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Rhotic and non-rhotic accents

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posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 03:27 AM
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Here's something that has always confused me:

Most dialects in England are spoken in a non-rhotic accent, but out of all the countries that England colonized and settled, only a few of them speak in a non-rhotic dialect. The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were all British colonies originally, but only Australia and New Zealand speak in a non-rhotic dialect; America and Canada generally speak in a rhotic dialect, with the main exception being the Northeastern United States. Why is this? Why did North America have the most dramatic change in accent while Australia and New Zealand remained the most similar to the original settlers?

The only theory I've ever been able to come up with is that perhaps there were many more Irish settlers in North America which imposed more of a rhotic influence. The particular region of Canada I'm in was initially settled by English immigrants, but ended up with a greater number of Irish settlers as time went on, and occasionally I meet people who have a slight Irish tinge in their speech that was probably picked up from their parents or grandparents — e.g., pronouncing 'three' as 'tree', and 'there' as 'thurr'.




posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 03:29 AM
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Might help to explain what a rhotic accent is.



posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 03:32 AM
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originally posted by: BASSPLYR
Might help to explain what a rhotic accent is.

Rhotic means an accent in which the R is clearly pronounced in words such as 'water' and 'winter'. Non-rhotic is how people in England and Australia would speak.



posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 04:25 AM
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a reply to: Xaphan

most obvious corrolation = immigration patterns



posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 05:44 AM
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a reply to: Xaphan

Ummm...northeastern US here...I guess I'm a pirate at heart...cause I like me some ARRRRR's...

Not that I don't like that flapping of the tongue against the hard palette tremolo Arddddd...that the non's affect...especially the Scottish...
That just seems unnatural to me and I have to concentrate to pull it off...

Perhaps it's also just proximity and teaching enunciation...


YouSir



posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 07:05 AM
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a reply to: Xaphan

I think the thing with America is that its accent is a mish mash of so many linguistic bases.

You have English, Irish, Scots, French, Dutch, German, Spanish influences, as well as native (against all the odds) flavours. This means that the origins of the accent are so broad, that it is a wonder any vague similarity between English and American English, leave alone the accent itself, remains at all.



posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 08:19 AM
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a reply to: Xaphan

I've always been interested in accents, how they form, why/how do they diverge from the original accent, are there any linguistic rules which can predict how an accent develops, are there an infinite or a finite number of accents. So many questions, yet very little info out there.

In England there are a vast number of different accents; you only need to travel 5 miles down the road and the accent is different, though perhaps only discernible to a native Englander. I'm sure it's the same in every country.

Rhoticity is just one aspect of accents and, while it's true to say that English, Australian and New Zealand are broadly non-rhotic accents, they are very different in other ways. New Zealand, especially, is very alien-sounding to an English ear.

I don't believe that Irish settlers have had a significant impact on North American rhoticity. There simply haven't been enough of them, competing as they are with many other linguistic groups. In any case, there must have been an equal number of Irish emigrants settling in Australasia.

I think other mysterious factors are at play.



posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 09:55 AM
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a reply to: Xaphan

Research has found that North American accent is close to English West Country Accent i.e Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.

Both English West country accent and North American accent are Rhotic.



posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 10:55 AM
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a reply to: Xaphan

Apparently the non-rhotic accent was invented by British elites to distinguish themselves from commoners.

Live Science: Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?



posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 11:51 AM
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a reply to: Xaphan

The inclusion of various dialects from Englang mingling with Scottish and Dutch settlers created most of the accents outside of Minnesota, which are more swedish in dialect.

www.todayifoundout.com...

a great article about it from one of my favorite websites.



posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 01:04 PM
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a reply to: alldaylong

And yet the pilgrim fathers hailed from East Anglia.


a reply to: GorillaSnoop

the non-rhotic accent was invented by British elites to distinguish themselves from commoners.


And us poor commoners copied them like obedient minions?

Seriously, how likely is that theory?

More like the Great Vowel Shift was more far-reaching in blighty than in the colonies.



posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 01:19 PM
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originally posted by: CJCrawley


More like the Great Vowel Shift was more far-reaching in blighty than in the colonies.



I love the name "blighty" for England. LOL....you guys and your vernacular.

Interesting that The Great Vowel Shift seems to have followed immigration patterns. The parts of the country in the US and Canada that were settled prior, or by non English speakers employing more continental pronunciations of vowels. The western half of the US (and maybe Canada, im not as familiar with folks from BC) uses a more current vernacular. But you can see all 4 pronunciations of the "ou" sound used in North America. From the Canadian use of "about" as "aboot", to the midwest accent that makes it more like the older, continental pronunciation of "abote"...you can see multiple variants of the Great Vowel Shift encapsulated in the way we speak in North America.



posted on Mar, 17 2017 @ 04:29 PM
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originally posted by: GorillaSnoop
a reply to: Xaphan

Apparently the non-rhotic accent was invented by British elites to distinguish themselves from commoners.

Live Science: Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents?



Ummm...are you sure that's not...neurotic...


YouSir




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