealand variant as a conservative south meets an innovative north is one of the most fascinating parts of the study.

Thanks, Stuart!

Comments

  1. The article is kind of hard to understand if you Know Too Much Linguistics. Scottish r is a lingual trill, and that’s usually what “burr” means (except in “Northumberland burr”, where it’s uvular rather than lingual). In this article, though, “burr” seems to refer to the ordinary retroflex/bunched sound heard in syllable onsets and rhotic codas everywhere except Scotland.
    So my guess about what is happening is that the NURSE vowel is getting an American-style /ɝ/ instead of /ɜː/, but the dialect remains otherwise non-rhotic, vaguely similar to what has happened in New York City since the abandonment of the NURSE-CHOICE merger fifty years ago. But I can’t tell for sure.

  2. Maybe it’s the “talk like a pirate” fad.

  3. yes agree my 2 aunties in there 90s grew up in Southland and still talk the brogue,but my father who moved and set up shop after,ww2,in Wellington lost it over time ,i love to hear my aunty talk like she does,i thought it was from a mixture of whalers,shetland or orkney island settlers ,not sure which ones and local Maori,maybe i stand corrected?.

  4. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    >i>The article is kind of hard to understand if you Know Too Much Linguistics. Scottish r is a lingual trill, and that’s usually what “burr” means (except in “Northumberland burr”, where it’s uvular rather than lingual) … I can’t tell for sure.
    This is something of a misunderstanding on your part — in any case it’s wrong. Northumberland in in England, not Scotland. A burr in England is lingual. The most widespread and well-known English example, a west-country burr, is lingual.

  5. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    >i>The article is kind of hard to understand if you Know Too Much Linguistics. Scottish r is a lingual trill, and that’s usually what “burr” means (except in “Northumberland burr”, where it’s uvular rather than lingual) … I can’t tell for sure.
    This is something of a misunderstanding on your part — in any case it’s wrong. Northumberland in in England, not Scotland. A burr in England is lingual. The most widespread and well-known English example, a west-country burr, is lingual.

  6. “Scottish r is a lingual trill… the ordinary retroflex/bunched sound heard in syllable onsets and rhotic codas everywhere except Scotland.”
    There isn’t just the one “Scottish r” – there’s a wealth of allophones across and within varieties, according to the University of Edinburgh’s Accents of English site. The retroflex approximant is one of them, and in fact in Standard Scottish it seems to be standard in nearly all positions.

  7. Did anybody else hear the Bob Costas interview with U.S. Olympic men’s volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon, a NZ South Islander (Christchurch) with one of the most rhotically coquettish accents I have heard (now you hear ‘em, now you don’t), a unique blend of Kiwi shibboleths (barred-i ‘it’, flying ‘earcraft’, etc.) and Orange County r-fulness.

  8. John Emerson says:

    Off topic but almost timely:
    Everything you need to know about the names Sibelius / Sebelius.
    Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, VP also-ran, is very unlikely to be related to the composer. Sebelius’s family is Swedish, whereas Sibelius’s was Finnish-Swedish. Furthermore, surnames in Sweden and Finland came along rather late (which was why you have all the Andersons and Johnsons) and “Sibelius” and “Sebelius” were probably formed by adding a Latin -ius suffix to two different place names. (Names formed by -ius are fairly common in Scandinavia and probably indicate educated or clerical families. “Fabricius” is another example.)
    My guess is that the plethora of -son names in the US is an indication that most immigrants were landless laborers and very poor farmers. The names of the Swedish nobility are almost never in the -son form. (The Swedish founder Gustavas Vasa was an Eriksson — dialect “Jerkson”)
    Next question: so what about this guy’s name?

  9. John Emerson says:

    The actress Maggie Gyllenhaal is a Swedish noblewoman, more or less. Her father also was raised as a Swedenborgian.

  10. What guy?

  11. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    Ralph Waldo … traced his descent from Thomas Emerson, who emigrated from England to America in 1635.
    I got my copy of Substantific Marrow in the post today.
    Very exciting, I’ve agreed to wait until this evening to start reading it.
    I didn’t know Tycho Brahe was from a landed family, though I think I knew he was from Skåne.

  12. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    Ralph Waldo … traced his descent from Thomas Emerson, who emigrated from England to America in 1635.
    I got my copy of Substantific Marrow in the post today.
    Very exciting, I’ve agreed to wait until this evening to start reading it.
    I didn’t know Tycho Brahe was from a landed family, though I think I knew he was from Skåne.

