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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|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|