Friday, December 23, 2011

Why is Brett Favre's last name pronounced "Farv"?

Pedro Alvarez
Freelance Pastor Edit Bio
Simple answer: phonatactics. In English, certain constant clusters are not permitted in the coda, and some other consonant clusters in the onset of a syllable.

When foreign words are anglicized, English makes some changes to fit to its phonotactics.

The cluster /vr/ is not permitted in the coda. The easy way to anglicize is: epenthesis, by inserting a vowel (a) between v and r or (b) after r : fav-(uh)re or fav-ruh.

For instance, Macabre is pronounced as muh-KAH-bruh. American cadre is pronounced as cah-DREY. This follows the process (b).

The other way is: metathesis. Just transpose v and r--becoming the cluster rv, which is permitted in the coda of English word--and see whether it fits the native pattern. That's what happened in 'Farv'

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