British ERA: why do you sometimes pronounce

Liquidsnake

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,864
Mama as Mamar and Papa as Papar
Is there some rule that this is going by?

Any help would be appreciated.

With love and respect.

Liquid.
 

Thordinson

Member
Aug 1, 2018
1,577
It’s called an intrusive R and it’s not unique to British people. As an example, many Americans in the south say “warsh” instead of “wash”.
 

astro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
21,942
I mostly hear this when English people are imitating other languages or accents.

Those Renault Clio adverts from the 90s are mostly to blame.

"Nicole? Papa!"
 

astro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
21,942
Also, why do Americans call us British?

Never heard anyone from the UK use that to describe themselves.

English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Europeon... never British.
 

345

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,121
it's usually only inbetween vowels, so like "your mama is hot" would have an r sound linking the words. another famous example is "champagne supernova (r)in the sky" from oasis. it avoids having two vowel sounds next to each other, which otherwise sounds/feels awkward to the speaker.

it's not a british thing, it's a common feature of non-rhotic accents (ie ones that don't tend to pronounce r sounds), which means yeah it also often happens in many non-rhotic US accents — so boston, the south etc.
 
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Liquidsnake

Liquidsnake

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,864
it's usually only inbetween vowels, so like "your mama is hot" would have an r sound linking the words. another famous example is "champagne supernova (r)in the sky" from oasis. it avoids having two vowel sounds next to each other, which otherwise sounds/feels awkward to the speaker.

it's not a british thing, it's a common feature of non-rhotic accents (ie ones that don't tend to pronounce r sounds), which means yeah it also often happens in many non-rhotic US accents — so boston, the south etc.
Excellent thank you. I meant no offense by saying British to all who where offended. I was using old English as a reference and just made the “British” connection.
 

Sheepinator

Member
Jul 25, 2018
7,491
I've never heard a single person from Britain ever use the words "Mama", "Mamar", "Papa" or "Papar". It's "Mum" and "Dad".

In the US, how the hell did "wash" end up as "warsh"?
 

345

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,121
Excellent thank you. I meant no offense by saying British to all who where offended. I was using old English as a reference and just made the “British” connection.
no worries! and yeah it's most common with "posh" accents which probably explains why it stood out to you in downton abbey etc.

in any case, the answer to "X people, why do you systematically pronounce Y as Z" is always going to be "because of centuries of linguistic evolution", not "because we think it makes sense."

like, an english person might ask "why do americans pronounce 'bottle' as 'bahdle'"? well, the answer is because of vowel shifts and changing cultural norms around the pronunciation of t, not because they don't know how to spell. neither way is right or wrong, just at a different stage of evolution.
 

Git

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,023
Gonna need audio/video examples OP as no transcription makes this pretty hard.

Well in watching Downten Abbey, Victoria, Poldark, it seems common.
So period dramas? I'd imagine it's a lot of RP even though a very small minority have ever used RP. It's probably just a back /a/ sound, not necessarily an 'r'

I know I say this a lot on this forum, but to discuss sound, e.g. accents you really need to learn the IPA, at least some basics. Consider that there are American English accents that pronounce 'Mary' 'merry' and 'marry' identically.
 

345

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Oct 30, 2017
1,121
Gonna need audio/video examples OP as no transcription makes this pretty hard.

So period dramas? I'd imagine it's a lot of RP even though a very small minority have ever used RP. It's probably just a back /a/ sound, not necessarily an 'r'

I know I say this a lot on this forum, but to discuss sound, e.g. accents you really need to learn the IPA, at least some basics. Consider that there are American English accents that pronounce 'Mary' 'merry' and 'marry' identically.
it's definitely an actual r, and it's basically considered a standard feature of RP at this point, along with being part of a bunch of other rhotic english accents. (though i do of course agree that this conversation would be more easily conducted in IPA)
 

Git

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Oct 26, 2017
4,023
it's definitely an actual r, and it's basically considered a standard feature of RP at this point, along with being part of a bunch of other rhotic english accents. (though i do of course agree that this conversation would be more easily conducted in IPA)
Well aye this is meaningless until I hear it, but if it's RP and the BATH vowel it's not rhoticity, as RP isn't - the /r/ would be what sets rhotic accents apart, e.g.
bɑ:m
bɑ:rm
 

345

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,121
Well aye this is meaningless until I hear it, but if it's RP and the BATH vowel it's not rhoticity, as RP isn't - the /r/ would be what sets rhotic accents apart, e.g.
bɑ:m
bɑ:rm
yeah it's not that, it's the r inbetween two words that end and begin in a vowel.

