Why No English R?

A notion I advocate is abstracted by two neologisms, plutophilia and plutophiles. Plutophiles have an exaggerated respect for Pluto-inspired activities and proclivities.

It is important to realize that the conventional definition of plutocracy and its plutocrats, all about money, reflect only a small facet of those cruel and sinister occupations, and, certainly, the most benign one.

I will show in this essay that plutocracy embraces the most ridicule notions. Why? Because when one has embraced ridicule, when one has found solace in pride and prejudice, one is ready to embrace plutocracy itself, that grotesque outrage against humanity.

And so it was that the sound “R” itself was sacrificed as a vulgar Carthaginian first born child. Here is an early Briton, who died in York in 211 CE:

Septimius Severus Pronounced R

Septimius Severus Pronounced R

Under Septimius Severus’s son Caracalla, the Roman Senate passed a famous law, the Constitutio AntoninianaThat Constitution made all free habitants of the empire citizens, independently of nationality, origin, or religion. From Scotland to Mesopotamia, and Morocco to Armenia, Ukraine to Egypt.

The Romans were not savages (Want names for today’s savages? Well, say, today’s Saudis, a family that captured a gigantic country, even more roughly than Hafez El Assad in Syria).

Savagery is not just despicable, it’s a lethal danger to those who hold it dear.

Remember Carthage, indeed. Carthage: an immensely advanced civilization, with a modern alphabet, the best scientific agriculture, the very best ships, that allowed it to trade from Britain to Black Africa, for centuries. Carthage, that dominated all west of Syracuse, but for Marseilles’ Greek empire.

Yet Carthage had also an overwhelming satanic side.

Carthage burned children alive (it’s not just hearsay; a child-burning machine was found, complete with human remains, as the texts said!).

This was not an isolated case of Carthaginian cruelty and devotion to the Dark Side. Carthage was, for five centuries, a plutocracy in the full and darkest sense of the term. That abysmal cruelty goes a long way to explain Rome and Marseilles’ hatred against Punic civilization, and, ultimately, and regretfully, its eradication.

Carthage was an acute case of plutocracy and its attending plutophilia (I will not go in the details, but the general Punic plutocracy was excused, sort of, by nominally burning the first born of the best of… So the human sacrifices were tightly related to whom had power and money; that atrocious system thrived for centuries, in spite of being at war with the two western republics, Marseilles, and then Rome).

Carthage’s last minute embrace of serious democracy did not save her. (By then Rome’s mind was made up.)

Plutophilia is meant to sound related to zoophilia; but it’s less innocuous! Plutophilia is how plutocracies stay in place. Watch for example how Obama’s White House is trying to make Larry Summers, who did more for the present financial plutocracy than any other person, head of the USA Central Bank (“Fed”).

The “Royal Baby” show in England was troubling. Does Europe need these monarchies, those symbols of plutocracy? Can the Republic afford them? Is Britain a republic, or really what it is parodying, a plutocracy with funny hats?

The defense of European democracy depends directly upon only two countries, and one of them is a parody of plutocracy, complete with a queen nearly as old as the last empress of China, and a baby called “George” millions are drooling about.

Sumerian cities invented, 5,000 years ago, representative democracy based on a two chamber system, one a national assembly, in charge of legislating, the other an upper chamber, made to be more conservative, to exert a moderating influence, and, or, allow greater plutocratic control.

That system was adopted informally by the Roman Republic. However, the Roman Constitution was not written down, and, until the Second Punic war, the People’s Assembly (Populus Romanorum) acquired overwhelming powers, with the institution of “Tribunes With Consular Powers”. 

The near termination of the Republic at the hands of the vengeful military genius Hannibal, heading a Carthaginian-Celtic coalition, changed everything; too many of the best Romans died in combat, the worst rose to power by exploiting survivors, breaking the back of the glorious Republican mood.

Athens functioned with a “primacy of Parliament” system officially, but not really. This is the system installed in England since 1688 CE. The Athenian system failed miserably (first by betraying the spirit of the Delian league, and then during the Peloponnesian war, by giving hysterical holocausting orders).

The Roman Republic thrived for five centuries, before being laminated by the plutocratic phenomenon.  The Senate was the origin of that ruin. Even after two centuries of “Principate”, emperor Septimus Severus, dying in England, warned his sons that the Senate was the cause of all the troubles of Rome.

Election to the Senate was reserved to Patricians, the Roman aristocrats.

Similarly in Britain, the Chamber of Lords is reserved to… Lords. Britain is assuredly not a republic.

A friend of mine, Nathan Curry, called my attention to the following article:

Why Do Americans and Brits Have Different Accents? By Natalie Wolchover, January 09, 2012:

“In 1776, whether you were declaring America independent from the crown or swearing your loyalty to King George III, your pronunciation would have been much the same. At that time, American and British accents hadn’t yet diverged. What’s surprising, though, is that Hollywood costume dramas get it all wrong: The Patriots and the Redcoats spoke with accents that were much closer to the contemporary American accent than to the Queen’s English.

