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Difference between a brogue and a burr?

I Survived the Great Vowel Shift

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1eastofoz
Jan 20, 2008, 3:26pm Top

Hi
Don't know if I'm posting this question in the right group but I figure that if anyone would know the answers it's the linguists' group :)

Can anyone tell me what the difference is between a "brogue" and "burr"? And why are there two different pronunciations for "celtic"--ie like "keltic" and then as a soft "c"?

Thanks!

2vpfluke
Jan 21, 2008, 1:19pm Top

A brogue is a reference to an Irish (occasionally Scottish) dialect of English, with a number of sounds changed that make it distinctive. A burr refers more to the trilling of the r (sometimes in the back of the mouth) that seems to be mostly a Scottish characteristic.

Celtic is from French, from Latin, from Greek. In Greek, and originally in Latin, the c (and in Greek spelled with a kappa) was pronounced as a hard c. "Celt" is not a workd as far as I know derived from a Celtic language word, so the soft c is based on the English preference to pronounce it softly. This is from the Romance language development of chaging the sound of c before e or i into an s sound (French or Spanish) or ch (Italian) something else. English respects the Italian in the word concerto, where the the Italian pronunication of the 2nd c (ch sound) is the normal one. But note the pronunication of the word, concert. For concerto, my mother always pronounced the 2nd c in concerto with an sh sound -- I don't think she's the only one, but it is not a dictionary pronunciation.

3eastofoz
Jan 21, 2008, 4:25pm Top

Hi vpfluke

Thank you for the explanation. So would someone say "his brogue is thick" or "his burr is thick"--as in difficult to understand like a heavy accent?

Celtic then can be pronounced with both the soft "c" and the "k" sound right?

4vpfluke
Jan 21, 2008, 5:34pm Top

Brogues can be thick. I don't remember the last time I heard a burr as being thick. Maybe people just say, "he has a burr". I'll have to check this out.

The hard or soft C in Celtic is sometmes contextual. The Boston baskletball team is always pronounced with a soft C. When Linguists say "Celtic languages" they always use the hard C. Pehaps the hard C is more academic.

5vpfluke
Jan 21, 2008, 5:46pm Top

I googled "thick brogue" and "thick burr". Thick brogue came up 789 times. Thick burr came up 380 times but over half the times it was in reference to non-language use (wood, plaster, or metal burrs), so I estimate that thick burr is used only about 1/5 as much as brogue. The word brogue seems to refer to the whole accent, whereas the burr is for the r sound. But it is so distinctive, that people hear 'Scottish' without hearing another sound.

The poet Robert Burns wrote in 'dialect' and to read it outloud you do have to use a burr.

6AnnaOok
Jan 21, 2008, 6:00pm Top

As far as I can work out, Celtic is pronounced with a soft C ("seltic") if it's a sports team name; otherwise it's a hard C ("keltic"). There may be exceptions, but I haven't come across them yet...

7AnnaClaire
Jan 22, 2008, 10:56am Top

That's particularly true of sports teams from Boston, especially if they're basketball teams.

8AnnaOok
Jan 22, 2008, 7:34pm Top

Football (=soccer) teams from Glasgow have the same tendency.

9AnnaClaire
Edited: Jan 22, 2008, 8:55pm Top

Really? But then, as you pointed out, Brooklyn isn't where you'd expect "football" fans to be wild about soccer ;)

10eastofoz
Jan 23, 2008, 5:42pm Top

Thanks again vpfluke for the remaining brogue/burr details :)

11eastofoz
Jan 24, 2008, 1:27am Top

VPFLUKE: Does it mean the same thing to say a Scottish brogue and a Scottish accent? Is brogue just a bit more technical but essentially means the same thing?

12vpfluke
Jan 24, 2008, 5:00pm Top

The burr in the word "brogue" helps to identify the Scottish accent.

13Celebrimbor
Feb 4, 2008, 9:35am Top

A brogue is a shoe. A burr is a little spiny seed that catches in your socks.

14erilarlo
Sep 22, 2008, 8:19pm Top

Sandburrs in a child's socks can provoke bloodcurling screams, causing a mother to come running, fearing the worst. Dramatic child 8-)

15JFlay3
May 5, 5:14pm Top

Does "brogue" only refer to Irish and Scottish accents? I have not heard of anyone using another accent to apply (eg. my oh my he has a thick Korean brogue). As a follow up, does anyone know where the word comes from?

16jjwilson61
May 5, 5:40pm Top

According to Wikipedia it only applies to Irish and less commonly Scottish and English west country dialects. It also suggests that the origin is unclear but it may refer to a type of shoe traditionally worn by the Irish.

17pokarekareana
May 6, 6:24am Top

>15 JFlay3: - I think you could also refer to a Welsh brogue, but to my mind, it is mainly associated with Irish accents. I'm not sure about the West Country - "Cornish brogue" doesn't sound like a term I've ever heard used.

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