example i mentioned earlier was ˌsuːpəˈnəʊvə rɪn ðə skaɪ (from that noted RP speaker liam gallagher)
 

Git

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Oct 26, 2017
4,023
yeah it's not that, it's the r inbetween two words that end and begin in a vowel.

example i mentioned earlier was ˌsuːpəˈnəʊvə rɪn ðə skaɪ (from that noted RP speaker liam gallagher)
With respect that's not what I get from the examples in the OP, (there's no linking/intrusive r in mama/papa in isolation) and intrusive r is pretty productive in the US and in all other world Englishes. But y'know without actually hearing it this is just futile speculation :p
 

Anustart

9 Million Scovilles
Banned
Nov 12, 2017
2,967
Also, why do Americans call us British?

Never heard anyone from the UK use that to describe themselves.

English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Europeon... never British.
Why do you call us Americans? Other countries take offense to that. I chalk it up to ignorance.
 

345

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,121
With respect that's not what I get from the examples in the OP, (there's no linking/intrusive r in mama/papa in isolation) and intrusive r is pretty productive in the US and in all other world Englishes. But y'know without actually hearing it this is just futile speculation :p
i mean, it's the only conceivable scenario in which an r would be added to those words, and OP seemed to be satisfied with that explanation, so. of course linking/intrusive r don't occur in isolation, else there'd be nothing to link or intrude on!

like this, for example:

This wasmost prevalent when Brits were calling Obama "Obamer"
i doubt anyone can find an example of this happening in any situation other than preceding a word that starts with a vowel, but most british newsreaders would indeed say "obama ris attending a conference" etc.
 

Gibson

Member
Oct 29, 2017
625
Well in watching Downten Abbey, Victoria, Poldark, it seems common.
So the stuff you’re watching is period drama where the majority of characters have inflected ‘posh’ accents - hence why they pronounce mama and papa with an ‘r’ at the end, as if extending the word.

In reality nobody actually speaks like that outside of a few upper class people, and even then they’re probably just putting it on for a lark.

A more contemporary example would be Hermione in the Harry Potter movies. She often over enunciates words because her character is supposed to come across a bit snooty in the first movie, which is why Ron makes fun of her.

But, again, few people actually speak like this, it’s an antiquated kind of ‘Queen’s English’ often used in historical drama. Or used for comedic effect, see below:

 

Git

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,023
i mean, it's the only conceivable scenario in which an r would be added to those words, and OP seemed to be satisfied with that explanation, so. of course linking/intrusive r don't occur in isolation, else there'd be nothing to link or intrude on!

like this, for example:



i doubt anyone can find an example of this happening in any situation other than preceding a word that starts with a vowel, but most british newsreaders would indeed say "obama ris attending a conference" etc.
But these examples are in isolation, e.g. the Obama one. That's a vowel difference. I mean, I teach phonetics at university idk what else to say.
 

345

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Oct 30, 2017
1,121
But these examples are in isolation, e.g. the Obama one. That's a vowel difference. I mean, I teach phonetics at university idk what else to say.
why would you assume that someone saying "british people pronounce obama with an r" are talking about it in isolation? anyone who doesn't know anything about phonetics could entirely reasonably come to that conclusion by watching the BBC 10 o'clock news and only ever hearing it pronounced in the middle of sentences.

have you ever heard anyone from any background say "barack obamar" in isolation when asked the name of the 44th US president? my guess is no. i certainly haven't, so occam's razor suggests that we're talking about linking/intrusive r.

i'm not saying you don't know anything about phonetics, because evidently you do (and i have a linguistics degree myself, so obviously a lot of respect for phonetics professors), but i think you're misreading the examples people are bringing up here. unless there really is a dialect i'm unaware of that would say "obamar" in isolation, in which case i would be legit interested to hear about it — but it certainly isn't RP.

Explain "Leicester."
explain "poughkeepsie"
 

darz1

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Dec 18, 2017
2,278
They dont. They say "mother" and "father" which is of course short for "mother dearest" and "my lord father"
 

345

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,121
Pronounce it phonetically. It's a struggle for Brit- I mean English people I'd imagine, they'd probably pronounce Poughkeepsie as "Hobnob" or something.
for me pronouncing it phonetically (in layperson's terms, not IPA) would be like pow-keepsy or maybe pough-keepsy, not pokipsy. conversely, leicester isn't any weirder to me than "wednesday".

and now i want a hobnob.
 

VeePs

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,773
Also, why do Americans call us British?

Never heard anyone from the UK use that to describe themselves.

English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Europeon... never British.
Ignorance; and lack of separating Scotland, England, and Wales on the world map depicting the UK.
I refer to myself as British.
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