But stop the T in odd words

Speaking of dialects and geography and markers…Author of Jesus and Mo asked an intriguing question on Twitter the other day.

Has anyone in UK noticed the “inconsistent glottal stop” is a thing? Eg person will speak normally but stop the T in odd words…

Eg “strategy”, “creative” – but even then not always. Strikes me as incredibly pretentious and annoying.

I think I have, yes. A similar thing I know I’ve noticed many times is inconsistency about the intrusive R. You know the intrusive R, right? As in: Indier and China; North Koreaer and China [which of course sounds like North Career and China]; drawring room; Arabeller is in the drawring room. It’s mostly a UK thing but also a Boston and environs thing.

Some BBC presenters make an effort to avoid it. You can tell they’re having to make an effort because there are weird little hitches where they pause in order to avoid the R, hitches that don’t happen in the speech of people who don’t have an intrusive R to avoid. The ones that seem oddest to me are the ones where there is in fact an r but it’s at the end of a word, so a non-rhotic dialect like that of most of the UK wouldn’t pronounce it if the word stood on its own or before a word with a consonant. You with me?

Like: I am here. I am here to pick up a package. I am here in the room.

The one that seems odd to me is the careful pause after “here” in the last one – “I am heah. in the room” – when saying “I am here in the room” wouldn’t be an intrusive R since the R is actually there.

It seems like a really disturbed relationship with the letter R. Inserting them where they aren’t, or carefully avoiding them where they are.

But I’m equally weird about the glottal stop. I replied to Author’s tweets to tell my poignant little story of The Glottal Stop and Me.

I grew up not far from Trenton, New Jersey. I grew up pronouncing it with a glottal stop – Tren’on. Then one fateful day my mother, who was a language nerd just as I am (and a writer and editor), mentioned to me her dislike of that particular local glottal stop, which I hadn’t been aware of until that moment. Now I don’t know how to say the word – Trenton sounds pretentious and finicky, and Tren’on sounds like a grunt. I’ve probably never said it unselfconsciously since that day.

I’ll be in the drawring room with a cold compress on my head.

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