  13. John Emerson says:

    Woops. This guy.

  14. John Emerson says:

    Thomas Emerson was an Ipswich Emerson, whereas my ancestors were Haverhill Emersons. It’s apparently uncertain exactly how many Emerson brothers came over.

  15. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    My mother’s family was from the same area. Flat as a pancake, even more so than Skåne.

  16. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    My mother’s family was from the same area. Flat as a pancake, even more so than Skåne.

  17. Olaudah was renamed by Capt. Pascal after the Swedish founder, yes. His autobiography explains Olaudah, “which, in our language, signifies vicissitude or fortune also, one favoured, and having a loud voice and well spoken.” He adopted the surname Equiano relatively late. I’ve seen it explained as Igbo ekwuano, but no more than that (nothing in Wikipedia).

  18. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    Does Anderson mean second son, or someone else’s son? I assume the former, but I like the latter.

  19. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    Does Anderson mean second son, or someone else’s son? I assume the former, but I like the latter.

  20. “my ancestors were Haverhill Emersons”: the locals pronounce the town Ave-Rill, with the “R” non-rhotic.
    Now then, here’s an oddity. I went through a Scottish school with an English classmate who couldn’t pronounce “r” in our civilised way. Then we started French, and all the Scots immediately copied the teacher, replacing their front-of-the-mouth “r” with the French up-the-throat “r”. My poor English chum couldn’t manage the French “r” either. (Happily our manners were good enough that we’d never mocked his r-less-ness until his unfortunate confrontation with French.)

  21. John Cowan raises a good point: in Boston, as in New York, even the most consistently non-rhotic speakers nowadays use [3`]. (There’s a truly non-rhotic variant that can sound sort of like [Y:], but it’s rather rare and archaic now, similar to [3I] in New York.) It seems to me that for whatever reason, /3(`)/ is the vowel most susceptible to rhoticism and most resistant to non-rhoticism.
    As for fascinating Olympic accents, you should hear the Zimbabwean swimmer Kirsty Coventry, who seems to have spent a lot of time in the US. Her accent seems to be a mix of rhotic American English with Antipodean English (i.e. Aussie-Kiwi-SA to my ear).

  22. John Emerson says:
  23. John Emerson says:

    In Taiwan I met a NZer who had a practice of asking people where they thought he was from based on his accent. Apparently NZ is at the absolute bottom of the list of English speaking countries, and some people forget it entirely (possibly considering it part of Australia).
    He was headed for the diplomatic service and seemed primed to do so with a more-than-Canadian modesty.
    He said that he took little or no pleasure in the fact that NZ was regarded one of the best places to go to survive a nuclear war.

  24. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    But to return to me, I think there are some similarities between NZ and Norway. “Norway, is that in Sweden?” I was once asked by a Californian, and it’s true it is a bit in the shadow of the other Scandinavians. There may be similarities to the NZ landscape. I heard from NZers that it’s terribly damp and humid there, but I doubt that’s both islands all the time. Terrible about your great aunt, John Emerson. Are the Haverhill Emersons from the Suffolk Haverhill, the Mass. one, or both of them? We (my family) always call it Hayv-rill.

  25. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    But to return to me, I think there are some similarities between NZ and Norway. “Norway, is that in Sweden?” I was once asked by a Californian, and it’s true it is a bit in the shadow of the other Scandinavians. There may be similarities to the NZ landscape. I heard from NZers that it’s terribly damp and humid there, but I doubt that’s both islands all the time. Terrible about your great aunt, John Emerson. Are the Haverhill Emersons from the Suffolk Haverhill, the Mass. one, or both of them? We (my family) always call it Hayv-rill.

  26. John Emerson: I know, New Zealand is to English-speaking nations what Wales is to the UK, sadly. I think most Americans know about England and Scotland, but then when you mention Wales they’re totally lost. :)
    I’ve been able to tell New Zealanders apart (and do a pretty decent fake NZ accent) ever since I started watching Flight of the Conchords.

  27. Maybe Torchwood does the same for a Welsh accent.

  28. David Marjanović says:

    Does Anderson mean second son, or someone else’s son?

    I thought Anders was short for Andreas?

  29. Yes, but don’t tell A.J.P.—he’s been disillusioned enough already.

  30. John Emerson says:

    The evil house of Michael Emerson was in Haverhill MA.
    My brothers and sisters are not as delighted as I am to be part from the Evil House of Emerson. Elizabeth made Hester Prynne look pretty feeble, if you ask me. And her sister Hannah even more so.

