Thursday, 31 March 2016

Sunday, 20 March 2016

/r/ in preconsonantal positions in GB

Do you know John Maidment's SID? If not, take a look at it here; it's highly recommendable! Once you're there, click the letter R and then the headword rhotic. The last but one sentence is the one that made me write this short blog. I had never before questioned the claim that in General British as an accent of low rhoticity (or non-rhotic accent as some prefer to call it) the letter <r> is never pronounced in a preconsonantal position, e.g. in harm, form, torture. John draws our attention to one of the admittedly rare exceptions - ferrule, which is pronounced /ˈferuːl/ or /ˈferjuːl/. Are there any other words?
Here's a short list:
  • erudite, erudition
  • garrulous, garrulity
  • purulent, purulence
  • querulous, querulousness
  • sporule
  • virulent, virulence
And this is what ferrules look like: