As fond as I was of William Safire, I must admit I prefer the new, unpredictable “On Language” column in the NY Times. This week, Caleb Crain writes about how John Keats talks in the recent movie Bright Star (which I still haven’t seen) and how he might have talked in reality. While Crain appreciated the “playful, delicate, precise” dialogue of the movie, he thinks Keats may have talked quite differently, saying “Keats was self-conscious about his everyday speech”:

In August 1818, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine accused him of “Cockney rhymes,” pointing out that he matched thorns with fawns and higher with Thalia. In poems that he inserted in his letters, he rhymed shorter with water and parsons with fastens. The pattern suggests that he suffered from nonrhoticity — the tendency to drop “R” sounds from the ends of syllables and words. As well he should have, the scholar Lynda Mugglestone wrote in 1991, noting that nonrhoticity was part of “then-current educated usage.” In fact, Mugglestone observed, Blake had rhymed lawn with morn, and Tennyson was to rhyme thorns and yawns.

Mugglestone notwithstanding, some of the spelling mistakes in Keats’s letters look incriminating. He wrote “ax” for ask, “ave” for have and “milidi” for milady. It’s impossible to know, however, whether Keats had the lower-class accent that these spellings evoke or was merely pretending to have it in order to amuse his readers. He underlined to show he was kidding when he wrote to his friend Reynolds that “from want of regular rest, I have been rather narvus” and when he wrote to his sister that “I have been werry romantic indeed, among these Mountains and Lakes.” Even when he didn’t underline, he may have been axing his readers to understand that he was aving a joke all the sime. His ear for dialect seems to have been acute. From Scotland he reported to his brother Tom that whiskey was called whuskey, and when Reynolds went to Devonshire with his family, Keats wrote to him that “your sisters by this time must have got the Devonshire ees — short ees — you know ’em; they are the prettiest ees in the Language.” He was probably too gifted a linguist to have been saddled long with an accent that embarrassed him.

Of course, Crain is a journalist and critic, not a scholar; I’m wondering if anyone might have anything to add about this.


  1. “The pattern suggests that he suffered from nonrhoticity.”
    Awful disease. Largely hereditary, I’m told. Only cure is complete isolation from fellow sufferers.

  2. гэрийн халааз says

    Quoting Muggleston looks erudite but only succeeds in showing the writer’s utter ignorance. My pronunciation would rhyme all of the examples given (except higher/Thalia), and so would that of most people from southern England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. It’s pretty obvious that the dropping of “non pre-vocalic r” had already taken place in British English by Keats’ time and he was using the current pronunciation in his rhymes. There is no need to write about it as though it were a disease.
    I can think of two reasons why Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine would criticise his “Cockney” rhymes:
    (1) Since Scotland was rhotic, it was just another put-down of the English. Although there is nothing uniquely “Cockney” about those pronunciations, it’s nice to sneer at them as such.
    (2) It was not Keats’ speech that was in question, but his violation of poetry conventions of the time, which I suspect were conservative and still tied to an age when the r’s where pronounced. You could rhyme “parson” and “fasten” in your pronunciation, but you weren’t allowed to do so on the page.

  3. гэрийн халааз says

    Actually, looking at another NY Times article (which Micah Lidberg would have been advised to do before he/she wrote his/her drivel), you find that critics were quite vicious towards Keats. Blackwood’s Magazine had a political agenda (“Keats was a liberal, and Blackwood’s was stuffily Tory”) and there was also “class condescension toward a poet who was the son of a stableman, a prejudice shared years later by Matthew Arnold, who found in Keats’s writing ‘something underbred and ignoble, as of a youth ill brought up.'” So the use of “Cockney” was quite understandable in the context. These comments on “Keats’ language” by Micah Lidberg betray total insensitivity to and ignorance of language and history.

  4. Sorry, that should have been CALEB CRAIN. I didn’t get a proper download of the page and had trouble making out the name of the writer.

  5. гэрийн халааз has said it all, so there is nothing much to add except that I agree.

  6. Are there available any audio clips of accents from the past, or rather some reasonable guesses? I’d love to hear what the experts think a middle-class London accent of 1600, say, sounded like.

  7. I was relieved to read the comments above, because this piece had me puzzled. I would naturally rhyme water with shorter, parsons with fastens, etc; so people from northern England can be added to the list above.
    And didn’t people used to say ax/aks rather than ask? Presumably Keats did so playfully but not without a nod to a previous usage, or to the common usage of a certain class.