It is the standard British accent that has drastically changed in the past two centuries, while the typical American accent has changed only subtly.

Traditional English, whether spoken in the British Isles or the American colonies, was largely “rhotic.” Rhotic speakers pronounce the “R” sound in such words as “hard” and “winter,” while non-rhotic speakers do not. Today, however, non-rhotic speech is common throughout most of Britain. For example, most modern Brits would tell you it’s been a “hahd wintuh.”

It was around the time of the American Revolution that non-rhotic speech came into use among the upper-class in southern England, in and around London.

According to John Algeo in “The Cambridge History of the English Language” (Cambridge University Press, 2001), this shift occurred because people of low birth rank who had become wealthy during the Industrial Revolution were seeking ways to distinguish themselves from other commoners; they cultivated the prestigious non-rhotic pronunciation in order to demonstrate their new upper-class status.

Maybe they also wanted to distinguish themselves from the French. Certainly, at the time, the English establishment, heavily penetrated by the idea that Christian god held their plutocracy together, hated the French evolutionary theorists (Buffon, Cuvier, Lamarck, Latreille, Blainville, etc.). Actually go ask an Anglo-Saxon who discovered evolution, and they will answer Charles Darwin (who was born when evolution was taught in Paris)….

Wolchover concludes:

“London pronunciation became the prerogative of a new breed of specialists — orthoepists and teachers of elocution. The orthoepists decided upon correct pronunciations, compiled pronouncing dictionaries and, in private and expensive tutoring sessions, drilled enterprising citizens in fashionable articulation,” Algeo wrote.

The lofty manner of speech developed by these specialists gradually became standardized — it is officially called “Received Pronunciation” — and it spread across Britain. However, people in the north of England, Scotland and Ireland have largely maintained their traditional rhotic accents.

Most American accents have also remained rhotic, with some exceptions: New York and Boston accents have become non-rhotic. According to Algeo, after the Revolutionary War, these cities were “under the strongest influence by the British elite.”

So here you have it. Plutophilia can get, not just to one’s head, but to one’s speech centers, making oneself bereft of full human pronunciation… No wonder upper-class Chinese ladies could not walk. If one hurts one’s own, in the name of one’s great conceptions, one assuredly trains to hurt others.

***

Patrice Ayme

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2 Responses to “Why No English R?”

  1. MasonBauknight Says:

    “Most American accents have also remained rhotic, with some exceptions: New York and Boston accents have become non-rhotic.” That refers to the past. Moreover, these non-rhotic accents — the real “Noo Yawk” and the venerable “Hahvad Yahd” — were always more proletarian than plutocratic. They survive today in the old Jewish, Italian, and Irish immigrant enclaves of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, and in areas of similar background in coastal New England, notably eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They are disappearing fast, and the more educated, non-blue-collar younger generation in both places tends to speak rhotic American English (the rhotic California dialect, our new American vernacular, is spreading like wildfire from LA to New Orleans and Charlotte and Washington and New York and Boston). Very few American plutocrats in New York or Boston speak non-rhotically — if ever they did. Only New York City cops “tawk the tawk.” Also, most English shopkeepers and Cockneys spoke non-rhotically and probably will continue to do so. I truly doubt that many of them had elocution training after 16-hour workdays in the factories and laundries of the 19th century. The English language, like the French language, is not simple; it has a long history. When you try (as so many European Francophones I’ve met) to reduce English to nothing more than “le français mal prononcé” — easily distilled to a simple brown Cockney hash — you miss out on its rich history. Or you lead yourself blindly into a flawed political analysis.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      dear Mason: More than two decades ago, I was assaulted by a biology Nobel Prize winner at Rockfeller University who disparaged my Californian accent. He said:”You Californians believe in equality all too much, you pronounce all words the same, you speak flat, there is no feeling in what you say…” It went on and on… I was amazed how aggressive he was about such an unimportant subject.

      It also struck me that the same complaint could be adressed to French as spoken in France (not Quebec).

      As you may have noticed, my English seems rather fluent. So it was striking to me, around the same time, when a french economics professor berated me for having a terrible English accent. When she spoke what she called “English”, I could not understand anything she said. She tried to speak as if she had a very hot potato in her mouth. It was ridiculous. However, she could understand me very well.

      Most French learn English in England or with French trying to sound non rhotic (although they find hard to get rid of their zzzzzzzzzzzz). I learned mine in New York City.

      Why could that french lady understands me and not conversely? Because the (my) rhotic Californian English is more understandable, using all sounds, in particular the R. I mean, when I meet a puma, as I did yesterday, the puma understands RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, veRRRyy veRRRRy well. (Purissima Preserve, Santa Cruz Mountains, next to half Moon Bay).

      Another thing is that flat speech conveys more words.

      All this to explain rhotic english is superior.
      What you call the “flawed political analysis” was made first by a Cambridge U. professor, and it seems factual to me.
      PA

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