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#1
Old 02-14-2013, 11:41 AM
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How do you Brits get "rafe" from "Ralph" and

"lef-tenant" from "lieutenant"?

Just wondering. I'll take my answer off the air. Thanks.
#2
Old 02-14-2013, 12:10 PM
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You could also ask why people in Boston hate the letter "r"...they don't drive a car, they drive a "cah" and they don't go to a party, they go to a "potty".

And what is with you all saying "y'all"?
#3
Old 02-14-2013, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
"lef-tenant" from "lieutenant"?
"U" and "V" were once the same letter ("V" in Latin). More recently, "V" and "F"are sometimes cousins -- "V" in German is pronounced like "F." I expect someone will come along with the details here, or show I'm mistaken, but I suspect this is at the heart of it.
#4
Old 02-14-2013, 12:28 PM
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OED's take on it:

Quote:
In view of the rare Old French form luef for lieu (with which, compare especially the 15th century Scottish forms luf-, lufftenand above), it seems likely that the labial glide of the Old French lieu as the first element of a compound was sometimes apprehended by Englishmen as a v or f

Last edited by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker; 02-14-2013 at 12:32 PM.
#5
Old 02-14-2013, 12:37 PM
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Nobody's checking in on "Rafe"? Leftenant has been explained a number of times but I don't know any basis for the unusual pronunciation of R. Vaughn Williams and R. Fiennes names.
#6
Old 02-14-2013, 04:37 PM
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Some guy named Ralph's take on it:
Incidentally, it is potentially misleading to call /ˈreɪf/ a "British" pronunciation of "Ralph", since it seems that the name was never pronounced in this way in Scotland. It is a distinctively English pronunciation – indeed, it appears to be restricted to Southern England and the English Midlands. (In Northern England – or at least in Northumberland – "Ralph" apparently used to be pronounced /ˈra:f/, very roughly so that it rhymed with the contemporary American pronunciation of "half" and "calf".)
Excerpted from: http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~wedgwood/fra...unciation.html

I don't know his sources for his contention.

ETA: a previous thread, but I don't know how useful it will be.

http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/...d.php?t=131302

Last edited by Toucanna; 02-14-2013 at 04:41 PM.
#7
Old 02-14-2013, 04:50 PM
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So far as I'm aware, 'Ralph' pronounced 'Rafe' is restricted to the same English people that rhyme 'house' with 'mice'- I don't think I've ever met anyone called Ralph that doesn't at least vaguely include a letter 'l'.

English pronounciation makes no sense to most of the English either, and my friend Mr Featherstonhaugh from Cholmondeley agrees.
#8
Old 02-14-2013, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
Nobody's checking in on "Rafe"? Leftenant has been explained a number of times but I don't know any basis for the unusual pronunciation of R. Vaughn Williams and R. Fiennes names.
I always assumed that was actorly bullshit on his part, like "Topher" Grace's bizarre shortening of Christopher. Fiennes' brother's name is Joseph for Og's sake!
#9
Old 02-14-2013, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toucanna View Post
Some guy named Ralph's take on it:
Incidentally, it is potentially misleading to call /ˈreɪf/ a "British" pronunciation of "Ralph", since it seems that the name was never pronounced in this way in Scotland. It is a distinctively English pronunciation indeed, it appears to be restricted to Southern England and the English Midlands. (In Northern England or at least in Northumberland "Ralph" apparently used to be pronounced /ˈra:f/, very roughly so that it rhymed with the contemporary American pronunciation of "half" and "calf".)
Excerpted from: http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~wedgwood/fra...unciation.html

I don't know his sources for his contention.
I can confirm from personal experience that, in Northumberland and Tyneside, Ralph is often pronounced to rhyme with half. Perhaps less often these days, when the name is rarer, and people are less likely to personally know someone of that name, but it's certainly around.
#10
Old 02-14-2013, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMark
{snip}And what is with you all saying "y'all"?
A recent thread on the subject I'm sure some of "y'all'll" find interesting: http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/...d.php?t=680803
#11
Old 02-14-2013, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
I always assumed that was actorly bullshit on his part, like "Topher" Grace's bizarre shortening of Christopher.
Look up Taye Digg's name origin some time if you want actorly... silliness.

