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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: September ::
Re: Pronunciation of "th"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0971.  Monday, 29 September 1997.

[1]     From:   Andrew Walker White <
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        Date:   Saturday, 27 Sep 1997 22:44:09 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Pronunciation of "th"

[2]     From:   Peter L Groves <
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        Date:   Monday, 29 Sep 1997 12:20:20 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0966  Re: Pronunciation of  "th"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Andrew Walker White <
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Date:           Saturday, 27 Sep 1997 22:44:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Pronunciation of "th"

This brings to mind one of my pet theories, which is that the canon
sounds by far the most authentic in highland Scots, which still uses
this pronunciation for words like "murther", etc.  It is also the only
dialect I can identify which rhymes "move" with "love", uses "an" to
mean "if", etc.

Anybody have the same impression?

Andy White
Arlington, VA

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter L Groves <
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Date:           Monday, 29 Sep 1997 12:20:20 +0000
Subject: 8.0966  Re: Pronunciation of  "th"
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0966  Re: Pronunciation of  "th"

> Since we apparently have moved on more generally to Shakespeare's
> pronunciation, I wonder about the use of "th" in such words as "murther"
> and "burthen" where the "th" is usually a "d."

Both words had a /dh/ sound (as in "bathe" or "then") in OE and ME, and
thus presumably also for Shakespeare; the change to /d/ in these words
in Early Modern English (as also in Lear's "pudder" for "pother") may be
by analogy with the regular change /dh/ -> /d/ before continuants like
/l/, /m/, /n/ and /r/ in Middle English.

Peter Groves, Monash
 

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