How many more are out there?
If you find er used for uh in American writing (or occasionally in speech), chances are that you have come across an overzealous, ill-informed Anglophile mimicking British orthography without realizing they've never heard an English person pronounce it that way.
What's really bothersome is that English authors like Rowling, when attempting to transcribe rhotic dialect, use (-)er interchangeably with actual pronounced r's with precious little to differentiate them. This would confuse even readers whose accent is non-rhotic.
Here's a bit from the rhotic (non-r-dropping) West-Country-accented Hagrid: "...we knew the Ministry'd be lookin' fer a reason ter run us in." In that selection, fer is pronounced with r as written, but ter is pronounced teh or tuh; the fact that the following word run begins with r has nothing to do with it, as ter is used for to everywhere for Hagrid's speech.
This awkward convention also causes problems in phrases like "didn't get it ter eat," in which any r-dropping English accent would nonetheless pronounce the "linking" r before the leading vowel in eat even though that's clearly not what Rowling wants us to hear in this case: this should have been represented as "teh eat" or the like. And there are problems the opposite way, e.g. "Never known kids like you three fer knowin' more'n yeh oughta," in which an r-dropping English accent wouldn't fail to drop the r in fer because it is followed by the consonant-led knowin', despite the fact that her intention was to represent fer with the r pronounced.
All this to say, why can't British authors drop that useless convention and write er as eh or uh? For all her brilliance, Rowling is particularly bad about this.
File this under "Things I didn't need science to tell me, about which I'm nonetheless gratified that my subjective preference has been vindicated."
- tech (especially Google/Android)
- science (archaeology, paleontology, anthropology, linguistics)
- sci-fi TV (among my favorite shows: The X-Files, Babylon 5, LOST, Farscape, Doctor Who...)
- The University of GeorgiaHistorical Linguistics, 2015
- Fantasy Bubble Quest
- All About Android:The Game
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