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faw ever

July 5, 2012

The other dayI heard Brian Matthews on Sounds of the 60s pronounce the single word forever as two words, deliberately avoiding any elision between them, almost indeed as if they were separated by a glottal stop: faw ever. It’s a pronunciation I hear increasingly and I must say I can’t see the point of it. It seems to wilfully swim against the normal current of the spoken language, where we often intrude an r between two separate words if one ends and the next begins with a vowel (laura norder). To take the r out of the middle of a single word when it’s actually written there – I don’t get that. To me it sounds as odd as dropping the r from baron or coronary. I suspect our old friend hyper-correction is at work here – an effort to avoid the ‘intrusive r’ even when it is not, in fact, intrusive. 

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