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Why is Leicester pronounced Lester?

Ash
Bibliomaniac
Location: Arizona, USA

Postby Ash » Tue December 30th, 2008, 5:05 pm

why would it be included in written texts if it had no use?

I was just about to say what you just said, sweet potato. We have plenty of words like that!

In Spanish, H is vocalized only on the letter 'j' as in Ajo, Vallejo.

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Volgadon
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Postby Volgadon » Tue December 30th, 2008, 5:14 pm

I believe the 'h' in Romanian comes from Slavic languages, evolved from the kh sound, and that in Castilian it is from later usage.

Of course it is entirely possible that there were several layers of Latin, the educated classes aspirating 'h' the lower ones not, or regional dialects.

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Kveto from Prague
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Location: Prague, Bohemia

Postby Kveto from Prague » Tue December 30th, 2008, 5:23 pm

[QUOTE=Ash;16258] why would it be included in written texts if it had no use?

I was just about to say what you just said, sweet potato. We have plenty of words like that!

oh, yes. one of the classic tricks that old printers used to do was add letters to words while printing. more letters more money and all that. i used to know some examples in English but cant recall any at the moment. "draught" perhaps?

this happened quite a bit more in english than some more phonetic languages because well...it could :-)

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Kveto from Prague
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Postby Kveto from Prague » Tue December 30th, 2008, 5:41 pm

"Volgadon" wrote:I believe the 'h' in Romanian comes from Slavic languages, evolved from the kh sound, and that in Castilian it is from later usage.

Of course it is entirely possible that there were several layers of Latin, the educated classes aspirating 'h' the lower ones not, or regional dialects.


oh yes. linguists tend to refer to "vulgar latin" (the time when "h" most likely fell out of use, pronunciation-wise) as if it were a uniform whole. obviously it fell out of use at different rates in different areas. and in romanch apparently never fell out of use.

it doesnt really explain the re-interpolation of the asperation in english of words like "host". an illiterate speaker would not re-introduce a sound that hed never known was originally there.

its quite possible that in romance languages it wavered in use by class as you point out. cockney, skipping asperation in some words and adding it to others where it didnt exist, would be an example of this. and language changes almost always come from the lower classes up not the other way 'round.

anyway, i was originally just trying to use the silent "h" as an easy example of demonstrating elision in english. whether that elision happened in vulgar latin or later it almost certainly happened at some point. the "h" wasnt just written there for the hell of it :-)

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Kveto from Prague
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Postby Kveto from Prague » Tue December 30th, 2008, 5:46 pm

"sweetpotatoboy" wrote:I don't know if this relates to placenames, but some English spellings have seemingly superfluous letters not because those letters were ever pronounced but because some clever so-and-sos decided they ought to be included in the spelling to reflect the words' etymology.

For example, the words "debt" and "doubt". The "b" was never, ever pronounced in English. The words were borrowed from French "dette" and "doute", which had already lost the "b" in the process. But, because those French words originally came from Latin words "debitum" and "dubitare", the "b" was added back into the English spellings to reflect their ultimate Latin origination.


those clever so-and-sos :-) they never realised what a pain in the rear they would be creating for english second language students

Eigon
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Postby Eigon » Tue December 30th, 2008, 9:26 pm

Going back to Welsh placenames, Llanfairpwllgwynetcetcgogogoch was actually a name invented by the Victorians to cater to the tourist trade. North Wales was a popular tourist destination then, and it was pretty much a marketing ploy.
It was also used as the secret password in Barbarella!

Ben Fairchild
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Location: London

Re: Why is Leicester pronounced Lester?

Postby Ben Fairchild » Fri April 22nd, 2016, 4:55 pm

Now for some reason people have now commonly reintroduced the pronunciation of what were formerly silent consonants. My case in point is that even Radio Four presenters will now habitually pronounce the "t" in "often". Until a few years ago the "t" in often was as silent as it still is in "soften". I don't mind people making changes, but inconsistency smacks of shabbiness. People who pronounce the "t" in "often" should be expected to do so in "soften" as well so that everyone can hear straight away how ignorant they are, or how little regard they have, for the beauty of the English language.

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Misfit
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Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Why is Leicester pronounced Lester?

Postby Misfit » Sat April 23rd, 2016, 1:25 pm

It's funny when there's a word I've only 'read' and never heard and then I finally come across it spoken out loud and find it's pronounced completely different. Like when I went to hear Sharon speak on her new book, and Outremer was pronounced very differently than I had used it in my head throughout all her other books.

If that makes sense...it's still early.
At home with a good book and the cat...
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