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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Ask a linguist - Message details

Subject: Warshington
From: Jeff Stauter

Why do I say ''Warshington'' DC instead of ''Washington'' DC?

As a person who spent much of his life in the Columbia Basin and still
considers Washington his home, I would point out that the proper
pronunciation is "Worshington."

Seriously, I, too, have wondered about the intrusive /r/ in such words. In
dialect work, I have observed it most often in the phonetic frame [a___sh].
Thus, speakers who say "Warshington" or "Worshington" tend also to say
"warsh/worsh" and "squarsh/squorsh" for 'squash'. We do not tend to find
"feersh" for 'fish' or "wursh" for 'whoosh' or "fairshial" for 'facial'. I
suspect that the /r/ results from a degree of pharyngeal constriction that
comes from the need to transition between the low-back articulation of /a/
to the alveopalatal articulation of /sh/. But maybe the articulatory and
instrumental phoneticians can tell us more.

Carl Mills
University of Cincinnati

> ----------
> From: Ask A Linguist
> Reply To: Jeff Stauter;Ask A Linguist
> Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2001 11:32 AM
> Subject: Warshington
> From: Jeff Stauter
> Why do I say "Warshington" DC instead of "Washington" DC?

Reply From: Mills, Carl (MILLSCR)     click here to access email
Date: Mar-14-2001
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Warshington Herb Stahlke    (Mar-14-2001)
  2. Re: Warshington John Lawler    (Mar-14-2001)
  3. Re: Warshington Joseph F Foster    (Mar-14-2001)
  4. Re: Warshington charlie rowe    (Mar-13-2001)

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