Tag Archives: Rhotic vs. Non-Rhotic

Scotland, Borders, Secession and Language

Scotland’s vote against independence prompted me to consider how I, as an American, distinguish the UK’s component parts. When I envision Scotland (or Wales, or England), I think of a unique language. Not Scots or Gaelic, necessarily, but “language” in a broader sense. It’s a … 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