  8. I agree with everything Dressing and dw said. “He suffered from nonrhoticity”, how fucking rude. Caleb Crain has written complete rubbish from start to finish. Crain’s gorblimey, “he was aving a joke all the sime”, shows he learnt his own Cockney pronunciation from Dick Van Dyke. It’s odd that the NY Times, self-proclaimed “newspaper of record”, printed the article without checking it.

  9. And didn’t people used to say ax/aks rather than ask?
    Some dialects of English do that now.

  10. He wrote “ax” for ask, “ave” for have and “milidi” for milady.
    That suggests Keats must have sounded like Parker off Thunderbirds.

  11. mollymooly says

    Tee hee. I assumed “he suffered from nonrhoticity” was a little joke we could all enjoy. Turns out it’s a little joke we rhotics can all enjoy by watching the norhotics take umbrage over it.
    “Rhotic” and “nonrhotic” are JC Wells’ terms. Labov had earlier called them “r-ful” and “r-less”. In Wells’ r-less accent, “r-ful” sounded too like “awful”. How magnanimous of him not to exploit this for a little joke.

  12. Oh, it was just a rhotic’s gentle little joke! Well, I guess Crain is a tad too subtle for me.
    At any rate, I’ve reread the article, taking care to give Crain a snootier (almost English) voice and mollymooly’s reading makes sense. It is still painful reading his attempts to find “incriminating” clues that Keats’ speech was uneducated based on a handful of examples chosen for modern American sensibilities.

  13. It may not be obvious that Thalaya is the expected historical English pronunciation of Thalia, so the nonrhotic pronunciation of higher is the only issue.

  14. Thanks, Gary, I meant to mention that: tha-LYE-uh is the only pronunciation given in Daniel Jones’s English Pronouncing Dictionary.

  15. ‘In Wells’ r-less accent, “r-ful” sounded too like “awful”.’
    Do you know this? It seems very unlikely to me, given that Wells seems to speak RP, and the START and THOUGHT vowels are quite distinct there.

  16. Perhaps we should give other linguistic phenomena disease-like names. How about “imitable vowel syndrome” for the cot/caught merger?

  17. Perhaps we should give other linguistic phenomena disease-like names. How about “imitable vowel syndrome” for the cot/caught merger?

  18. I’d like to apologize for double-posting such a silly comment.

  19. @James:
    I don’t know about recordings. If you read IPA, there is a rendering of a poem published around 1600 in Barber’s “Early Modern English”. You can see it via Google Books, here:

  20. His ear for dialect seems to have been acute. From Scotland he reported to his brother Tom that whiskey was called whuskey
    This is one of the stupider articles in that NYT language column.

  21. Oh, it’s a joke! Sorry!

  22. komfo,amonan says

    I’ve been reading NYT off and on my whole life, & mostly on since I moved here years ago. It is a rag. It seems as though the signal-to-noise ratio has dropped precipitously over the years. They tackle topics many (esp. USA) papers don’t bother with, but you have to take everything they write with a huge grain of salt.
    Anyway, ‘aks’ and ‘ask’ coexisted peacefully on Blighty until about 1600.

  23. If all else fails, find fault, makes good reading by the followers of jackals and hyenas of the press.
    Bring back the argument that the Bard was not the bard as dada signed ‘is name with an X and certainly never had a plum in his
    Eating Rs or rolling them is an option of those that want to join the elitist set.
    Sassanacks be barred from barrs that be popular with wee Rrabby Burrnes.
    If Keats was spouting “cor blimeys” up to Caen house, so “wot”, and certainly he never had a plum in his oral track.
    His work still evokes pleasure.
    At this site, most of the rooks are able explain the weaknesses of the tongue and brain, but to use defects as a put down be not interesting because not one ‘homo erectus’ be perfect in speech.
    a sparrow feeding at this site

  24. I come from the north midlands of England, am non-rhotic, but still do not rhyme “fasten” with “parson” – “fasten” has /æ/. The lengthening of /æ/ in some contexts never happened in most words from Birmingham northwards.

  25. mollymooly says

    ‘In Wells’ r-less accent, “r-ful” sounded too like “awful”.’

    Do you know this? It seems very unlikely to me, given that Wells seems to speak RP, and the START and THOUGHT vowels are quite distinct there.

