A fun video today for the language mavens out there. PBS’s Otherwords takes a look at this most unique letter, and asks whether it should be considered a vowel. The short answer is that it depends on where you’re from and how you pronounce it. The standard US “rhotic” pronunciation does fit all of the requirements of vowel-hood, but pronunciation varies widely across different geographic regions. There’s also an interesting story about the “dropped R” that became popular among the aristocracy in England, where that spread to in the US, and the social connotations it carries.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


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