Tag Archives: Rhotic vs. Non-Rhotic

Scotland, Borders, Secession and Language

Scotland voted against independence last week, an event which got me thinking about how I, as an American, distinguish the UK’s component parts. For me, when I envision Scotland (or Wales, or England), I think of its unique language. Not Scots or Gaelic, exactly, but “language” … Continue reading


Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

“Courtney Act” and Non-Rhotic Puns

This season of RuPaul’s Drag Race featured Courtney Act (aka Shane Jenek), a renowned drag performer from Brisbane, Australia. In an early episode, Act/Jenek laments that Americans don’t get the pun in his stage name, which sounds similar to “caught in … Continue reading


Posted in Australian English | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Was Received Pronunciation Ever Rhotic?

People around the world associate Britain with non-rhoticity, the process whereby /r/ is dropped at the end of syllables such as ‘car‘ and ‘start.’ This impression largely stems from the fact that the non-rhotic Received Pronunciation (RP) was the standard for … Continue reading


Posted in British English | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Father-Bother in New England

When people think of New England accents, they tend to think of the fronted /a/ in words like ‘start’ and ‘car‘ (as in ‘pahk yuh car in Hahvuhd yahd’). This /a/ can sound to outsiders somewhat like the ‘a’ in … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged , | 27 Comments

How George Washington Spoke (Brief Thoughts)

It’s the Fourth of July, the day when we Americans celebrate our nation’s independence from Britain. To celebrate (sort of), I am going to watch the HBO miniseries John Adams. At the time of the series’ release, I was intrigued by … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged , | 11 Comments

A New (Rhotic?) Dialect in New Zealand?

Needless to say, I was quite intrigued by this recent article at Stuff.co.nz about a new urban dialect spoken in South Auckland, New Zealand.  A unique type of youthful, urban speech has emerged, not dissimilar to Multicultural British English in terms of … Continue reading


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 24 Comments

Accents or Dialects I Haven’t Heard

A question I get asked a lot (as anyone with a passion for accents and dialects is probably asked) is whether there are any varieties of English I haven’t heard. There’s no easy answer, of course, since accents aren’t clearly defined … Continue reading


Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , , , | 30 Comments

The New England/East Anglia Connection

A commonly held assumption is that New England accents are cousins of East Anglian accents in the UK. It’s an impression shared even by non-linguists, as this interview with British actor Tom Wilkinson from some years back attests (he discussed hanging out with Maine … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged | 15 Comments

The Cornish Accent?

Half of my last name is ‘Trawick,’ which is a Cornish surname.  Or rather, Anglicized Cornish–it apparently derives from ‘Traweek.’ I’ve seen a few competing ‘Trawick’ etymologies, but after some ancestral research, this seems the most plausible contender.  As such, I’ve developed … Continue reading


Posted in British English | Tagged | 21 Comments

How Non-Rhotic Accents Become Rhotic

While we’re on the topic of rhotic and non-rhotic accents, I’ll address a frequently asked question:  why do non-rhotic accents switch so quickly to rhotic?  And vice versa? Since World War Two, both the US and Britain have experienced massive … Continue reading


Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , , | 18 Comments