Language Change in Somerset, 1927


While visiting the Exmoor Society on Friday, I noticed that they had a book sale on.  This volume by ‘Mrs A C Osborn Hann’ in particular appealed to me.  Writing in 1927, she states that what linguists call the ‘voiced fricatives’ /v/ and /z/ replacing voiceless /f/ and /s/ was on the decline.  Of course, that hasn’t stopped the tourist books and souvenir shops from still claiming today that those are common features of a ‘Zummerzet’ dialect, but if a non-linguist in the 1920s noticed it, you can bet it’s been on its way out for a good long time now.

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