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Subject: Use of 'Mummy' instead of 'Mommy' in Eastern Massachusetts?
Question: I recently began teaching in a small community on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and came to the surprising realization that all the locals use the term ''mummy/mum'' (English variant) instead of ''mommy/mom'' (american variant); however, they all spell it ''mommy/mom,'' not with the ''u'' as British people do. From my questions regarding the matter, it does not appear to be an affect - many of the residents were surprised to learn that their speech differed from other standard and regional American dialects. Does anyone have an explanation for this?
Reply: I am not overly familiar with this feature, but it is plausible. I would comment that dialects are not really distinct grammars, but bundles of linguistic elements, some of which may cross national boundaries. Another I noticed recently is the use of plural "yous" in parts of the U.S., Australia and apparently Northern Ireland A lot depends on where in Britain (or the world) a lot of settlers came from. It does happen to be the case that many Puritan settlers in New England came from E Anglia which is not too far from London. You may also notice that many New Englanders and Southerners have also lost final /r/ like the British/Australians while final /r/ is preserved in Standard US and Canadian English (preservation of final /r/ is actually an anomaly in English dialects).
Reply From: Elizabeth J Pyatt      click here to access email
Date: 09-Dec-2013
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Use of 'Mummy' instead of 'Mommy' in Eastern Massachusetts?    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (07-Dec-2013)

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