    Sorry, by “like” I meant “similar”, not “identical”. I wonder how often this particular polysemy becomes pesky.
    From the man himself:

    The existing American term, r-ful, obviously sounded rather awful if pronounced in an accent like mine.

  26. OT, sorry
    гэрийн халааз is home khalat(from Russian khalat which i don’t know maybe came from some Turkic language i guess, and it means yes a bathrobe
    deel could be an alternative handle, B
    though it would mean then just robe, outer wear, if it’s a summer/inner wear or a light deel then it’s terleg

  27. David Marjanović says

    I’d say a non-rhotic r-ful sounds much like an American version of awful


    Getting the ch right is probably the most important thing about that word.

  28. Read, thank you! I presume that is тэрлэг? It sounds much better than гэрийн халааз…. But does it have the delicious vagueness of Bathrobe, which could be a skimpy whisp of satin clinging to a curvaceous female, or a threadbare piece of terry-towelling hanging off the shoulders of a grumpy old man… or anything in between, for that matter.

  29. the delicious vagueness of Bathrobe
    …or the connotation of public and formal wear in one culture but informal and private in another…

  30. terleg could be both informal and private and public and formal, both genders too, depends on the material it’s made of
    there is also dan deel, which is women’s terleg, but without sleeves, so it looks a bit like chinese dresses, but it’s not that tightly fitting
    the other day i watched a Taiwanese movie, forget the title, about two people who start an affair b/c their spouses were having an affair, so the woman wears dresses a bit like our dan deel, just the collars were too high
    the difference is the collar and the split(enger) which goes always to the right in our dress and it should have a belt, from the same material or from the material of its embroidery, or it could be a thin leather belt, without belt it’s considered indecent
    while Chinese dresses are usually without belts and the opening can go both ways, left or right

  31. “From Scotland he reported to his brother Tom that whiskey was called whuskey”: don’t be bloody absurd. In Scotland it’s pronounced “whisky”.

  32. marie-lucie says

    In French there are two words, une robe de chambre and un peignoir de bain. Actually un peignoir by itself could be used for a woman: the word derives from un peigne ‘a comb’ or peigner ‘to comb’. It was originally a light garment that a fashionable lady put on when she was half-dressed, while having her hair done by her chambermaid, who would later help her into her dress (at a time of voluminous, awkward dresses). The peignoir de bain is literally a ‘bathrobe’, usually of terry cloth, for use by either sex either at home or on the beach. The word robe de chambre is also unisex, but this garment is made of a comfortable light or heavier material depending on the season. Most of the time there are no buttons, just a belt, especially for men. For a woman the word could also be used as the equivalent of “housecoat”, which can have buttons, a term that is not used for a man’s garment. Your robe de chambre is the garment you grab when you first get up, before you get clean and dressed. It is not for use outside the house, but you can be decent in it if, for instance, a friend visits you when you are sick, or you need to answer the door in the middle of the night.

  33. I am pleased I read all the comments, since my constitution, rendered timorous and delicate through decades of suffering inflicted by non-rohticity, would else not have stood up to the shock. I was left wondering though whether it was a jibe at those few non-rhotic parts of the US since the NYT colums I read, like most US publications (at least those bits of them accessible online) do seem to maintain a hic sunt dracones attitude toward the idea of sentient life outside the US.

  34. Тэрлэг says

    Wonderful to read of other cultures’ modes of deshabille… So Тэрлэг it is! Marie-Lucie also cleared up my confusion over peignoir de bain and robe de chambre.

  35. michael farris says

    Speaking of rhoticity, this is as good excuse as any to link to the only popular song devoted to the issue:

  36. He underlined to show he was kidding when he wrote to his friend Reynolds that “from want of regular rest, I have been rather narvus
    I don’t think anyone has mentioned this sentence. (If they have, my apologies.) Does anyone know whether ar was once the standard pronunciation for this word, as it is in many other words, and surviving in place names like Derby and Berkshire? If so, maybe Keats was writing at a time when this was beginning to change.

  37. Also stern (of a ship), which my grandfather (b.1882) pronounced ‘starn’.

  38. Listen to youngish, particularly female, ‘Sloane’ English speakers (think Duchess of York), and ‘er’ is opening to become more ‘ar’-like today (but still, of course, non-rhotic) – in this particular accent.
    Nautical pronunciations of ‘launch’ also approached ‘laanch’.