  31. John Emerson says:

    Kron, here in Minnesota Norway outranks the other Scandinavian countries.

  32. In a pension somewhere in Germany in 1984, I was challenged by an English-speaker at breakfast to guess where he was from. I had to keep him talking a little longer before I heard the telltale markers that distinguish Kiwi from Aussie accents (the shibboleths I mentioned above).
    I didn’t hear enough of Coventry’s accentual melange, but I usually listen for unaspirated voiceless consonants to distinguish South African from other English accents Down Under. I wonder how quickly or successfully the many expat South Africans in NZ and Oz adapt their accents.
    I think I can distinguish Welsh accents from Irish, Scottish, RP, or Cockney, but I’m not much good trying to distinguish regional accents within each of the Disuniting Kingdoms.
    The British boxer who won gold spoke the most beautiful Cockney, it seemed to me. It would be great if someone compiled the most distinctive Englishes used in interviews with a wide range of Olympic athletes. That would be much more interesting, for me anyway, than the most of the events themselves.
    BTW, the decathlon winner Bryan Clay is considered a Local Boy Made Good by folks in Hawai‘i (he graduated from Castle High School in Kaneohe, HI), but was considered a Californian by most reporters from elsewhere.

  33. You can hear Coventry speaking in this video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rhf9B5Z5c6M ) and in this one ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBodU5GBW8Y ) . She seems largely rhotic, and she sounds American on first impression. She uses a tenser [e] and [o:] in place of AmEng [E] and [Q:], and I think she uses more of a SA-style [AU] in place of AmEng [au].

  34. And yeah, that English boxer guy was awesome. “The geezer bit me!” :)

  35. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    I am so, so wrong about almost everything to do with language. It cheered me up all day to have found a mistake by John Cowan. Now it’s just to see one by David Marjanović, and I can die a happy man.

  36. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    I am so, so wrong about almost everything to do with language. It cheered me up all day to have found a mistake by John Cowan. Now it’s just to see one by David Marjanović, and I can die a happy man.

  37. Lazar,
    Yes, Coventry sounds awfully American (like t[o:]tally) except for those mid vowels, and the Great Wool she was planning to visit.
    A lot of the anglospherical athletes who train in the U.S. (at least swimmers and runners) seem to train in the American South (in her case at “Uhrburn” U.), where rhoticism is patchy. My mother from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia spoke rhotically; my father from Tidewater Virginia did not.

  38. John Emerson says:

    “Joel, I am your father. Please quit addressing me as ‘Tidewater Male #1′”.

  39. Daddy! Or should I call you Papa John?

  40. Kronique, A.J.P. says:

    “Sir”.

  41. I think Bauer did a good job of the article for his intended audience. I’m no linguist, but I’ve read a couple of his books and hung around here long enough to see how the imprecision of his word choice could be annoying to the real scholars and professionals. Since his column is for the average Kiwi, I thought it was well-written.
    As for NZ’s invisibility when it comes to listing variants of English, that’s a problem that’s likely to get worse. As Zild and Strine drift further apart, the perception that the Kiwi accent is just a mutant Aussie accent becomes less and less acurate. Few outlanders can do Aussie accents well, and even fewer can do Kiwi accents at all. Comparisons between US/Canada/ England/Wales etc, all eeem to overlook the small matter of 2000 kilometres of ocean between us and Australia.

  42. Bill Walderman says:

    I’m rhotic but my friend Tom from East Boston isn’t. Once we took a trip to Scotland together. At one point it took five minutes and ultimately my intervention to get the rhotic waitress to understand his request for “moa budda.”

  43. Bill,
    I had a similar experience the first time I ordered a glass of water in a Hong Kong hotel restaurant. I had to unflap my /t/ and drop the final /r/ before the waiter understood me.

  44. Bill Walderman: Isn’t it wonderfully ironic for a non-rhotic North American to be misunderstood by a rhotic Briton? :)

  45. Bill Walderman says:

    Joel, yes, the intervocalic flap contributed to the confusion.
    Lazar, the irony wasn’t lost on me.
    In my experience East Boston (and its colony Reveah–too bad I don’t have a schwa on my keyboard) and Meffid sport the two most extravagant accents in the entire greater Boston area.