I'd agree except that Ralph ("rafe") Vaughn Williams considerably predates Fiennes.
#12
Old 02-14-2013, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
I'd agree except that Ralph ("rafe") Vaughn Williams considerably predates Fiennes.
Sure, but that could have been who he borrowed it from, and his justification. I mean, he's a great actor, but I assume he started this a long time ago when he was just starting out.
#13
Old 02-14-2013, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
Look up Taye Digg's name origin some time if you want actorly... silliness.
Holy crap. He get's Taye from Scott? That's something right there.

I always thought that "Rafe" was a legit British pronunciation of "Ralph" but now I am not sure. Other than R. Vaughn Williams and R. Finnes, are there any other famous Ralph's who went by Rafe?
#14
Old 02-14-2013, 05:52 PM
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My wife's piano (who studied at the British conservatory) always claimed that Van Williams pronounced it with the "l", but the rest of his family didn't.
#15
Old 02-14-2013, 05:55 PM
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While we're at it, what's up with the "Vaughan"? Is that a middle name or what?

Last edited by Thudlow Boink; 02-14-2013 at 05:56 PM.
#16
Old 02-14-2013, 06:20 PM
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Here in London we pronounce Ralph as, erm... Ralph.
#17
Old 02-14-2013, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
While we're at it, what's up with the "Vaughan"? Is that a middle name or what?
I think it's an unhyphenated hyphenate, like Conan Doyle. However, it's a legitimate double surname, unlike Doyle...

What I've never gotten a good explanation of is how Arthur (first) Conan (middle) Doyle (surname) became the Conan Doyle family. It wasn't his father's name, but beginning in college and with his marriage, 'Conan Doyle' became the family name.

Then there's Ludwig Mies [(van der) Rohe]... but let's stop.
#18
Old 02-14-2013, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filbert View Post
So far as I'm aware, 'Ralph' pronounced 'Rafe' is restricted to the same English people that rhyme 'house' with 'mice'-
Are they related to the Northern Irish, who also swallow their "ow" sounds, or is that shared pronunciation sort of like those animals who are evolutionarily unrelated but coincidentally happen to resemble each other?
#19
Old 02-14-2013, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filbert View Post
'Ralph' pronounced 'Rafe'
Huh. I didn't even know this was a thing. I always assumed "Rafe" was shorthand for Rafael.

Learn something new everyday.
#20
Old 02-15-2013, 03:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
"lef-tenant" from "lieutenant"?
How do you get Loo-tenant from Lieutenant? Do the barracks' toilets get clogged up so frequently, they need a dedicated officer to watch over them?
#21
Old 02-15-2013, 07:08 AM
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Where's lieu when you need him?
#22
Old 02-15-2013, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
I always assumed that was actorly bullshit on his part, like "Topher" Grace's bizarre shortening of Christopher. Fiennes' brother's name is Joseph for Og's sake!
I gather that this is true. A friend knew his mother Jennifer Lash, who died in 1993 before Fiennes was well known internationally. The first time she heard his name pronounced as Rafe she thought it was a mistake as Lash had always, many years before, called him Ralph.
#23
Old 02-15-2013, 07:57 AM
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I'd always assumed it's just how posh people pronounce Ralph the upper classes do like to make themselves feel special, and the Fiennes family is supremely posh.

I don't know any normal person who pronounces it Rafe.
#24
Old 02-15-2013, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filbert View Post
So far as I'm aware, 'Ralph' pronounced 'Rafe' is restricted to the same English people that rhyme 'house' with 'mice'- .


Stop right there.



I've heard the odd prononciatyions of "Ralph" and "lieytenant" and even Featherstonehaugh and Cholmondeley, but I've neve even heard a suggestion of anyone pronouncing "house" like "mice". I have a hard time even imagining it.


It's as if you said someone pronounced "automobile" so it rhymes with "hydrant".
#25
Old 02-15-2013, 08:18 AM
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The Guardian has heard of it.
Quote:
THIS SCEPTRED ISLE

Some royals pronounce "house" as "hice". What is the original of this and does anyone else do it?
#26
Old 02-15-2013, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by don't ask View Post
The Guardian has heard of it.
From your linked article:

Quote:
With all those caveats I would state that the vocal posture (positions of lips/tongue/teeth) used for that particular phoneme is approximated in many northern Irish accents (famously "Kize Mee" for "Cows moo")

It gets weirder and weirder "Kize Mee" for "Cows Moo"?* "hydrant is starting to sound more like "automobile".