  39. mollymooly says

    Nautical pronunciations? O buoy oh buoy!

  40. Berkeley Barkeley (is that the same name as Barclay?)
    clerk clark

  41. dw: Thanks. Alas, Google seems not to want to show me the text. Maybe it’s the part of the world I’m in. I’ll have to remember to look at the book next time I’m at the library.

  42. Clerk>clark, so why is lark not spelled lerk, or bark spelled berk or park perk? I expect m-l knows.

  43. My father said “clargyman” and “harse” (the latter referring to funerals, not bums).
    The river in Oxford used to be pronounced “Charwell”, didn’t it?

  44. There’s also the old pronounciation “Univarsity”.

  45. Тэрлэг says

    Does ‘hearth’ belong here?

  46. Once in the 1960s our English teacher amused us by pointing out how ‘poor’, ‘pore’ and ‘paw’ all sounded the same. When told this the headmistress was appalled. She must have been the last person alive to pronounce ‘poor’ as two syllables, almost poo-er. The teacher disappeared soon afterwards. But this may have been due to his going back on the road; he claimed to have played in the Crickets with Buddy Holly. Strange days, and from this distance the faint rustling of new winds amid the old leaves.

  47. Yes, he said larnch for launch too, my grandfather. He actually died of non-rôtisserie.

  48. marie-lucie says

    Clerk>clark, so why is lark not spelled lerk, or bark spelled berk or park perk? I expect m-l knows.
    The history of English vowels is very complex, which is one of the reasons why the spelling is so difficult, and in the words of Roger Lass, one of the top specialists in the history of English: “Vowels before /r/ deserve a monograph: its [= r’s] effects are complex and unpredictable.” In particular, most written vowels before r have merged into the neutral [ǝ] sound (which is why fir and fur, or girl and curl, sound the same in Modern English).
    Simply put, lark, bark and park have always had an [ar] sound, but the other words with written er had a different vowel [ɛ] (so the sequence er before a consonant sounded something like the ear in bear). As time went on the sequence [ɛr] was pronounced more and more like [ar] (and this is how Queen Elizabeth I pronounced it), but not everywhere, and especially since the spelling stayed the same, the people who still pronounced [ɛr] shifted their pronunciation gradually to [ǝr]. Adding to the confusion is that the pronunciation of written ear also fluctuated between [ar] and [ɛr]/[ǝr], hence the difference between learn with [ǝr] and heart with [ar], but [ǝr] won out in most cases, and after 1800 or so [ar] (as in “to larn”) “became [typical of] vulgar or rural stereotypes” except in a few words. One place where [ar] won out with the spelling er is sergeant, hence the short form Sarge.

  49. My mother pronounced “pour” like “poor” until my father corrected her and said it sounds like “pore”.

  50. Thanks, m-l, I’ll file that.

  51. One place where [ar] won out with the spelling er is sergeant, hence the short form Sarge.
    When I posted this morning I wasn’t able to think of words like clerk and sergeant, though I’m perfectly well aware how they’re spelling and pronounced (in England). That’s why I only mentioned place names specifically.
    However, a doubt remains: clerk has lost its [ar] in the USA, but what about sergeant?
    When I was learning to drive around 1960, my driving instructor pronounced reverse with [ar], which I hadn’t heard before (which is why I remember it half a century afterwards). This was in Manchester, but he wasn’t a Mancunian. I think he was a Scot of some kind — not Glasgow or Dundee, but maybe Edinburgh.

  52. what about sergeant?
    Universally pronounced sar- in the U.S.

  53. St Pauli, the red-light district of Hamburg, is also known as Keats. Only they spell it Kiez.

  54. Hugh Rawson says

    I don’t know about Keats’s pronunciation, but he was decently interested in so-called indecent language, reporting in a letter (1/15/1818)on a discussion of the origin of what can be called (with a nod to Internet censors) the C-word after a Mr. Redhall, who maintained that “he did not understand anything but plain English” was persuaded, or provoked, to “say the word out.”

  55. A bathrobe, for putting on as one emerges from the bath, according to my Mexican students is also called una bata de baño.
    St Pauli, the red-light district of Hamburg
    Don’t tell me that fresh-faced wholesome young thing pictured on the bottles of that magnificent St. Pauli Girl beer is really a…a…. no, I refuse to believe it.

