LINGUIST List 7.1700

Sun Dec 1 1996

Qs: Right-dislocation in English, Pronunciation of bury

Editor for this issue: Susan Robinson <>

We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate.


  1. "Rosa Perez Rodriguez", Right-dislocation in English
  2. Mary Ellen Ryder, Pronunciation of bury

Message 1: Right-dislocation in English

Date: Wed, 27 Nov 1996 16:36:13 +0100
From: "Rosa Perez Rodriguez" <>
Subject: Right-dislocation in English
Dear colleagues of LINGUIST,

This query is posted on behalf of a colleague of mine who does not 
belong to the list:

- -------------------

I would be grateful if any LINGUIST-contributor could help me in the
following query: I assume, as is generally assumed in the literature,
that right-dislocation decreases in the history of the English
language. By 'right-dislocation' I understand that linguistic
phenomenon by means of which a certain constituent is detached from
the orthodox structure of the clause to a peripheral right position,
normally separated by means of a comma in writing or by a
suprasegmental break in spoken language. Such a right-dislocated
constituent is normally associated (either syntactically or
pragmatically) to another one within the clause. A typical example
would be:
 That's what I love, a banana.
As already pointed out, I assume that right-dislocated segments tend 
to be integrated within clause structure (subcategorisation frame) 
and right-dislocation is relegated to spoken careless language.
Do you agree with that? Has anybody got data corroboration such a 
"feeling" (or maybe the opposite direction)?
I would appreciate it very much if you could send your answers NOT to 
the sender's address but to:
I shall post a summary of the replies on the list.

Javier Perez-Guerra
Faculty of Arts
University of Vigo, Spain
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Message 2: Pronunciation of bury

Date: Wed, 27 Nov 1996 14:18:53 MST
From: Mary Ellen Ryder <>
Subject: Pronunciation of bury

This is just a casual request for information if you can give it off
the top of your head. One of my introduction to linguistics students
recently discovered that while she pronounces the word "bury" with a
syllabic r, so it rhymes with "furry", her husband, children, and
children's friends here in Idaho pronounce it with lax e, rhyming with
"merry". She's from Connecticut and her husband is from San Diego.
She called her parents (who are from Maine) and they have her
pronunciation (not surprisingly). She asked me if I could discover
exactly what part of the country had her pronunciation. I like to
encourage my introductory students when I can, but I don't have time
to try to research this. Does anyone know the answer off-hand? I
wouldn't mind knowing about the pronunciation of the word in other
English-speaking regions as well, if anyone else would like to
contribute their expertise. Her pronuncation feels to me (in a very
unscientific way) rather "old-fashioned".

Another small dialectal note: her husband pronounces "charcoal" with
the second syllable unstressed and with syllabic l, so it rhymes with
"sparkle". Neither she, nor her children, nor I, have ever heard
this, and I used to live in San Diego. Is anyone else familiar with
this pronunciation?

I'll post a summary to entertain and inform people over the winter break.

Mary Ellen Ryder
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