*and "famously"? I guess we don't hear about it, out here in the sticks.

Last edited by CalMeacham; 02-15-2013 at 08:29 AM.
#27
Old 02-15-2013, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by WotNot View Post
I can confirm from personal experience that, in Northumberland and Tyneside, Ralph is often pronounced to rhyme with half. Perhaps less often these days, when the name is rarer, and people are less likely to personally know someone of that name, but it's certainly around.
Same in Lancashire.
#28
Old 02-15-2013, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
It gets weirder and weirder "Kize Mee" for "Cows Moo"?* "hydrant is starting to sound more like "automobile"..
Just listen to the Rev. Ian Paisley for examples of this. Pretty common and the standard go-to sterotype for anyone mimicking a N.I. accent.

"I want a Sandwich.......and I want it niya!

Don't fret about it. The UK and British isles in general are supremely rich and weird when it comes to accents.

Last edited by Novelty Bobble; 02-15-2013 at 09:45 AM.
#29
Old 02-15-2013, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
. . . I've neve even heard a suggestion of anyone pronouncing "house" like "mice". I have a hard time even imagining it.
So did I at first, but. . . .

I could imagine "house" being pronounced with two syllables as something like "HI-uhs". In certain parts of my neck of the woods, I've heard a short a sound, which I think is the first part of the diphthong pronounced as a long i, in words like "gas" and "half", which to some speakers would be rendered as "gice" and "hife." I wouldn't say that's common, but it wasn't unusual in older speakers back in the day. ETA, which is similar to the Ian Paisley's accent is rendered above.

Last edited by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker; 02-15-2013 at 11:43 AM.
#30
Old 02-15-2013, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
My wife's piano (who studied at the British conservatory) always claimed that Van Williams pronounced it with the "l", but the rest of his family didn't.
You talk to your wife's piano about name pronunciation?
#31
Old 02-15-2013, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
Huh. I didn't even know this was a thing. I always assumed "Rafe" was shorthand for Rafael.

Learn something new everyday.
Me too. All my Ralphs are Ralph, and all my Rafes are short for Rafael, Raffy is short for Rafael too.
#32
Old 02-15-2013, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
I've heard the odd prononciatyions of "Ralph" and "lieytenant" and even Featherstonehaugh and Cholmondeley, but I've neve even heard a suggestion of anyone pronouncing "house" like "mice". I have a hard time even imagining it.

It's as if you said someone pronounced "automobile" so it rhymes with "hydrant".
We're talking about people who can rhyme "eye" and "symmetry". Who knows what they'll do?
#33
Old 02-15-2013, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by NAF1138 View Post
Holy crap. He get's Taye from Scott? That's something right there.
Without looking it up and sussing it out only from Standard American Stupid, I think it would go.

Scott
Scotty
Scottay! (as in something your stupid friends call you)
Tay! (shortened)
Taye (affected)
#34
Old 02-15-2013, 06:20 PM
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The got it from Featherstonehaugh.
#35
Old 02-16-2013, 01:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
I think it's an unhyphenated hyphenate, like Conan Doyle. However, it's a legitimate double surname, unlike Doyle...

What I've never gotten a good explanation of is how Arthur (first) Conan (middle) Doyle (surname) became the Conan Doyle family. It wasn't his father's name, but beginning in college and with his marriage, 'Conan Doyle' became the family name.

Then there's Ludwig Mies [(van der) Rohe]... but let's stop.
It was sometimes done that way, for example one of my own middle names is actually a surname. My last name is a very common surname (let's call it Smith) and my last middle name is a less common (let's say Bradbury), but not rare surname. All the males (and sometimes the females) through that lineage have names along the lines of: James Henry Bradbury Smith. The name originated in Gloucester sometime in the early 19th century (or may be a little earlier) when two locally fairly prominent families married (the Bradburys and the Smiths). The Bradbury name was preserved as a middle name.