  46. When I read Bauer’s article, I was a little disappointed to see no provision for comments, because another change that might be related is very noticeable in the same populations he mentions. The word “new” is now being pronounced “noo” rather than “nyoo” mostly by young Maaori and Polynesians, it seems (Please forgive the lack of IPA). The evidence is anecdotal and therefore largely worthless, but the shift is very real.

  47. I’m one of those speakers of archaic Ameringlish who says nyew, and also hwat, hwen, hwere, and hwy. Is hw- also dead or dying in Kiwinglish?

  48. “Is hw- also dead or dying in Kiwinglish?” I’d say dying. My mother’s parents were 4th-generation Kiwis who said “hw-” all the time, alnog with “pell mell” and “tray” for a personality characteristic. That was back in the 70s, and even then “hw-” was waning. Now it seems that even saying “nyew” is a marker of my own decrepitude.

  49. Siganus Sutor says:

    While listening to the BBC this morning, one was wondering what was this “convention flaw” being mentioned.
    Should “flaw” and “floor” be strictly identical for those who don’t roll their -rs? There might be a difference in American English but I believe it would be quite hard to distinguish one from the other in English English, no?

  50. “Should “flaw” and “floor” be strictly identical for those who don’t roll their -rs?”
    They are absolutely identical in NZ English. The author of the article under discussion here would be Laurie Bau-ə(h) to most Kiwis. It’s why my list of links has a link to the Wiki article on rhoticism/non-rhoticism under the title “What’s An Ah?”

  51. Siganus Sutor says:

    > Stuart
    Would it be the same for those Southern Scots as well?
    (I’ve been as south as Invercargill but I didn’t notice a great deal of difference in the pronunciation, and I can’t remember hearing people talk like those hyperborean Caledonians. But this doesn’t count because I was only briefly there and, moreover, because I am a total outsider.)

  52. “Would it be the same for those Southern Scots as well?”
    I think that Bauer’s article did a good job of highlighting that the “burr” is normally only heard in Southern speech with the vowel sound found in “work” “nurse”, Earth”, etc. One exception to this is the name of a town in the heart of Southland. As a teenager, when friends from Gore visted, I never tired of asking them where they were from, to be amused by their saying “Gorrrr” where most Kiwis would say “gɔə” Did I mention how much I hate having to use IPA?

  53. “I wonder how quickly or successfully the many expat South Africans in NZ and Oz adapt their accents.”
    I think that depends on several factors. There are apparently parts of the North Shore of Auckland wherein the language heard literally “on the streets” is Afrikaans. For those immigrants, retention of their “Japie” accent is pretty much guaranteed. In contrast, Irene Van Dyk, a South African import who’s become a Kiwi sporting treasure, has alomst completely lost her Seth Effrican accent, and now sounds very Kiwi. I think that this may have a lot to do with her working as a primary school teacher, immersed in the increasingly strong and distinctive accent of the children around her.

  54. mollymooly says:

    What does a Kiwi saying “Ireland” sound like? //dipthong// + //r// is a difficult combination in any English accent. In RP it often comes out as /ˈaɪ.lənd/, which I hate. In the US, it becomes /ˈaɪ.ɚ.lənd/, which I hate. In Ireland it’s often /ˈar.lənd/, which I hate; and sometimes /ˈɜr.lənd/, which I hate. When people ask “Where are you from?”, I say /ˈaɪr.lənd/, but I have to say it quickly to keep it disyllabic. When they say “Uh…where?”, I cycle through all the preceding options till I find one they understand.

  55. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    How cruel that you couldn’t have come from say, Jamaica or New Brunswick. What about calling it the Irish Republic, or do you hate that too? (I’m betting you do.)

  56. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    How cruel that you couldn’t have come from say, Jamaica or New Brunswick. What about calling it the Irish Republic, or do you hate that too? (I’m betting you do.)

  57. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    … (I hadn’t finished).
    The name for Ireland after independence from Britain, The Irish Free State was later changed to the Republic of Ireland. Subsequently, Unionists in Ulster would refer to Ireland as “the Free State”, presumably to annoy people in the South.
    Feel free to correct any or all of this, I’m usually wrong.

  58. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    … (I hadn’t finished).
    The name for Ireland after independence from Britain, The Irish Free State was later changed to the Republic of Ireland. Subsequently, Unionists in Ulster would refer to Ireland as “the Free State”, presumably to annoy people in the South.
    Feel free to correct any or all of this, I’m usually wrong.