  56. Bata de baño says

    I don’t know why anyone would be surprised at a liking for earthy language among writers. My understanding is that Gustave Flaubert was also one for spicy language.
    The cultured face that literate writers present to the reader is a mask like any other. The modernist drive to rebel against stuffy mores and insist on dragging the nondecorous into prose seems to have led to the unwarranted assumption that these old writers were too damned refined to know what real life was like.

  57. David Marjanović says

    German: Bademantel, Morgenmantel.
    Great to know at last where book-larnin’ comes from.
    On the gradual or-ur merger, check this out (read everything down to and including the Inventory chapter).

  58. I’ve also been told that St Pauli Girl beer is not well regarded by Germans.
    It’s oen of my favorites in the US whenever I have a little extra money to spend, along with Becks, Pilsner Urquel, and Stella Artois. My taste in import beer is “American beer, but better”.

  59. J. W. Brewer says

    Nijma, I was told while in Germany some years ago (and this seems consistent with a quick google check although not definite) that these days the St. Pauli Girl brand for beer is used only for the U.S. export market and not in Germany proper, where the name might be too frequently taken as having those implications you refuse to believe. (It’s made by the Beck’s people in Bremen on what was once the site of a monastery named St. Pauli which gave its name to a brewery, so it did originally come by the name honestly and independently of the Hamburg neighborhood.)

  60. Morgenmantel says

    I think Mr Brewer knows what he is talking about.

  61. Morgenmantel says

    Or Mrs Brewer as the case may be.

  62. the unwarranted assumption that these old writers were too damned refined to know what real life was like
    Not sure how “modernist” their authors are, nor how interesting these books would be to anyone utterly uninterested in sexual (or scatological) categorization, but Shakespeare’s Bawdy and The Maculate Muse each most entertainingly reward the assumption that at least a couple of “old writers” had some contact with “real life”.

  63. Did Shakespeare know about your rusty trombone, dirty sanchez, rainbow showers, camel-toe slide, Cincinnati bowtie, Arabian goggles, or the hot carl and pearl necklace? I think not. If he did, why didn’t he use them is his plays? We are much more sophisticated these days. QED

  64. Shakespeare might have known the trombone by a different name, such as sackbut, or shakebutte, or sagbut, or shagbushe.

  65. I’m sorry again for OT update
    thank you all who contributed, chemo for her is affordable now hopefully for some months, and the response seems is good so far, 1% of blasts in the periphery after one month of treatment, but the doctors’ prognosis is they’ll return, bone marrow ope’s not within reach still
    let’s keep spreading the word, giving months of life thanks to your generosity

  66. It’s made by the Beck’s people in Bremen on what was once the site of a monastery named St. Pauli which gave its name to a brewery
    No wonder. Some of the best Belgians come from monasteries. It seems that not only do they have secret recipes for herbal ingredients (I seem to taste citrus peel in some of them) but there were also said to be local natural yeasts that imparted distinctive flavors to the beer, something like the way Ethiopian honey beer tej is fermented with a particular plant leaf.

  67. Here you can see a list of which Playboy playmates-of-the-month have been involved in advertising the stuff. I guess I mean playmates-of-the-monk.

  68. David Marjanović says

    It seems that not only do they have secret recipes for herbal ingredients (I seem to taste citrus peel in some of them)

    Bah! Cheaters! Hopfen, Wasser, Malz – Gott erhalt’s!!! <pounding fist on table>
    (No, actually, I’m kidding. I don’t drink beer at all. <puke>)

  69. Actually that same link will tell you that St Pauli Girl is made according to the ancient Reinheitsgebot, so I don’t think it could have herbs or orange peels in it.

  70. marie-lucie says

    If it is a medieval monkish recipe, it certainly could have herbs in it, but probably not an exotic fruit like orange.
    Besides wine for mass, in the Middle Ages many alcoholic products were made in monasteries, where some of the monks had the knowledge and leisure to engage in experimental pharmaceutical research using herbs and other natural products. A rich monastery could also afford the necessary equipment, and the sale of the products in turn enriched the monastery. Most of those products (such as Chartreuse or Bénédictine) have a high alcohol content and are meant to be taken in small doses, usually to ease digestion.
    Another example of the continuing experimental tradition in monasteries after it declined in the West was Gregor Mendeleev, another monk.

