Thursday, September 16, 2010

Here's (or "heah's") a really good word: rhotic

Not to be a snob, but it isn't often that the Boston Globe uses words that are unfamiliar to me. This morning, however, Ty Burr's review of Ben Affleck's movie "The Town" sent me running for the dictionary.

Burr refers to Hollywood actors struggling with "non-rhotic speech patterns".

Shucks, I didn't even know what "rhotic" was, let alone "non". Burr does leave us a good hint; you will have to check out his review yourself (click on the link above, or look in the real paper on page 16G).
So: rhotic. Thanks to the Wordnik app on my phone, I was able to define it in seconds (and without paper cuts, for a change):

Of an English accent, pronouncing the letter r wherever it appears, as in bar (/bɑːr/) and bard or barred (/bɑːrd/); this trait is common in much of the United States, Canada, many parts of the north and west of England, Ireland, and Scotland.

Non-rhotic then means omitting the "r" in speech. Fabulous. Or should I say "mahvelous".

I hope the movie is as good as the review.

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