As the the Bradburys and the Smiths who were partners in a firm called Bradbury Smith (which actually still exists today as part of another firm) there have been a quite a number of architects with the Bradbury Smith name in the UK (well not really as I've changed the names) and there's still a few architects with the Bradbury Smith name around today in the UK who are distant relatives. Sometimes the Bradbury Smith name is hyphenated as Bradbury-Smith, most times it isn't.

Coincidentally there was also an unrelated (as far as I know) family in the USA with the same Bradbury Smith name, which means that there's a number of people in the USA with the name. Even more coincidentally they were also architects and engineers specializing in building bridges.
#36
Old 02-16-2013, 08:38 AM
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This from a country where they can pronounce "nuclear" as "nookyulur".
#37
Old 02-16-2013, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by NAF1138 View Post
Holy crap. He get's Taye from Scott? That's something right there.

I always thought that "Rafe" was a legit British pronunciation of "Ralph" but now I am not sure. Other than R. Vaughn Williams and R. Finnes, are there any other famous Ralph's who went by Rafe?
Not a real person, but in The Thorn Birds, it's mentioned that Father Ralph's name is pronounced as Rafe.
#38
Old 02-16-2013, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
Taye (affected)
I noticed while looking him up that he married Idina Menzel, and they have a son. I can't help but wonder what color he is...

ETA: Okay, that sounds unpardonably racist. What I meant, was... look up Menzel's most famous role and work it through.

Last edited by Amateur Barbarian; 02-16-2013 at 03:18 PM.
#39
Old 02-17-2013, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Namkcalb View Post
How do you get Loo-tenant from Lieutenant? Do the barracks' toilets get clogged up so frequently, they need a dedicated officer to watch over them?
In case this is serious, it's pretty easy. Eu makes the french u sound, which is corrupted to the English oo sound since we don't have mixed vowels as phonemes. The i would make a y (IPA [j]) sound. However, ly ([lj)] is a difficult sound to use to start a word, so the y ([j]) gets dropped. The same thing happens with many accent for words like "new" (which can end like few or goo depending on the accent.)

So it goes from lieutenant to lyoo-tenant to loo-tenant.
#40
Old 02-17-2013, 02:16 AM
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Thanks for the explanation.

I personally pronounce it Let-tenant... I don't exagerate the 'left'
#41
Old 02-17-2013, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
Without looking it up and sussing it out only from Standard American Stupid, I think it would go.

Scott
Scotty
Scottay! (as in something your stupid friends call you)
Tay! (shortened)
Taye (affected)
Or a baby's mispronunciation. I know quite a few people with unusual nicks which are how they or a younger sibling or cousin mispronounced it - since grownups found the mispronunciations (and, in some cases, the child's anger upon being called by it) unbearably cute, they stuck.

Last edited by Nava; 02-17-2013 at 05:15 AM.
#42
Old 02-17-2013, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Namkcalb View Post
Thanks for the explanation.

I personally pronounce it Let-tenant... I don't exagerate the 'left'
No cites, but I've read that this was the Royal Navy pronunciation (I think this was from an encyclopedia published in the 60s)
#43
Old 02-17-2013, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
Stop right there.



I've heard the odd prononciatyions of "Ralph" and "lieytenant" and even Featherstonehaugh and Cholmondeley, but I've neve even heard a suggestion of anyone pronouncing "house" like "mice". I have a hard time even imagining it.


It's as if you said someone pronounced "automobile" so it rhymes with "hydrant".
From a book published soon after the Falklands War, Don't Cry For Me Sergeant Major , there is a part where a young officer of the Blues and Royals, a posh cavalry regiment, is quoted as saying "sines abite right" for "sounds about right ."

This was meant to be a transliteration of upper class speech, rather than northern Irish speech, as far as I can gather .
#44
Old 02-17-2013, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
I always assumed that was actorly bullshit on his part, like "Topher" Grace's bizarre shortening of Christopher. Fiennes' brother's name is Joseph for Og's sake!
Topher isn't a bizarre shortening of Christopher. I've a cousin by that name, a bit older than I assume Mr. Grace to be, and he's been known as Topher to the family since about '85. No special reason: his sister started it, and there's a surfeit of Christophers (as well as Samuels and Kyles) in our ranks.
#45
Old 02-17-2013, 10:34 PM
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The only Rafe I've heard of is Hollister, right there in Mayberry.
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