Herb Hickman wrote:
This matter of "Park Your Car in the Harvard Yard," is heaping cognitive dissonance like coals of fire upon my brow.
I'm suspecting that there are two uses for that phrase, with close to opposite intents. I know not much about representing various pronunciations with variant spellings. But I note that you say "pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd," and I can only hear that rendition with broad "A" pronunciation, possibly giving slight to the adjacent "R"s. Possibly what one might call affecting proper British or Londoner speech. Since the phrase is undeniably linked with Boston speech, thinking of it that way it only makes sense if it is a phrase used in a (futile?) attempt to teach Bostonians how to talk.
On the far far other hand, I learned the phrase from Vinnie Marston — Boston born and bred — pronounced the way Bostonians and New Englanders of that neighborhood speak. I would write Vinnie's version, "Pack ye caa in the haavad yaad." And the "a"s are all flat as pancakes. As opposite as possible from Obama's pronunciation of POCK-ee-stahn. Vinnie's coaching failed me, however, when I went to Duxbury (next to Plymouth where the Mayflower landed) and visited the laboratories of the renowned marine biologist William F Clapp. Standing in the Main Lab building, one of the longest-term employees of the lab told me, "This building was originally a ban." I was truly dumfounded as she repeated, "A BAN, a BAN, a BAN! Then she said, "Where cattle were kept!" That brought some light. But everyone there agreed with her, it was a ban.
Did these Saxons you're talking about form unions and go out on feck?
Herb is right, "Pack ye caa in the haavad yaad" sounds more like the Boston sound. It's hard to spell a vowel sound without a following consonant, but imagine the A in “cat” rather than the A in “what”. However, there are individual variants on the Boston/New England accent (“Hoib” is probably a more New Jersey). Someone once wrote that the Kennedy accent was specific to their family.
Friday, February 11, 2011
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