  59. mollymooly says:

    “Irish Republic” won’t fly: partly because, as Wikipedia’s “names of the Irish state” article says, that means something else; and partly because I was referring more to the island than the state. This confusion is common and, to an extent, deliberate. Anyone who says they come from “Northern Ireland” is a Unionist. Northern Nationalists and Southerners alike come from “Ireland”. If you press them with “Northern or Southern?” they will specify, but with a hint of grudge for reminding them of the dratted Border. And, pace me just now, don’t call it “Southern Ireland” either. It was actually Republicans who used “Free State” as an insult; Unionists favoured “Eire”. In an odd reversal of the Côte d’Ivoire/Timor-Leste situation, [Republic-of-]Irish people hate it when you use the Irish name in English.

  60. Good lord. I thought I knew something about the tangled mass of Irish resentments, but that nomenclatural tangle is too much for me. I say it’s Hibernia, and the hell with the last 2,000 years.

  61. Crown, Sir Arthur says:

    Thank you for that very interesting wiki article. I see your problem with ‘the Irish Republic’, which has been made a sort of job description in order to avoid people making a distinction between the state and the geography. How very subtle these insults are.
    I will make sure to call the country Ireland from now on, even though I probably always have done and even though it comes out very non-rhotic. It sounds almost like island when I say it. I suppose I’ll call the North Ulster, even though it isn’t quite. The actual change I’m going to make is never to refer to the UK of GB & N Ireland, but simply to the United Kingdom. To add N. Ireland is unnecessary, so it’s just picking a fight.
    What with the United Kingdom and ‘erbs, I’ve made some big adjustments in my vocabulary this week.

  62. Crown, Sir Arthur says:

    Thank you for that very interesting wiki article. I see your problem with ‘the Irish Republic’, which has been made a sort of job description in order to avoid people making a distinction between the state and the geography. How very subtle these insults are.
    I will make sure to call the country Ireland from now on, even though I probably always have done and even though it comes out very non-rhotic. It sounds almost like island when I say it. I suppose I’ll call the North Ulster, even though it isn’t quite. The actual change I’m going to make is never to refer to the UK of GB & N Ireland, but simply to the United Kingdom. To add N. Ireland is unnecessary, so it’s just picking a fight.
    What with the United Kingdom and ‘erbs, I’ve made some big adjustments in my vocabulary this week.

  63. mollymooly says:

    Of course, Northern Ireland’s name is also contentious, even today.

  64. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    Yeah, but that’s completely impractical, calling it the North: ‘Here’s my friend Bill from Botswana, and this is Roger, he’s from “the North”‘. I think Ulster’s the closest I can come to an acceptable name, it goes with Leinster, Munster and Connaught, and nobody’s disputing the ownership of Co. Donegal or the other two Irish counties.
    The more I think about The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the more unresolved it seems. They should either include none of their disputed colonies or all of them. So, either it should be just the UK, or The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, The Falklands and Gibraltar. Luckily it doesn’t come up that often, only when I look at the passport, really. ‘Erbs is a much more major change for me.

  65. Crown, A. J. P. says:

    Yeah, but that’s completely impractical, calling it the North: ‘Here’s my friend Bill from Botswana, and this is Roger, he’s from “the North”‘. I think Ulster’s the closest I can come to an acceptable name, it goes with Leinster, Munster and Connaught, and nobody’s disputing the ownership of Co. Donegal or the other two Irish counties.
    The more I think about The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the more unresolved it seems. They should either include none of their disputed colonies or all of them. So, either it should be just the UK, or The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, The Falklands and Gibraltar. Luckily it doesn’t come up that often, only when I look at the passport, really. ‘Erbs is a much more major change for me.

  66. All my /l/s are dark, and most people can’t understand me, whatever their accent, when I say “milk”.
    A.J.P. Crown: Alas, there are nationalists who do object vehemently to the application of Ulster to the Six Counties. And I do know that Northumbria is still England and not yet Scotland (with the exception of Berwick-upon-Tweed, which is for some purposes neither), and I did in fact say that “burr” meant “lingual trill” except in the case of “Northumbrian burr”, so I’m confused about what it is that you think I’m confused about.
    And it seems the Falklands and Gibraltar are as happy to be part of the U.K. as Jersey, Guernsey, and Man are happy not to be part of it — any controversy comes strictly from outside. Self-determination is good, say I (being a Yank and all, and if it’s the determination of yourselves to keep Mrs. Mountbatten-Windsor, then by all means keep her).