  71. During prohibition, the Catholic Church in Minnesota told its flock that bootlegging and moonshining were not sins and need not be confessed. German and Irish Catholics correctly interpreted Prohibition as anti-Catholic, so moonshining was civil disobedience. St. John’s Abbey near St. Cloud is reputed to have provided technical help enabling local moonshiners to produce better-quality moonshine.

  72. By Belgian beer, I mean beer brewed in Belgium (wiki) with the special little glass that has the brewer’s name on it and the high price tag. One of those small snifter type glasses of Belgian will cost more than an entire premium bottled beer. The best of the Belgians is the Trappist beer. It’s to die for. It’s what I chose for my 40th birthday celebration along with a Cuban cigar. Here’s a typical Chicago microbrewery bar beer menu with no less than 8 Belgians on tap.

  73. There is (or used to be) a brewery in St Pauli. It’s very close to the police station.

  74. I wonder, Nij, would the Trappists object to the cigar as interfering with the to-die-for taste experience. But hey, what do I know, it’s probably a perfect combination. And even if you’re the only one who thinks so, hey, it was your birthday.

  75. Gregor Mendeleev
    Gregor Mendel, right? Dmitri Mendeleev was another contemporary scientist.

  76. marie-lucie says

    Yes, I guess I meant Gregor Mendel, the botanist.

  77. David Marjanović says

    Yes, Mendel was an Augustinian who probably wanted to disprove all theories of evolution by showing that mutation doesn’t happen.
    His data follow his laws so precisely that they’re probably slightly fudged. B-)

  78. What Mendel did, I’ve been told, was count peas until the proportions were right and then quit counting. He could only have done that if his theories had been about right, but in a properly designed experiment he would have decided on specific numbers of peas to count in advance.

  79. J.W. Brewer says

    Mendel came from the decadent period of the Augustinians after they’d lost their proper cultural role making beer. Good stuff is still being produced in Munich under the Augustiner brand, but per wikipedia the monks lost control of the brewery in 1803 due to the vicissitudes of the Napoleonic Wars. (Other monastic-origin Bavarian brand names still on the market are Fraziskaner and Paulaner. I seem to have only one bottle of Paulaner’s excellent Salvator double bock left in the fridge.)

  80. would the Trappists object to the cigar as interfering with the to-die-for taste experience
    The evening is long, but a cigar is short. Ideally one would start with an Oktoberfest or similar seasonal beer as a warmup, then on to something pricey like a Trappist. I should think that once the Trappist has been sampled, other beers would have a diminished potential for enjoyment (if one has been pacing oneself). Some food might go in here somewhere, but the cigar would definitely come after the meal, and probably after the Trappist has first been sampled as well. My fiftieth birthday was alcohol-free, being spent in Detroit in an Arabic establishment with waterpipes filled with apple (tooFAH) تفاحة tobacco, and the band playing our song “tetrugga fea”. Now that I have quit smoking I have developed an unfortunate taste for single malt scotch, which is what I did on my last (29th) birthday. Fortunately for me, the local establishments are now all smoke-free, but I would probably still take a Cuban cigar, with or without Trappist beer, if someone offered me one.

  81. IIRC, there are, or used to be before the current smoking ban, places that specialized in cigars, smoked in special rooms, possibly even with proper humidity. I think the beverage of choice in these establishments was cognac. It sounds like a most excellent way to spend a special evening, but I would probably cough for a week afterwards.

  82. There is a Belgian beer – the name of which I forget – which is fermented in the open air in a particular place where yeast rises from the ground. Hatcho miso is fermented in the same way.
    As for my taste, I’ll take a bottle of porter if anyone’s offering. Two reasons: 1) I’m allergic to hops but love malt, and 2) at 8 1/2% only one bottle is sufficient for a good time when you’re not a regular drinker (after 2 I fall down).
    Bathrobe: We share the same indoor garment, to which I add T-shirt and sweatpants. I sure wish I had a white linen djellaba for summer wear, though.
    Haven’t I heard Scots say ‘whuskey’? that is to say, a schwa instead of a high, front, tense vowel.

  83. Don’t tell me that fresh-faced wholesome young thing pictured on the bottles of that magnificent St. Pauli Girl beer is really a…a….
    A Bavarian? Well, she’s certainly dressed like one. No girl from Bremen would be caught dead in a dirndl.

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