  67. “and if it’s the determination of yourselves to keep Mrs. Mountbatten-Windsor, then by all means keep her”
    I’m not not a Brit, but she is my Head of State too, and I seem to recall reading somewhere that the double-barreled version of the name only applies to those members of the Family who have no more than a whelk’s chance in a supernova of actually ascending to the throne. Elizabeth Regina’s surname by that ruling is just Windsor, not Mountbatten-Windsor.

  68. Sir Arthur Crown, O.M. says:

    To John Cowan: re Mrs Windsor, I hate the old bat, so don’t blame me.

  69. Lord Crown of Bathos Falls says:

    To John Cowan: nationalists (some) can object until they’re blue in the face. I’m uninterested in being pc, I’m interested in being right.

  70. Arthur, Graf von Hubris says:

    To John Cowan: Didn’t say you were confused, I said this was a misunderstanding on your part, see also Breffni’s post immediately below mine. It’s possible that you knew Northumberland is in England; in that case, my problem would be with your phrasing rather than your knowledge of language and Geography.
    I’m quite sure you know a lot more than me about both linguistics and computer languages, hence my enjoyment and my relief at finding that you don’t know everything about everything. The following day I found even Mark Liberman was in error (about the first English translation of Freud) and my joy was unconfined.

  71. Sir Arthur Crown says:

    Sorry, that probably should have been Ms Windsor, not Mrs.

  72. Sir Arthur Crown, V.C. says:

    any controversy comes strictly from outside
    If that’s your criterion, perhaps it ought to be:
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, The Falklands and Gibraltar, Proprietors of The Elgin Marbles and a Whole Lot of Other Stuff.
    That would show them.

  73. Elizabeth Regina’s surname by that ruling is just Windsor
    I still call ‘em Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

  74. A.J.P.Crown says:

    Wiki: Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was the only European country to appoint a diplomatic consul to the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. The consul was named Ernst Raven, assigned to a position in the State of Texas. Raven applied to the Confederate Government for a diplomatic exequatur on July 30, 1861 and was accepted.
    (An exequatur is a patent which a head of state issues to a foreign consul which guarantees the consul’s rights and privileges.)
    I scarcely more than muttered, “Other friends have flown before —
    On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
    Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”

  75. A.J.P.Crown says:

    Actually it was Prince Albert (of Saxe Coberg Gotha) who, on his deathbed, in 1861, prevented Palmerston from declaring war on The United States on behalf of the Confederacy. The Casus foederis (strictly speaking, Britain had no alliance with the southern states, only a common interest in cotton) is known as the Trent affair.
    Prince Albert was a great man, much brighter than the Hanoverians. I wish we still had the Stuarts.

  76. Stuart: The House of Windsor has both royal and non-royal members, as you say; the non-royal members mostly have the surname “Mountbatten-Windsor”. The royals, however, have no surnames at allses: Prince Charles, for example, is just “His Royal Highness Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, Duke of Rothesay, Duke of Cornwall”. However, it seems to me that when the Republic is proclaimed, they too will acquire the Mountbatten-Windsor surname — unless they go to court and change it, I suppose.
    Your Lordship: The point is that the nationalists are technically correct here: Ulster has nine counties, not six.
    Mein Herr: I certainly do make mistakes and I certainly don’t know everything (and if I’m wrong about that, then I’ve just made a mistake and revealed an area of ignorance).

  77. Are we onto epistemology already? I need my vitamins to keep up with the fast-moving discussions around here.

  78. mollymooly says:

    I think if “Ireland” can refer both to a 26-county and a 32-county entity, then “Ulster” can equally refer both to a 6-county and a 9-county entity. While the Free State’s change to “Ireland” reflected its irredentist claim to the 6 counties, Northern Ireland’s use of “Ulster” was motivated by a desire to give its rather arbitrary borders a veneer of historical depth*. The Unionist government once petitioned London to have the name changed officially to “Ulster”, but they were rebuffed.
    Gibraltar and the Falklands are not part of the UK, though Gibraltar is part of the EU and is included in Southwest England in MEP elections.
    *”veneer of depth” (c) mollymooly 2008…no, wait: 18 ghits already. Goddamn those thousand monkeys.

  79. David Marjanović says:

    What does a Kiwi saying “Ireland” sound like?

    Any chance that it’s [ˈɑɪ.ɐ.lænd] or [ˈɑɪ.ə.lənd] or suchlike?
    (I now understand it rationally, but it still baffles me to no end that our is a single syllable for rhotic people.)

  80. David Marjanović says:

    Oops. Should have read the second paragraph of the post again.

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